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I realised a long time ago that instrumental music speaks a lot more clearly than English, Spanish, Yiddish, Swahili, any other language. Pure melody goes outside time.
Ever since I was a child I've always been very attracted to melodies. Whether I hear Jeff Beck, a choir, an ocean or the wind, there's always a melody in there.
Great melody over great riffs is, to me, the secret of it all.
I have come to the conclusion - and I don't know why it took me so long, but nevertheless, I'm here now - that a lot of people tell me they don't get enough guitar on my albums. So I decided to do an album where the guitar would be the singer, playing the melody.
We cling nervously to the melody, but we don't handle it freely, we don't really make anything new out of it, we merely overload it.
Yet, it ought to be obvious that good music generally occupies a higher plane that mere politics. Great writers can express moods through melody and capture experiences we share most powerfully - love, lust, longing; joy, rage, fear; triumph, yearning and confusion.
Sometimes when people can't speak English, they hum the melody instead of singing along. Having 20,000 people humming your song is incredible.
I don't really have time to sit down and write. But when I think of a melody, I call up my answering machine and sing it, so I won't forget it.
I always write lyrics first and the rhythm and the melody come from the lyrics. It always comes from the lyrics: words have rhythm and words have melody.
Through song you learn, and I think school systems need to learn that. Through the rhythm you can learn better, through melody, with something you need to learn; it's a vehicle for it.
My symphonies would have reached Opus 100 if I had but written them down... Sometimes I am so full of music, and so overflowing with melody, that I find it simply impossible to write down anything.
The heart of the melody can never be put down on paper.
My voice is my improvisational instrument, the melody instrument. The guitar is harmonic structure. I'm not a good enough guitarist to improvise on it.
Melody is disarming. It's anarchic!
Jazz took too much discipline. You have to come in at the right place, which is different than me singing the blues, where I can sing, 'Oh, baby,' if there's a pause in the melody. With jazz, you better leave that space open, or put in something real cool.
In my songs, I'm not saying something that's never been said before. The have lyrics aren't going to blow people away. It's the emotion and the melody that drive it home.
People fall into patterns at fast speeds, when really, to have a clear musical thought - the kind of musical thought that makes a melody work - our brains just can't think that fast. At a certain point, you're going on automatic.
For me, the music dictates the melody. Give me a riff to sing over, you know?
Melody is king, and don't you ever forget it. Lyrics appear to be out front, but they're not; they're just an accompanying factor. If they're good, you're really in good shape. Lyrics are written to be rewritten.
Melody is a form of remembrance. It must have a quality of inevitability in our ears.
Gian Carlo Menotti
Sometimes songwriters and singers forget that. They get a melody in their head and the notes will take precedence, so that they wind up forcing a word onto a melody. It doesn't ring true.
My biggest influences were 1980s punk and metal. Metallica were my biggest influence because they were good at everything - riffs, energy - but with such an ear for melody, it was hard not to get pulled into it and become a fanatic.
Well, I think writing is basically about time and rhythm. Like with jazz. You have your basic melody and then you just riff off of it. And the riffs are about timing.
I find I'm not one of these composers that are, you know, walking along a beach or walking on the mountainside in County Donegal that's, you know, 'Oh, a melody.' It's more a matter of eventually taking that moment with me to the studio, and it begins to evolve.
I liken movies to playing a piano: Sometimes you're playing the chords and different notes with unresolved cadences and playing all major chords that are all over the place, and you're enjoying yourself with a great, simple melody.
John F. Kennedy
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