Rap is a contemporary musical style. It is essentially characterized by spoken or chanted lyrics that rhyme. It developed alongside the so-called hip-hop culture. Unlike the spoken word poetry, rap is performed in consonance with a musical beat, either instrumental or synthesized. Technically, a DJ is skilled to create a rap. By looping selected portions of some songs and adhering to a 4/4 time signature, a rap is readily produced.
Now, mixing melody in a rap song shouldn’t be that complicated for you. Here are some easy-to-follow guidelines in incorporating a series of notes in a rap song:
- Compose your distinct melodic line. A melodic line is a string of notes that embodies or captures the melody you want to introduce. You should make it more engaging, vibrant, and memorable. If you wish to make it more interesting, thrown in some extra notes. Sometimes, musicians aver, ornaments or embellishments could make your melodic line more attention-grabbing.
- Shape your melodic line. Experiment on how it would go up and down in the rap song. It would certainly break monotony and make your melody more discernible. Your attempt to work on the rise and fall of your melodic line would eventually account for the mood you want to achieve.
- Transform your melodic lines into melodic phrases. Polish your lyrics. Play around your with words. Highlight where (or when) to pause. Group your words into melodic “ideas”. By carefully selecting where to stop or where to not to stop, you are actually identifying the weaker or stronger segments of your composition. Varying your melodic phrases would require musical ingenuity and inventiveness. Aim to perfect the overall rhythm.
- Introduce motifs. They are sometimes called as motives, cells, or figures. Basically, they are short melodic pieces. They are intended to appear repeatedly within the song. Their reappearance is actually planned to create a sense of style or musicality. When they recur, they may be done a bit slower, or be executed in an altered key. They are also used to connote the varied emotions within the song.
- Assign counterpoints. They are contrapuntal melodies. They should be plugged in to contrast (or perhaps, sharpen or highlight) your melodic lines and phrases.
- Force your melody into the core of the rap song. How do you make your melody stand out? How do make it audible? It is simple. Keep it in the “middle ground”. You should have it in a pretty good level to be appreciated by your listeners. For instance, your melody should still be heard when people turn the sound knob either to the left side or to the right side. Your melody should literally become the driving force of the rap song. It should also not be muted when modern amplifiers like synthesizers and drum machines are incorporated into the mix.
The above guidelines should lead you through the creative process of mixing melody in a rap song. Use them thoughtfully. Who knows? Your composition will be the next big hit.