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Help with melodies in FL Studio


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Music is a subject that I have a strong desire and passion to express myself in, but that has never come natural for me.

In FL studio specifically, starting out as a complete noob is one of the most daunting things I have experienced. FL studio looks like the control panel of an Alien spacecraft...

With the use of Tutorials, and Youtube vids, I have managed to get a very basic understanding of the controls and functions of FL studio. Which... is much better than I started with...

I can make a pretty good baseline and get a pretty decent beat going. However... The melody is where problems come in.

I try and use the Piano Roll to create Melodies. I have so many ideas and melodies in my head that I want to bring to life, but every time I try to reproduce those melodies on the Piano Roll, I simply end up not being able to make anything I want.

Not only that, but I can't EVER seem to find what I am looking for as far as sound Fonts go in the Browser panel.

I understand that learning to mix music and create your own sounds does not happen overnight, and that the things I am asking take time and effort to learn. But the real problem is finding out where to start, and what path I need to be on to be able to get to where I want to go.

What do I need to practice or read up on? Does anyone have any idea how I can overcome these said issues?

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two issues.

not finding the soundfonts you want is an obvious one - you need to download some more free stuff. or just make your own synths using the presets provided in other synthesizers (3xosc, ts404, sytrus) as a basis. you'll develop your ability to create the sound you want soon enough - but you need to play with it a lot.

as for finding the melodies you want specifically, noodle on a piano until you get something close to what you want. don't worry about chords or any of that jazz, just do your melody. once you've got a good idea there, start getting that info into your piano roll.

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If you have something in your head, don't go to FL right away -- see if you can sing the melodic line you're thinking of. You may (or may not, I don't know) find that it's easier to deal with pitches intuitively using your voice rather than the piano keyboard. Come up with specific pitches, then go to the keyboard or FL and figure out what the pitches are.

One possible exercise to develop your melodic/harmonic thinking is to sing or hum improvised melodies along with whatever music you usually listen to and to try to make it work with the harmony.

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Having a keyboard is nice, but if that isn't available:

Play a note in the sequencer for a little while to establish that as the root note in your head. Using C will probably the easiest for starters because its octaves are easy to spot in the piano roll.

Then, think of a melody you want to transcribe. Keep it simple at first. Try humming it in the key of C you established before. You'll have to find out what note the melody starts with, as it's not neccessarily C ;)

This is one of the crucial parts of understanding melody really, understanding the intervals of notes. Your song can be in C, the first chord might be C as well, but the first note of the melody could be G for example, which would be 7 semitones above the root, and you gotta develop a feeling for stuff like that. You can learn about intervals in music theory, but what's more important is that your ears learn what they sound like.

It'd be a good exercise to play a root note in FL, then hum a random note, then try to find it in the piano roll. Then determine how many semitones are between the two notes.

The longer you do this, the less trial and error you'll need to find it, until at some point you'll go 'right, this one is three semitones above the root!'.

But all this takes time.

If you keep doing this though (Doesn't have to be a separate exercise, you can do it while making a tune), you'll automatically gain some knowledge on scales as time goes by. You'll find out about the sound of different intervals and eventually combine those into different scales that evoke different feelings.

Then there's rhythm...Try setting up a metronome or something to that effect, then hum the melody to it. Align the clicks of the metronome to the 4 beats per pattern, mentally. Then, again, try to reproduce what you hummed in the piano roll. Find out which notes sit right on one of the four beats, if there are 2 notes per beat somewhere(8ths), one note sitting right between 2 beats (offbeat), or maybe 3 notes evenly sharing one beat (triplets). Again, a matter of trial and error.

This is all there is to transcribing melodies...it just takes time and some concentration.

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Thank you very much for your responses. I will try and gain a better hold over intervals using the methods described in your replies.

The only thing I didn't quite understand was the concept of Rhythm, how to identify it in a melody I have in my head, and how to transcribe it.

I suppose Rhythm was something I always understood intuitively, but failed at conceptually.

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