I just stumbled on this and it’s proven so far to be AMAZING.
I call this my “Love Theme seeding method.”
For me, one of the hardest things about creating new music is getting started on A piece and having no context, no starting point. I can burn up creative fuel just settling on what is to the first chord, or the first note. And actually, this doesn’t matter, because great themes can be written starting on any chord or note.
Often, I’ll first think of a the opening notes or chords of a piece I’ve recently listened to—but feel I can’t go there because that’s unoriginal, even though NOTHING is original. For example, since I’m scoring a Star Wars fan fiction, I have Leia’s theme, Han and the Princess, and Luke and Leia (Plus Marion’s theme from Raiders) all on my mind, all of which start with the I and iv chords, so I feel on one hand like if I want to sound Star Warsy I should write a love theme starting that way, but on the other hand that I’m being too unoriginal. This kind of pointless agonizing gets me out of my creative head.
So I have here a simple way to get a context to write into. It gets you started and eliminates questions about where to start, saving your creative fuel for imagining a great melody.
First, ask your phone for a random number between 1 and 17.
Then, based on the number, the first two chords of your love theme will be one of these pairings:
Now, ask your phone for a random number between 1 and 3. If it’s 1, reverse the order of the chords. You’ll begin with the second chord.
You’re almost ready to write your melody. But now ask for a random number between 1 and 10. If it’s between 1 and 3, your melody must start on a pickup note before beat 1 of measure 1. If it’s 4 or 5, your melody must start after the downbeat. If it’s between 6 and 10, your melody can start on the downbeat, although that is never required. This is just to get you out of always starting on the downbeat.
Now you have a context. All these chord pairings are solid beginnings for a love theme. You don’t have to worry that you’re doing something weird, nor are you copying somebody, because you didn’t even choose it. It it gives you I-iv, hey, the universe must’ve wanted another Leia’s theme, so go write it.
My advice would be to generate 5-10 melodies, and then revisit them in a couple days or ask a friend (or your film’s director) to pick his/her favorites. Other people will often spot the best ones, and you’ll find yourself agreeing.
Then you can adjust or hone the melody, obsessing over a note here and there to make it perfect. That’s where your creative energy should go, not into the pointless exercise of getting started. Siri can get you started.