Some people think you have to master an instrument like the piano in order to be able to create melodies.
I will show you that this isn’t necessary by deconstructing the melody of my track Drowning.
As you might know, I don’t play any instrument (diving into guitar soon), yet I’m able to create melodies for my tracks.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t learn an instrument, if you have the resources and motivation to do it. Please do so, it will certainly benefit you.
But don’t let it be an excuse for you to say: I can’t come up with melodies, because I don’t know how to play the piano, I don’t know any chords etc.
Deconstructing other melodies
One way to learn how to write melodies is to analyze and deconstruct existing melodies. You can find a lot of MIDI files at Nonstop2k.com which you can import in your DAW and analyze.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your piano skills you can try to play existing melodies yourself, this is obviously a more time consuming task.
One very powerful technique to create a melody that fills the whole frequency spectrum (full sounding) is using harmonies. Which means you will have different instruments play only a part of your melody/chord.
In progressive house it’s very common to have a bassline, pad and lead sound all playing different parts of the melody/chord. A great example is Swedish House Mafia’s hit record One. In their In the Studio video by Future Music they show you how they did the melody. I highly recommend you watch this video:
Drowning is available as a free download on my SoundCloud page. Below you’ll find a clip of the melody and clips of the seven different layers soloed.
You can also download the Logic project file (only the melody, so not the rest of the song) and the MIDI-file below.
In this YouTube video you will find out exactly how I came up with this melody: