A good melody often requires you to use more notes than a simple chord can offer. To tackle this issue MelodyBuilder comes with a feature that allows you to alter notes in a way that complex melodies are possible without losing the aspect of simplicity.

How to alter notes?

Alter notes

Alter notes

  1. In order to make this work, you first define the scale your sequence is in. That’s usually the same scale you took the chords from in the chord database.
  2. That’s an unaltered note. Here it will play the first note of whatever chord is currently played.
  3. Select a note (or several notes) and press the plus key (+) to alter the note to the next higher note in the scale. In the picture above, the + note will not play the first chord note but instead the next higher note.
  4. You can play the next lower scale note by selecting a note (or several notes) and press the minus key (-).

To remove the alteration and play the normal chord note again, simply select the note and press the 0 key.

Example

In your sequence you have the chord Am (A minor). It consists of the notes A, C, E.

You define the scale A minor for your sequence. The A minor scale consists of all the white keys on a keyboard: A, B, C, D, E, F, G

Your pattern is the one you can see in the sequence above: three notes, the first unaltered, the second with a +, the third with a -.

Now let’s see what happens when you play the chord:

  1. The first unaltered note is supposed to play the first note of the chord. So it will play the note A.
  2. The second note is still supposed to play the first note but it has a +. So instead of playing the note A it will look for the next higher note in the A minor scale: that’s a B.
  3. The third note has a -. It will again start at the normal chord note A and then look for the next lower note: that’s a G.

That’s all. If you didn’t get it fully, it doesn’t matter. Just make sure that the scale for your sequence is the same scale you took your chords from and play around. You can’t do many mistakes.

It sounds more complicated as it really is. For example, have a look at the following image. It shows the first half of the notes for the chorus melody of Katy Perry’s Hot N Cold.

Hot n' cold notes

Hot N Cold notes

Or what about the following one, the first half of the melody for 90s two/three hit wonder Whighfield’s song Saturday Night:

Saturday Night notes

Saturday Night notes

And as a last example, here the bass line pattern for Michael Jacksons’ 80s hit Billie Jean:

Billie Jean Bass

Billie Jean bass