Think of a melody first, or find a chord progression first

I want to discuss with you. You think of a melody first.
Then find chord progression for this melody.
Or do a chord progression first and find the melody from the chord progression again

I personally always start with a chord progression. It will set the atmosphere and mood of your track. From there, I find it easier to come up with an original melody.

Some notes of the melody should be taken from the chord.

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I bought Scaler exactly because of my workflow. I had melody ideas but never knew how to put the foundation i.e.chords under them. For the first time i can play my melody on guitar, pass it through Scaler and detect the progression and finalize all.


more or less this
I like more doing melodies with my bare hand
but I am a Happy Jammer now

BTW: I select chords randomly, and they are often unmatched with the song that will jump out
for example, I can use hip-hop for flamenco, or jazz for hard rock, unrestrainedly

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Both. I have no rule about it. Sometimes a chord progression or even a single chord suggests a melody, other times a melody comes first and I look for chords to go with it.

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Before Scaler I did not even know what a chord progression is and their relevance. I initially got Scaler to help me draft the melodies in my head into better harmonies that aligned with scales (that is how I found Scaler, because I was searching for “scale” helper plugins).
But once I had Scaler, I ended up playing a lot with chord progressions. So today I would say 50/50 to your question.


I initially got Scaler to help me draft the melodies in my head into better harmonies that aligned with scales

Exactly my case, but I still continue with melody first.

Most of the time I start with the chord progression then I try to find some melodies to fit it.
I almost always build the progression using chords that work (function) like root, subdominant, and dominant. Then I try to build another beginning with the Fourth (subdominant) or Sixth (Submediant) to make some contrast.
I am sort of addicted to this workflow and I’m struggling a little bit to change it.
Before Scaler I’ve used Captain Plugins and for a while, I have used both. Then I have changed totally to Scaler.

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Let’s assume that the chord progression is Cmaj > > > Gmaj
Can you say the sounds you said(root, subdominant, dominant. Fourth (subdominant) or Sixth (Submediant))
This is good for others to learn. This post will be more and more valuable because of you
thank you

Hi Swingmix, thank you for your question.
The tonic (I said wrongly the root), subdominant, dominant, and submediant are notes forming any diatonic (7 notes) scale (major, minor, Dorian, Lydian, Mixolydian, etc).
That is, on any diatonic scale, you have 7 notes (1,2,3,4,5,6,7). Each note has an associated name.
They are Tonic (1), Supertonic (2), Mediant (3), Subdominant (4), Dominant (5), Submediant (6), Leading Tone (7). Each note has an associated chord.
The first note chord is the tonic and it’s formed by notes 1,3,5.
The second note chord is called Supertonic and it’s formed by notes 2,4,6.
And so on.
The subdominant chord (the fourth) is formed by notes 4,6,1.
The dominant chord is formed by notes 5,7,2.
In C major scale you have these chords:
Tonic: C,E,G => a major chord by formation (Cmaj) ==> also known as chord I
Supertonic: D,F,A ==> a minor chord (Dm) ==> also known as chord II
Mediant: E,G,B ==> also a minor chord (Em) ==> also known as chord III
Subdominant: F,A,C ==> a major chord (Fmaj) ==> also known as chord IV
Dominant: G,B,D ==> a major chord too (Gmaj) ==> also known as chord V
Submediant: A,C,E ==> a minor chord (Am) ==> also known as chord VI
Leading Tone: B,D,F ==> a diminished chord (Bo) ==> also known as chord VII
That’s way we have chord progressions defined by a sequence of romanian algarisms.
Like: I-IV-V-VI-I-IV-V-I for example.

I hope this can be useful for somebody.


Thanks for sharing. Let me learn a lot.
I recently discovered a melody out of thin air. In fact, many chords are suitable for use. There is no fixed chord. Just see what you like.
I found that many melodies are based on arpeggios, that is, to find arpeggios according to chords, and then mix some other sounds with different rhythms to produce different sound effects.
The melody of many popular songs is actually the change of arpeggio.
But the same chord, the arpeggio is similar, which will be very bad. Sometimes it feels similar or unpleasant.
Careful analysis of many popular songs will find that chord composition sometimes does not conform to the usual rules, so its arpeggio is different and its melody is unique.
Scaler gave me the opportunity to try various chords, so that people like me also have the opportunity to make music. If I am lucky, I will do well.
At present, the only problem is that we want scaler to add more music types and give different rhythms according to the music types, which will make the chords more valuable, and then we can edit and publish them.
I heard that scaler will realize this function in the near future. I look forward to it very much! :smiley:

Hi swingmix,
I agree that some kind of arpeggio form is a natural melody for any chord progression.
But I always begin my search for a melody by listening repeatedly the progression. After some repetition I tend to form some melody in my head.
Then I try to play it and refine it a little. In general some motifs has been created in the melody. So I try to reuse them in another forms to create variations.
There are no stone rules, but I try to balance the step ups and downs. And try to put a few leaps (more than 2 semi tones) to make some surprise movement.
I tend to use some energy increase (higher frequency notes) at 3/4 of the bar and finishing it by lowering again resolving it in some form of cadence.
It will depend on if this bar is the period final or if there will be some continuation.
That’s how I try to approach melody creation anyway.