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Melody vs. Production Finesse

In our previous blog post we talked about key things to take into consideration when creating unique audio. But there’s another obvious aspect to great music besides production – the composition itself. In a nutshell, great audio often consists of two crucial elements: a great melodic idea & high technical quality.
(Not just the) Production quality
It is extremely important to discover new, interesting ways and methods of production. But sometimes technically great producers forget the necessity of a memorable melody by focusing too much on exciting sounds. A solid melodic idea is paramount in making a standout piece of music. It is something you should be able to sing or play and recognise no matter the instrument or production. Though credible sound is important, at the end of the day great songs usually work no matter the sound or the production. Think of why famous cover songs work so well – there’s just something in the fundamental composition that has the ability to stand out.
Pro tip 1: Take one of your favourite songs and analyse the melody in depth. What makes it stand out? What can you learn from it? 
(Not just the) Recognisable melody
The fact is that a great melody alone simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Great production including the finest tweaks can make even the most basic melody stand out and get the attention it deserves.
Pro tip 2: Again, think of another one of your favourite songs and analyse it, this time production wise. How do the production choices support the overall feeling and flow of the emotion and the melody?
Here are two different examples of how traditional songwriting and melodic know-how has been combined with modern, top-notch production:
Alicia Keys: In Common
Amazing melodic (and rhythmic!) songwriting we’re used to hearing from Alicia Keys, now taken to a whole new level with subtle urban production. The vocal production supporting the verse melody contrasted with the melodic, traditional bass line in the pre-chorus creates extremely subtle yet strong and solid production. This tune, which was possibly originally a piano-driven ballad, now takes the listener straight to the club. And how about that beat combining hip hop sounds with classic afrobeat rhythms? Not every EDM-head can do this!
The track is produced by Illangelo and written by Keys, Illangelo, Tayla Parks, and Billy Walsh.

Ryuichi Sakamoto: The Revenant soundtrack
Sakamoto’s combination of symphony orchestra and minimalist sound production results in a massive and haunting, yet beautiful score supporting the film perfectly and standing as a solid piece of music by itself. Just listen to the first tracks on Spotify to discover the eloquent yet disturbing combination of classic film scoring and modern sound production. The soundtrack was a collaborative production effort by a wide team of experts.

We would love to hear back from you. Please share your own pro tips on melodic & production finesse in the comments below!

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