3 Ideas to Try When Writing Music

I’m working with 3 Ideas on a piece called, “Moments.” I want to share them with you so can experiment when you write your own music.

They are:

  1. Use sounds that resonate with you - forget about the “rules.”

  2. Play the same melody over different chords

  3. Trying crossing your hands (on the piano) to play a different register.

Use Sounds That Resonate With You

When I was in music school, there were certain interval combinations that were considered wrong to use in your compositions. One of them was parallel fifths. The academics and heavy textbooks said they were a no no.

When I was writing “Moments,” I battled with the parallel fifths. I used them as a placeholder. I really liked the simple melody that I wrote and I intended to switch out the chords in my left hand. My inner voice said—you have to change those voicings, it’s wrong and you shouldn’t keep them.

Here’s the funny thing; the more that I tried to get rid of the fifths, the more I liked their open, fat sound. They were simple, didn’t clog up my melody, and provided a thoughtful mood.

In the end, I decided to keep them because I was drawn to their simplicity. I don’t care if some academic composers think it’s incorrect writing; I love what they do for my piece.

Here’s the point—it’s more important to write music that inspires you. If the sounds click, if they resonate your soul, then it’s more likely to inspire your audience. Express yourself naturally and forget about what is right or wrong.

Play the Same Melody of Different Chords

One simple thing you can do to enhance your arrangement is to use chord variations, like playing different chords over the same melody. This creates an ostinato, cloud-like effect that drives the music forward.

It can also create mood changes using, essentially, the same musical content. Experiment with changing the mood using this simple technique.

Cross Your Hands to Play a Higher Register

When you play piano, you can overlap your hands to play higher notes on the piano. This works well if you want to keep a rhythm going in one hand, but play a melody higher or lower on the piano. This changes the atmosphere of the piece, allowing you to create a light and airy vibe.

Bonus Tip: Put the Melody in the Bass

The melody for your piece does not always have to be in the right hand. You can play a melody in the left hand, or bass of the piano. I usually play a rhythmic pattern in my right hand to keep the drive going. In my piece “Moments,” I used the bass melody to create a nostalgic, pensive mood. Make sure to watch the video to hear the example.

Happy Composing!