Music Theory - Melody, Scales & Modes for Composition
What you'll learn
- Exactly how and when to use all primary scales and modes
- The principles of a strong, effective melody
- How to outline and imply chords using melody
- The power of chromatic notes and how to use them
- How to compose over drones, static harmony, and chord progressions
- Emotional expression through instrument choice and articulation
- Which notes to avoid over specific chords
- How to analyze and learn from the melodies you love
- Completion of "Musical Warp Drive - Part 1" or equivalent knowledge level (see description!)
- Basic instrument or MIDI ability
- Use of a DAW is recommended but not essential
"Melody is the essence of music."
- W.A. Mozart
The art of melodic writing is felt by many to be a mystery - something that cannot be taught, something purely instinctive. Others say there are rules and principles governing melody and that by learning them, we can compose better music. I see value in both perspectives and this course walks the middle line. Each lesson provides very clear, theoretical instruction while encouraging exploration and discovery through a series of real-world exercises designed to put everything into practice right away. This approach means you will have a thorough understanding of the theory and the know-how to implement it in your own music.
Musical Warp Drive is about writing music, not just understanding it. Everything is designed to bring your own unique expression into focus and remove the limitations that stifle creativity. There will be no sight-reading, no exams, no quick-fixes, and no diploma to hang on your wall. There will be deep listening, compositional challenges, personal reflection, and many hours of effective practice. By the time you finish the course, you will have written 50 unique melodies, using many different scales and techniques, over a variety of downloadable backing tracks. Going forward, you will have confidence in writing powerful melodies that are appropriate for any musical situation.
The role and function of melody in music
Principles of a strong melody
Specific steps for writing melodies
All primary scales and modes
Melodic and harmonic minor
How and when to use all scale types
Composing melodies over a drone
How to use chord-tones and arpeggios when writing melodies
Important "avoid notes"
How and when to use chromatic (out of key) notes
Instrument choice for melodic writing
The emotional effects of articulation and instrument choice
Very specific exercises designed to increase comprehension and get you writing melodies right away
Downloadable PDF pages with the most important information
A variety of downloadable backing tracks to practice writing melodies
This course on melody is Part 2 of the Musical Warp Drive series. Please read the following list and make sure you understand these concepts as they will not be explained in-depth during this particular course:
Note names and the chromatic scale
Intervals (major third, perfect fifth, minor seventh, etc.)
What it means to be in a key
Basic chords and how to build them (major, minor, diminished, etc.)
Basic scales and how to build them (major and minor)
Number system basics (naming chord progressions using numbers: I-IV-ii-V)
Rhythm basics (note lengths, time signature, etc.)
If any of this confuses you, I highly recommend going through Part 1 of Musical Warp Drive first. All of this (and much more) is thoroughly explained in that course. You can find Part 1 here on Udemy.
Who Is This Course For?
Warp Drive courses are applicable to a wide variety of people. They are genre-neutral, meaning the information and exercises will benefit you no matter the style you work in. Producers, beatmakers, composers, songwriters, and instrumentalists can all equally make use of the content. Personally, I am both a conventional instrumentalist/musician as well as a computer-based composer/producer, so you can be assured I understand both perspectives very well.
I designed these courses for people, like myself, who are serious about their music and wish to compose at their highest potential. All theory taught is immediately used to write music. There is no substitute for experience!
If you are a total beginner, I recommend gaining some musical experience before diving into these courses. I do not teach how to play an instrument or how to use a DAW here. However, Part 1 of Musical Warp Drive goes over the basics of keyboard playing and contains a bunch of simple exercises to get you going, if that's what you're looking for.
What Are Students Saying About The Course?
“I would recommend Max's Musical Warp Drive experience to anyone who has an interest in music and wants to further their understanding, and any musician who is looking to put themselves in the proper mindset for practice. It would be best for beginners to start with MWD part 1, even if you have a basic knowledge. It is always a great idea to learn music through different perspectives. The MWD experience is about understanding music to its core, and Max shows you that you don't need shortcuts to get the knowledge that you're looking for. Throughout the course, he suggests great exercises that actually give you results, and provides supportive tools. Looking forward to MWD part 3!”
“In the first course, I learned how to build a scale from any key, and the chords for major and minor based on any note from that scale. Right off the bat in this second course, I'm building entirely new modes from that same knowledge. I didn't even know what scale degrees or modes were before this class, but I'm a total noob. 5/5 Totally Recommend”
“It is a perfect match for everyone who wants to learn to compose.”
Who Am I?
First and foremost, I am a music teacher and have been helping others play, enjoy, and understand this magical art form for the last 17 years. I teach both online and locally at a music school here in Canada. The guitar is my primary instrument but I also play piano, bass, and drums. Besides teaching, writing music is very close to my heart and I've been composing professionally for over 10 years now. I love to work in a variety of styles and am grateful to have been involved in many diverse projects.
If you'd like to get to know me better, you can always find me on YouTube doing live composition and creating tutorials related to music and digital production. Just search my name! There is also a direct link on my Udemy bio page.
Who this course is for:
- Anyone who desires to understand melody and its relationship to harmony
- Producers looking to make their beats more musical
- Composers interested in stronger melodic writing
- Songwriters who want to expand their melodic pallette
Musically, my path has been one of self-study, allowing for an open exploration of the topics that capture my curiosity. I play a variety of instruments and spend much of my time composing. I have also been working as a music teacher for over 17 years, for which I'm very grateful. The musicians that have influenced me most, and whom I consider my primary teachers, are W.A. Mathieu, Ted Greene, Pat Metheny, and J.S. Bach.
Humanity and our collective future have always been of great importance to me. Our potential to live in harmony with ourselves and nature, to be a blessing rather than a burden to our planet, is immense. A considerable amount of my life has been spent in research (scientific, philosophical, historical, etc), discovering and encouraging the ideas and people revealing the way forward to a prosperous and generous world for all beings.
To all of you pursuing your love of music (or whatever else it may be), I applaud and thank you. Share your gifts with the world and let your authentic expression shine! Together, we can infuse our society with beauty and love, respect, and compassion.