Let’s talk about one easy melody trick that always works like magic… Okay, maybe there are three…
Struggling to make great melodies?
Many people find it hard to make a great melody that is actually musically correct. They usually struggle to hit the right notes and have problems to get that professional feel. So, their melodies end up sounding kind of fake without a coherent musical flow.
If that’s also your experience, this post may help you with that. But, make sure to read until the end, else you will miss all the essential information you need to use this powerful strategy correctly. It’s a strategy I personally always use and today, you have the chance to try it out for yourself.
What are musical scales?
To keep this article short, I am going to assume that you know what musical notes and scales are. In short, a musical scale is a set of notes that can go together, such as the major or minor scales. This way, each scale has its own set of notes that you can use, depending on the root note of that scale.
So, if you want to make an A minor melody, you have to use the A minor scale, which happens to consist of almost all the white notes on a piano.
Now, if this confuses you, don’t worry. That’s why I’ve released The Ultimate Melody Guide. It’s a unique guide you can pickup and it will teach you all the essential basics of music theory, without making it overwhelmingly complicated. Just click this link to start immediately with The Ultimate Melody Guide.
Melody tricks in FL Studio
Once you have that basic understanding of notes and scales, let’s go to FL Studio and find out about this effective melody trick.
Open the Piano Roll with your instrument
In FL Studio, open the Channel Rack and find the instrument you wish to use for your melody. In my case, I am going to use the FL Keys, which produces a piano sound. Then, right-click on that instrument and click “Piano roll”. This will bring up the Piano Roll where we can create a melody.
Enable the Scale Helper on the Piano Roll
Next, we are going to enable the scale helper on the Piano Roll which helps to detect a musical scale. We can use that to get guidance to play the correct notes. Therefore, click the small arrow (or triangle) at the upper-left corner, select “Helpers” and enable “Note grid highlights”. For the note grid highlights helper to work, you must draw at least 3 notes. Else, there’s just not enough data to detect a musical pattern.
As a quick test, just drop 3 random notes and if all is well, you will notice the background of the Piano Roll becoming light-grey and dark-grey. These grey tones correspond with a note that you can find on the left side. Thereby, light-grey means a note you CAN use within the scale it detects. Dark-grey means at note you CANNOT use within the scale it detects. So, the goal is to use the light-grey notes ONLY.
Mind you, if you change the notes, the helper might detect a different scale. Thus, the light and dark-grey pattern on the background will also change.
How to see the musical scale in FL Studio
Now, you may think this is all great, but where can you see the scale you’re currently playing? That’s really simple. Just hoover over the Piano Roll background and then you will find the scale name right underneath the FL Studio menu. It will show up in the so-called “Hint panel”. Just keep your eyes on there, because we need that information to quickly make great melodies.
How to make a great melody
So, you’re now all set and ready to use these helpers to your advantage. The only thing left to do is actually create a nice melody. So, where do you start?
MELODY TRICK 1: choose a musical scale upfront
First, determine upfront which musical scale you’d like to use for your melody. Let’s say you wish to use the A minor scale. Then, it’s your only job to make sure the helper detects A minor when your melody is finished. In order to achieve that, only use the notes that belong to the A minor scale.
Mind you though, this doesn’t mean the helper will automatically detect your melody as being A minor. It just tries to guess which scale you’re playing. You can as well play notes that also belong to a different one. So, depending on how you arrange these notes, you might in fact play the wrong scale. That’s why it’s important you always end up with a melody that’s being detected as the scale you want.
MELODY TRICK 2: create a story with the allowed notes
Another way of saying this, as I’ve also said in The Ultimate Melody Guide, you want to create an A minor story. That is, if you’ve picked A minor as your scale. So, the story should flow with note-combinations that will be detected as A minor. If you do that, your melody has no choice but being musically correct.
MELODY TRICK 3: include the scale’s root note
In practice, this means your melody can only have notes from the A minor scale and it must have the A note in it somewhere. Often, more than once. Again, assuming you’re playing the A minor scale. So, when you’re creating your tune, drop in some A notes when it feels right. That’s just another trick you can use to nudge your melody towards the correct scale.
Now, let’s see what it looks like when we use these tricks. I’ve already prepared a very plain, but dark A-minor melody that meets these requirements. You can take a listen by watching the video.
These melody tricks work
As you could hear in the video, it’s plain, but it definitely sounds like a correct musical story. Now, when you look in the Hint Panel, you can see it saying, “A Minor”. This is perfect. FL Studio detects the entire melody as being A minor.
Furthermore, you can see the notes following the light-grey areas on the background of the Piano Roll, while the dark-grey areas remain unused. This is excellent, as it means we have only used notes from the A minor scale.
Lastly, the melody also contains a few A notes, which is basically a requirement when you’re seeking to play an A minor melody.
Try these melody tricks yourself
So ultimately, it’s your goal now to tryout this method yourself and use it as a guideline for your melody-creation. Thereby, just focus on using the “Note grid highlights” helper and the detected scale in FL Studio. Conform to it, make sure your melody follows it and you’ll be surprised about the great results you can get.
Now, don’t click away yet, because there are few more things you need to know.
Use these melody tricks as tools not as rules
First of all, be aware that the tricks shared in this post are NOT a rules. In fact, when you develop the experience and intuition, there are not many rules. So, don’t let this limit you and only use them it for what they are: tricks.
The Piano Roll helper is not always right
Also, realize that the helper in FL Studio is not perfect and may detect a different scale than the one you’re actually playing. Even more, especially when we talk about chords and layers, some layers can as well seem to play a different scale, while in fact they’re still musically correct.
Nonetheless, don’t worry about all of this. Just use this strategy as a tool for your melody-making endeavor. It’s very effective for anyone without musical talent, but still wants to get professional results quickly. So, I encourage you to give it a shot and leave a comment down below to tell me how good this works for you. It would be great to hear your results. So, just drop your comment down below.
Free sample pack
To make things easier, there are some cool melodies included in my free sample pack that you can use as examples. So, don’t forget to download it by clicking that link.
Add chords & musical layers
Finally, to beef up your melody you can include chords or extra musical layers, which also follow the corresponding scale. This will help to get a more professional sound and a richer experience. However, it also falls beyond the scope of today’s lesson. But to give you an idea, watch the video and listen to our melody with an added lower layer.
Learn more powerful melody tricks…
As you can hear, it’s really easy to get great results quickly. But if you can use more help making awesome melodies, again, just start with The Ultimate Melody Guide first. It will show you my personal melody-making tricks that you can now instantly benefit from. So, click the link right now and I’ll see you there.