|Music Intervals Can Add Tension|
Another method of adding tension to your melody is by incorporating large leaps into the phrase. These leaps create tension, which can then be resolved by steps in the opposite direction of the leap.
Notice the passage below. In the fifth measure, the leap is resolved by stepping down in the opposite direction back down to an E. Use leaps to create interest in your melody, but be wary to not add them too often; this can cause the melody to become unfocused and random. Also, the larger the leap, the more tension it creates.
Also notice in the passage above how the first two measures are repeated in measure 3 and 4. The repeated passage creates a sense of familiarity in the audience with this small phrase. Hence, this small phrase would be repeated later on in the composition and become the theme of the song.
Nonscale Notes in Intervals
A fantastic way to create a ton of tension quickly is to incorporate nonscale tones into your melody. Use this technique sparingly! Many times this technique creates too much tension that cannot be easily resolved.
Upward moving melodies create tension. Upward moving melodies generally climb up towards a climax, where the audience is spellbound by all the tension, before relaxing back down as the melody descends. It’s all about creating tension and releasing, creating more tension, and then relaxing. If you can do this well, your melodies will be memorable.
If you have already created a melody and desire to add some tension at certain points, then music intervals can be your answer. If you have a melodic point, simply add a music interval of a 7th or 9th to create tension. A 6th or a 3rd can also create some tension, although not as much as the 7th and 9th. If your melody has some tension due to a leap, or for some other reason, then you can add a 4th, 5th or an octave to help stabilize that note.
Composing music is a creative process and allows you to utilize any techniques that you particularly like such as music intervals. For example, you might enjoy using leaps in your compositions and might disregard the music intervals. That’s fine.
Everyone has their own signature style. Remember, your ear is the best judge of which compositions are well constructed.