Your Favorite Emotional Lead Melody instruments?

Your Favorite Emotional Lead Melody instruments/libraries/presets?

In my opinion except for the human voice, bowed strings are the most amazing instrument family for leading melodies. But what other instruments do you use for your beautiful themes and motifs? And particularly what plugins, libraries, presets etc? :slight_smile:

I am a fan of high woodwinds myself, oboe and flute in particular because of the amazing vibrato you can get with them. I currently use VSL Woodwinds for this.

Horns are great for melodies too, and I still use CineBrass for the legato lines, even though I prefer Forzo overall for brass these days (they lack legato articulation).

Legato vocals are incredible for leading melodies of course, so I am looking forward to Ethera Gold 2.0 which is coming soon.

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I like most:
English horn
French horn

Nylon guitar in emotive film music

I use Virharmonic violin and cello
Cinematic studio brass
8dio English horn
Ilya Efimov nylon guitar

Oh and 8dio Jennifer for vocal

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Well, cello, obviously! :wink: (Was in the middle of honing long shifts, tone, and vibrato right now, actually. Had a breakthrough with that heavy and somewhat uncooperative C string today!)

Violin and viola (underrated!) are not bad either, of course, and the double bass actually has substantial solo potential too.

French horn is lovely, but if/when I pick up brass too, I’d probably start with the flügelhorn.

On the woodwinds side (by classical definitions), I’m fascinated by the expressive capabilities of the saxophone, but not actually a huge fan of the tone… On the more traditional side, my favorites are probably bassoon and English horn.

Of course, it all depends on context, and there are many instruments that have unexpected solo capabilities. Unfortunately, sample libraries are rather limited in that regard, as they tend to only cover the most common articulations. For example, you can play long pizzicato notes with vibrato, slides and whatnot on double bass and cello, but all you have in most libraries is the typical muted “tip-toe” pizz.

As for vocals, it obviously depends even more on context, and who’s singing, but since they’re even more limited in the virtual domain, I have’t really bothered so far, beyond choirs, and my own vocal skills aren’t really up to more advanced stuff, like metal, jazz, or classical. Well, not yet. :wink:

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David, have you seen ThatCelloGuy (I think he was called) on YouTube, or 2Cellos? Perhaps you could get a YouTube artist career? :wink:

Horns are great for long notes and slower melodies, but it’s hard to beat strings and woodwinds for agility.

I feel where I need to evolve next as a composer using virtual instruments, is to be able to record/write more agile and versatile leading melodies. It’s so easy to go back to the good old ‘only use legato articulation’ for the entire melodic phrase.

I would love to be able to have that Irish melody sound which is soooo agile! :smiley:

Any tips, since you play the real thing David?

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Ah yes, trumpet can be good for melodies, even if solo trumpet always give me that military vibe haha. Unless it’s rhythmic trumpet, then I get the ‘noble fanfare’ vibe.

Guitar, oh how could I forget. If only I had some nice guitar skills I would love to record some electric leads with lots of vibrato. Gary Moore style. Or some memorable riffs, Iron Maiden style.


When I started learning music I played and could listen all day to Cavatina from Deer hunter. It was a classic in school for learning guitar at that time. Unfortunately I’ve lost the touch haven’t touched the guitar on long time its all midi and keyboard now :grinning:
I agree on the Irish sound. I want to be able to write like that. Irish flutes are great for melody.


Oh if I only had the time I would really want to become a great pianist, then guitarist, then violin etc. But I guess being a composer first, means we have to sacrifice the performance focus a bit.


Well, AFAIK, those guys are all professionals with more years of classical training than I have left to live. :smiley:

That said, only needing to nail the odd take in the studio makes it possible to play way beyond your “actual” skill level, so maybe if I stay on YouTube, and never play live… :wink:

As for agile melodies, I think of it as using ornaments (scales, trills, arpeggios) to move between the notes of the “actual” melody. Basically the same approach as improvising around scales to build melodies, but on a lower level.

And indeed; it does help to learn multiple instruments, as they all have idiomatic ornaments that are surprisingly easy and natural to play, either due to the construction of the instruments, or because they’re part of the basic technique. (Like runs on the strings… Not technically easy, but it’s basically the scales that make up the first third of the typical practice session!) Some also bring particularly pleasant or interesting sounds out of the instruments, but may not be obvious without hands-on experience.

Apart from being more familiar with instruments helps you write more appropriate parts for them, I think it can help with the writing process, as it adds to the “library of solutions” that you use when turning raw inspiration into proper, structured music.

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well it depends but i often use these instruments for the leading theme

  • cello
  • viola
  • clarinette
  • english horn
  • french horn in pianissimo has a very soft sound and beautyfull color
  • piano
  • violin

and as regards the articulation for the string in con sordino or flautando in order to have a non agressiv sound