Arts & Entertainment, Music

Developing Melodic Structures


Lesson time 16:54 min

Whether you've had musical training or not, you can use these deadmau5 techniques to start drawing melodies into your DAW and creating loops that resolve.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Resolving • Writing a Melody • Drone Notes • Don’t Be Obvious


I approach music on an experimentation level. I don't dream up things. I'm not fucking-- what's his name from the Beatles. I had it in a dream, and I transcribed it. I need to hear it. I need to be on it and be experimenting with it right then and there. Essentially, all music is is a series of cycles. And that's for everything. Country music is a series of cycles. You play this chord, that chord, that chord, that chord. And then it's this chord, that chord, that chord, that chord, this chord, that chord, that chord. There really isn't a lot of music out there that isn't part of a cycle. So the thing about the cycle-- in my mind, the way it works is that you start on a note, and then do what you want here, but just as long as you can get it to resolve back to that same root structure so that the cycle sounds natural as opposed to some abrupt thing. I don't know. Because honestly, I slept during music. And even though I went to a conservatory for music, I slept doing that too, and I totally don't know what this is called. But I call it resolving. Maybe that's actually what it is called. I don't fucking know. So the melody has to resolve so that it sounds like a continual cycle or something like that. So it can't just abruptly end on a chord and then start on a different chord on a different key. It just clashes when it comes back around if it's a loop bass thing. All of my songs would be good examples of how to close that loop. Let's see here. So this is just some free thinking stuff here. [MELODY PLAYS] I'm just going to tighten this up real quick. OK. So we got three now that harmoniously go together. [MELODY PLAYS] So that would be my first two bars of something. [MELODY PLAYS] So that's a cycle in itself, but there's no key change in there. So what I would instinctively do is duplicate that. And so you have that now, and now you've got a four bar kind of melody going. But you want a key change. [MELODY PLAYS] Now, I know the top note should be this, so I'm going to put that in the same spot and then bring that first note down. [MELODY PLAYS] Well, now that's a change. Now, a bad cycle, I can tell you right now, would be-- since now we're looking at eight bars-- Yeah. See, now that doesn't resolve to me. Now, when I'm doing this kind of thing over eight bars, what I'm actually looking at is this last bar and this first bar. So what I want to do is just listen to the-- [MELODY PLAYS] So the only way that would resolve as it is now without it changing completely is make this minor now. So now I know that-- [MELODY PLAYS] See that? To me, that makes more sense than going from that minor to major. Now I'm going from minor to minor, which makes more sense. I think it's actually just a different interval of that exact same chord. So now that I know that those two are on, now I can go ahead and fix. [MELODY PLAYS] See, now t...

About the Instructor

Before he was deadmau5, all Joel Zimmerman wanted for Christmas was old toasters to take apart. Now, you can watch him take his music apart. In his first-ever online class, Joel teaches you how he approaches melodies, mixing and mastering to make unique sounds you can't find in a cookie cutter sample pack. You'll not only get his lessons, you'll learn how to create your own music without spending money on million dollar gear.

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6 hours of instructions, 23 video lessons, and a downloadable course workbook.

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