Dipping our toes into AI, we decided to put it to ChatGPT: “Tell me what makes a good melody.” Overall, we think it did a very good job. (Podcast listeners will definitely see some points that we make on just about every melody we examine!)

“Tell me what makes a good melody.”

A good melody is often subjective, as people can have different preferences and tastes in music. However, there are some general characteristics that make a melody appealing to a wider audience. Here are some of the key elements that contribute to a good melody:

  1. Memorable: A good melody is one that is catchy and sticks in the listener’s mind. It should be easy to remember and hum along to.
  2. Contour: A melody should have a clear shape or contour that rises and falls, creating a sense of tension and release. A melodic contour can be smooth or jagged, but it should have a sense of direction and purpose.
  3. Range: A melody should have a range that is comfortable for the singer or instrumentalist to perform, while also being interesting to the listener.
  4. Rhythm: A good melody should have a rhythmic pattern that is engaging and propels the listener forward. A well-crafted melody will often have a rhythm that complements the lyrics or adds to the emotional impact of the song.
  5. Balance: A melody should have a sense of balance and symmetry, with phrases that are evenly spaced and have a satisfying resolution. It should also have a logical progression that leads to a satisfying conclusion.
  6. Emotion: A good melody should evoke emotion in the listener. Whether it’s joy, sadness, anger, or love, a well-crafted melody should be able to connect with the listener on an emotional level.

Overall, a good melody should be memorable, have a clear shape and direction, be comfortable to perform, have engaging rhythm, balance, and evoke emotion.