Should I Actually Bother With A Melody?


The title of this topic isn’t quite as click-baitey as might appear at first glance.

The reasons I’m asking the question are twofold.

  1. The first two rejections I received were for piano pieces that were entirely melodic in nature. They were just good old-fashioned common practice piano shorts that had a melody with an accompaniment.

I suppose they are relevant to the conversation, so I’ve included them here for those who want to have a listen:


I don’t think that either of them are particularly bad pieces of music. They are no worse than many of the piano shorts that were written by any number of 19th century composers, and probably they are better than some of them.

I can’t see any issue with the mix in either of them because, by definition, there is nothing to mix when you only have one instrument. Though, I think that they could have been humanised a little better.

Nevertheless, I’m less concerned about why these two tracks were rejected than I am about the nature of what music is likely to be accepted on AJ, which brings me to the other reason I’m asking the question.

  1. When listening to - no, make that suffering from - TV ads or documentaries, I often notice that the background music doesn’t have a tune, per se. Rather, a lot of it has repeated figures, arpeggiated chords and suble, or not so subtle, changes of texture.

The other day I watched a fascinating film - Requium for the American Dream - that was one long interview with the American linguist, Noam Chomsky. I’ve not embedded it here, as I’ve no idea whether it is in copyright, but it will pop right up on YouTube if you search.

The music throughout the whole 1 hr 12 mins was based around the same four chords and didn’t have a single identifiable ‘tune’. I notice the same thing with a lot of the ads I endure.

Now, I’m not saying that not having a tune is a bad thing - Steve Reich’s Sextet doesn’t have one, and it is an absolutely astonishing modern masterpiece.

Rather, I’m asking this: is there any point in having a tune that will take up more of the listener’s attention, I should I focus my efforts on, to quote from above, “repeated figures, arpeggiated chords,” and the like.

If you’re more clued up than I am, then it might seem like a silly question, but I don’t think it is.

Thanks in advance for any input.


Hello @Michael_D_Killick !
The first thing I would like to say is that your tracks are good, but lately the melodies on only one piano are not very relevant here.
Second: You need to be more collected and punctual in making such decisions as to join to work here: you will need to write background music (as you yourself indicated without special melodies) (at least 4 tracks per week to achieve something here at first (if they are built on simple harmonies and do not take a lot of time, but how can you guess that some tracks are written by months), of course, if you have a goal, take this site very seriously) , if you are pleased with it as successful composers you can go and do it.
And third: there are certain rules and commercial standards as well as commercial viability that you can read here (These are the criteria by which tracks are approved or rejected).

Good luck!

Thanks for pointing me to that document. I think it pretty much answers my question.

I must admit that I did read it many months ago when I first started tinkering with stock music, but I don’t think that most of it went in. It will now.

Thanks again.

This music should be recorded on a real acoustic grand piano. No one used a digital piano in the 19th century :wink: .

Thanks for that.

The plug-in I used was Pianoteq STAGE, which has a vast collection of different pianos and other keyboards going back centuries - Broadwoods, different makers of harpsichord, etc, etc.

I grew up playing piano, and I’ve played on modern Steinways, Becksteins, and many others and, in truth, my trained ear can’t tell the difference between the plug-in’s acoustic modelling and the real thing.

In any case - and I’m open to being corrected on this - I don’t think that anyone considering purchasing either of those tracks would think to him or her self, "I like that track but it clearly hasn’t been recorded using a Broadwood from circa 1857, so I’m going to look elsewhere.

Also, I’m not trying to mimic the works of Brahms, Schumman, Chopin or anyone else. Those pieces just happen to be piano shorts that utilise common practice harmonies and traditional techniques of melodic composition that would be as familiar to Bach as they would be to Burt Bacharach or the Beatles.

Thanks again.

Hi, Michael.

As i see, Envanto doesn’t need a simple piano wild oldschool feelings and sound now. If you want to sell a single instrument, i guess you should use more felt sounding piano like this:

Also, you can just make a simple emotional story with piano. I did this recently and got an approval and even a sale (this is a Pianoteq too):

Thanks, DeepDeepOcean.

I can see exactly where you’re coming from.

That kind of music is in the background, or, to use a key phrase that I didn’t take on board from that document linked to above, ‘Music General Acceptance and Sales Tips For Musicians by Musicians’, “Music’s primary role in nearly all commercial projects is supportive.”

That kind of doodling - if that’s the right word - is much less in your face than those pieces I knocked out. There is more space between the sounds for something else to be noticed, and the metre - or lack of one - doesn’t draw so much attention to what’s going on with the piano.

Thanks again. That was really helpful.

maybe your tracks, even if are well written, are too “classical” and “complex” for the kind of use on AJ.
i think you should focus on more simple and “repetitive” background piano parts.
remember it has to be used as a background for visuals, and it should not be meant to be “listened” as a piano track.
maybe also focus on a feeling and / or a specific use for your track

i had some little success with piano tracks, even though i am not a pianist…

Hi bosone,

Listening to what you and the others have said - and to the examples you’ve given - I think I can see where I’ve been going wrong.

The answer to the question that is the title of this topic - Should I Actually Bother With A Melody? - at least on AJ, would appear to be a resounding ‘No’.

What you wrote above, “… and it should not be meant to be “listened” as a piano track.” seems to be the key point.

Thanks for the great advice.

Nice tracks, by the way.

1 Like