Add One Note. . . And Your Melody Becomes More Emotional

Author: Tommaso Zillio

Ever wrote a melody or a fragment of music and thought… “that’s good but it falls a little bit short. If this was just a little bit more emotional, that would be perfect”?

(Yes, it’s an oddly specific thought, isn’t it? And yet, who here does not want to make their melodies more emotional?)

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Now, I know the title above TOTALLY looks like clickbait. It’s not. It’s music theory :-)

See, the standard answers to “how do I make my music more emotional” are along the lines of:

  • “It takes experience, give it time” (true, but not really an answer!)
  • “Write 100 melodies and then pick the best” (again, great advice, but not an answer)
  • “Make sure you use vibrato, bends, and slides. Don’t just play the plain melody” (nothing against that either… just not what we are looking for)

Turns out that there is one specific ‘trick’ that would work here, though.

(I don’t really like the word ‘trick’. But “procedure”, “concept”, etc sounds soooo boring… what would YOU call this?)

This trick is called “appoggiatura”. Or at least, SOME musicians call this “appoggiatura”… and other people call “appoggiatura” a completely different thing.

Honestly, I am not really into the name debate. IF you want to call it “awesome wrong-but-right note of emotional doom and delight” go right ahead.

The important thing is that you hear how it sounds. And you can hear it in the first few seconds of this video:

How do we get that effect? Here’s the step-by-step:

  1. Create a simple melody with chord notes
  2. Identify where the melody goes “up” by leaping on a chord change. Any ascending leap will work. If you don’t have a leap, then create one!
  3. On the chord change, add one note that is one step in the scale above the original landing note.
  4. Once you play that new note on the chord change, then resolve to the original chord note.

… and presto! You have an Appoggiatura.


About the Author

Tommaso Zillio is a prog rock guitarist and teacher with a passion for Music Theory applied to Guitar. To know more do not forget to subscribe to his youtube channel.

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