Christian Songwriting - Melody Writing - Imitation

In producing a melody, it may be helpful for you to think of it as having a visible form. Written music demonstrates this quite clearly; for instance, if you drew a line joining the notes on a staff, a piece of music would have a particular shape. But you don't need to write your music down to use this concept, just picture the shape of the melody in your mind. Using this technique, here are three methods you can use to begin a melody:


Imitation needs very little explanation. It is simply where a portion of the melody is repeated immediately, with very little, or no variation. For instance:

Imitation 1

Notice that the first two bars are identical, as are the third and fourth. If you know this little nursery rime, you?ll see that imitation is used considerably throughout the song. For other examples listen to the first two lines of Phil Keaggy's "Stone Eyes", "Don't Pass Me By" (written by Phil Keaggy and Lynn Nichols - the melody in this song contains a lot of imitation). De Garmo and Key's "Carry The Cross" (also 3rd and 4th lines), "Thriller", "Taxman"; "You Got It", "Norwegian Wood" (also 3rd and 4th lines), "Guitar Man" (also 3rd and 4th lines), or "Pushbike Song" (also 3rd and 4th lines). The second line of each of these songs is melodically the same as the first. The motif may not be repeated exactly but may contain minor variations, especially ones which accommodate the lyrics. Often the repeats have a different harmonic background.

Here's another example - of melodic imitation - where we have changed the harmonies with each repeat:


For more information on melody writing, including sequencing, question and answer, and more, buy Successful Songwriting. (This link will take you to, a subsidiary of Amazon.)

Lyric Writing - Rhyme | Lyric Writing - Lyrical Hooks | Song Content - Song Plan | Song Structure | Musical Elements | Rhythmic Devices | Melody Writing | Writer's Block