I have a neat technique I use to jump-start melody generation. I want to share it, and I even bet some of you have done this!
I first create a couplet of spoken doggerel, or even a single line of spoken English. (Use any language, though.)
It can be silly. It doesn’t have to be good poetry. It could be, say, off the top of my head,
“Jersey Mike’s makes submarine sandwiches”
Or, for a rhyming couplet,
“I’m sitting here doing nothing
My favorite food is stuffing.”
Now, try to make the rhythm of your spoken line fit into a meter so that it’s musically useful.
Then add pitches to the notes. Sing the melody into your iPhone, and forget the words you started with.
What this does is it makes you use rhythms you’d never come up with if you weren’t starting with spoken language. And in melody writing, MORE THAN HALF of the interesting creative content is rhythm, not pitch.
I generally like to use phrases with at least one word that’s more than 2 syllables and creates sone rhythmic complexity. That is, you want to stay away from overly regular meter, like this:
There was a man who sat
Upon a purring cat
It’s this kind of predictable regularity we using this technique to ESCAPE.
The process is effortless, and gets your melody “seeded” quickly and without racking your brain or pulling hair out.
Later, you come back and edit your melody, having forgotten the doggerel you started with and with no obligation to keep the original rhythm.