The PReVaDe Technique

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The PReVaDe Technique

The PReVaDe Technique

Now that the motif is composed, it is time to develop it into a little melodic phrase.

You pretty much have the freedom to do whatever you want here, but I am going to show you a little technique that’s been very helpful to me.

Because, when you’re writing a melody, there are a few traps to fall into. Either you can make your melody become too repetitive, and make the listener bored (lacking on the «interest» part of lesson 1). Or you can make your melody change all the time and be all over the place, confusing the listener - losing the memorability. The goal is to find a sweet spot between keeping your melody fresh and interesting while maintaining the original character of the melody.

The following method is a way to maintain a characteristic structure while playing, while still engaging the listener and making it interesting. It’s a technique my guitar teacher taught me in high school for improvisation, that I later found out was applicable to all kinds of music. And I’ve later noticed that the same structure is found in film scores, pop hits and everything in between. It’s a technique that can help you get the perfect balance between familiar and new, between repetition and contrast. It’s a concept I call «Prevade», standing for «presentation, repetition, variation, and destruction.» What it basically means, is this:

Presentation: First, you present a motif - this is the core of your melody.

Repetition: Second, you repeat the motif.
 

Variation: Then, you use a slight variation of your main motif. (repeating the original motif or theme )

What has Synfire to offer ?: reverse, invert and flip

Most common forms of variation is called the sequence  (repeating the motif but on a different pitch)

-sequence (variations on this: inexact sequence)
-side slip
-rhythmic displacement
-inversions (sometimes called a melodic inversion)
-retrograde inversions
-permutation
-same rhyhtm, different piches
-same pitches, different Rhythm
- augmentation
-diminution
-truncation
-expansion
modulation
-modal mixture
-reharmonization
-thinning
-ornamentation
Varying the variations
The further you go inthe variations, the further you get from the original theme-to the point that you develop- completely new motifs
 

Destruction: At last, you round off the phrase with something new.

Now, if you feel this is way too structured and limiting, don’t worry. There are tons of ways to customize and use these techniques, plus - it’s not a formula, only a little guideline to push you in the right direction. To make it easier for you to understand, check out the melodies I did with one of my motifs from the last lesson.

This is my result, using the structure above:

 

   

Your browser does not support the audio element

 

Download    

 

This was done in a few seconds by simply taking the previous motif, and structuring it using the PReVaDe method. Let's have a quick look at exactly what I did:

You can see that I have used my motif and developed it using the technique I just presented to you. First I have presented my motif from last page. Then I have simply repeated it, moved one step up. Next I have created a little variation by making the first note jump a minor 6th instead of a perfect 5th, and have added two half notes at the end of it. In the final part, I have taken the simple 2 note motif from the variation, and created a destruction part that is completely different from the other 3 sections to round off the phrase.

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Variations of PReVaDe

   

 

Now, take a look at this motif from the last exercise, and listen to how I have structured it into a full theme below.

https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/sNXGZMcoQiGB2bTVzgAs

Full Theme

https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/G3rfkASLybgqH0GIYZ4w

 

In this theme you can notice that the Variation comes before the Repetition part. This is another common way to structure your motifs, that can be equally effective.

This is one of the many ways you can use this technique, and you can feel free to switch out and change around the sections. The only thing to keep in mind, in the beginning, is to try to get a combination of your original motif, a little variation of your motif, and something completely new. The key is to get a balance between using your motif and introducing new elements. One example of similar use of the main motif, is the famous Hobbit Theme from Lord Of The Rings. Here the motif is presented, then varied a bit, then repeated, before an ending is introduced. Have a quick listen:

Lord Of The Rings Example:

https://youtu.be/_pGaz_qN0cw

At the end of the day, there are no rules. If you have created a melody with this framework, but you feel like some parts are not completely right - tweak it to your liking. Do whatever you feel is right, and what makes your melody sound good. Want to start with the destruction? Or have 3 variations? Try it out! Though this is far from the only way to create a strong melody, starting with something like this is a great way to have a place to start when you’re totally blank. It’s a good way to get some inspiration and have a starting place for future development. Plus, it usually sounds good, because it’s a great blend of something that’s memorable and interesting.

I only use this way of structuring melodies when I feel it's right. Other times I disregard it completely and just let creativity flow free. That said, it can be a very good way of getting out of the writer's block. So is it the only way to create a melody? Absolutely not. But will it usually sound pretty decent and make you get started pretty quickly? For sure.

duderanch's picture
duderanch
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amazing! thanks for this post. this is life changing stuff.

janamdo's picture
janamdo
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Last seen 1 week 5 days ago

Nice to hear..now you can make a interesting melody

 

snares's picture
snares
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Thanks for this

janamdo's picture
janamdo
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Variations of PReVaDe

   

 

Now, take a look at this motif from the last exercise, and listen to how I have structured it into a full theme below.

 

   

https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/sNXGZMcoQiGB2bTVzgAs

   

 

Full Theme:
https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/G3rfkASLybgqH0GIYZ4w

 

In this theme you can notice that the Variation comes before the Repetition part. This is another common way to structure your motifs, that can be equally effective.

This is one of the many ways you can use this technique, and you can feel free to switch out and change around the sections. The only thing to keep in mind, in the beginning, is to try to get a combination of your original motif, a little variation of your motif, and something completely new. The key is to get a balance between using your motif and introducing new elements. One example of similar use of the main motif, is the famous Hobbit Theme from Lord Of The Rings. Here the motif is presented, then varied a bit, then repeated, before an ending is introduced. Have a quick listen:

Lord Of The Rings Example:

https://youtu.be/_pGaz_qN0cw

At the end of the day, there are no rules. If you have created a melody with this framework, but you feel like some parts are not completely right - tweak it to your liking. Do whatever you feel is right, and what makes your melody sound good. Want to start with the destruction? Or have 3 variations? Try it out! Though this is far from the only way to create a strong melody, starting with something like this is a great way to have a place to start when you’re totally blank. It’s a good way to get some inspiration and have a starting place for future development. Plus, it usually sounds good, because it’s a great blend of something that’s memorable and interesting.

I only use this way of structuring melodies when I feel it's right. Other times I disregard it completely and just let creativity flow free. That said, it can be a very good way of getting out of the writer's block. So is it the only way to create a melody? Absolutely not. But will it usually sound pretty decent and make you get started pretty.

janamdo's picture
janamdo
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