How to pick out a melody

Did you ever want to pick out the melody of a song?

Learning a melody can be a slow and cumbersome process. Today I will show you my secret trick on how to pick out melody notes of any song. Quickly!

Note interval training will help you pick out melodies faster

It all comes down to training your ears to hear the note intervals.

If you practise this technique for some time you will become much faster and fluent in picking out melodies.

…Not everybody has perfect pitch. I’m not one of them. I’m just like you!

Learn the melody of any song

This has helped me tremendously in my own musical career of writing game music and creating film scores. I hope this trick will help you out too!

What is note interval?

Note interval is the distance between any two given notes. The relation between these two notes is the – note interval.

The note interval naming convention follows the minor / major scale. Each note interval from C, up to C an octave above have their own unique name.

If we have a C-note, and add an F-note above. This note interval is called a perfect fourth (P4).

Watch the video and learn more about the other note interval names and what they sound like.

Note interval training

Note interval training will help you recognise the steps between the notes. In conclusion it will help your transcribe melodies faster.

How to practise note interval recognition?

If you have perfect pitch and can tell the notes just by hearing them individually, congratulations. You probably don’t need to practise note interval training. But for us (mortals) we should practise note interval recognition to become better at transcribing melodies.

I developed a technique for note interval recognition which works for me.

The “Superman” note interval

For each note interval I have picked a song I heard a thousand times. A song I know by heart. So for a perfect fifth note interval, I have the Superman Main theme. The theme begins with…a perfect fifth note interval.

The intro to Superman is a perfect fifth note interval.

So each time I hear a melody and the distance between two adjacent notes is a perfect fifth, I will hear the Superman intro melody. I then know the note interval is a perfect fifth. Easy!

Now go pick some songs you know by heart and relate them to each of the available note intervals in the major / minor scale.

Pick a song to each note interval

Picking a song to go along with the Minor Third, Major Third, Perfect Fourth and Perfect Fifth should be super easy. As there are millions of songs with these note intervals in the beginning of a melody.

If you like this article you might also like this other article I did on my favourite chord progression tricks!

Mattias Holmgren

Mattias Holmgren is a creative director sailing from Sweden – business owner of Morningdew Media. Visit Mattias YouTube with videos on music, creative sound design, graphics and brand development. Check out the Resources Page if you want to know what gear i use. Join my exclusive community:

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