Melodic Range of Pop Songwriting | Make sure We Can Sing!

Songwriting is one of the reason that keep me working as a musician. It engages so much creative moments and satisfaction when you complete something that’s highly enjoyable. After you have set up the perfect environment for creative songwriting session, and applied one of the 10 different approaches to write an effective melody, now let’s look at an essential point which is normally neglected by most songwriters. It is called the melodic range of a song.

Referring to the article Elements of Music,

Melodic range may be defined as the distance between the lowest and highest pitches of a melody. If there is a large number of notes between the lowest and highest pitches, the melody is said to have a wide range. If only a few notes separate the lowest and highest pitches, the melody is said to have a narrow range.

As common sense tell us, most people has narrow range vocal ability. From the research done and published at Songwriting Software Plus, most great songs has melodic range of 12-17 semitones, which is about one and a half octave. Look at the chart below:

Figure: Melodic Range of “Great” songs versus “Ordinary Songs”
Source: Songwriting Software

Make sure that your songs are singable practically by anyone. This is especially true when nowadays people like to sing at karaoke for leisure. The most sung songs are those singable ones. Just limit the range from 12-17 semitones as a guide and you won’t go wrong.  That’s why it is useful to sing the melody rather than playing it out with music instruments during our creative moment of writing melody.

Recommended songwriting book:

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