If you’re a piano player, it’s incredibly easy to find sheet music in every genre and at any skill level. If you play the cello, you can also find a wonderful selection of sheet music to keep you busy playing for as long as your fingers hold up. But what about melodica players? It’s not nearly as easy to find dedicated sheet music for melodica.
However, just because we don’t have as large of a selection as some other musicians doesn’t mean that there’s no hope when it comes to melodica sheet music. There are options, some easier to adapt than others for sure. But with a little knowledge of how to read sheet music, you can find almost anything to play on a melodica.
If you’re not familiar with reading sheet music yet, the melodica is a great instrument to learn on. With the more limited range, you’ll need to find music that might be a bit easier to read. Also, if you do start with music specifically written for the melodica, going to piano music afterward will be much easier to do.
Music books specifically for melodica
There are quite a few sheet music books written for melodica. A quick trip to your local music store may or may not have something for you, but it’s worth a try…and who doesn’t love an afternoon in a music store anyway? If you don’t find something for melodica, ask. At the very least, you’ll put the suggestion into their heads that they should be buying melodica sheet music.
Music for melodicas is a lot easier to find with a search online. Not quite as fun as walking around a music store and playing as many different instruments as you can, but you will find something you’re looking for. Sometimes, though, it’s more about knowing what to look for than it is to know where to look.
Melodicas are played differently from pianos
There are a couple of major differences to consider with the technique used when playing the piano vs playing a melodica. You can play a melodica with two hands while it’s sitting flat on a table or your lap; however, you very often play it with one hand while holding it up to your mouth. This is one of the main things to keep in mind when looking at sheet music made for pianos.
You’ll want songs that can be played with one hand just as well as two. You’ll have to adjust a little to keep the melody recognizable within the chords you play, but it’s very possible to use piano sheet music for a melodica as long as it’s not too complicated. Just remember that music with a strong melody line makes a great option for melodica music.
Adapting sheet music for other instruments
Most people that read music and use sheet music when they’re playing melodica will be able to adapt music written for instruments like piano, flute, and more. If the music features a prominent melody line and clear chords along with it, you shouldn’t have much trouble using it for melodica.
Be creative about where you’re looking. I’ve even seen some folks mentioning hymnals for sheet music. For some, they’ll be familiar to the ear, and in general, they’ll have fairly simple and clear chord progressions supporting the melody line. This could be a great way to start with melodica sheet music.
Melodicas are small pianos
Remember that a melodica keyboard is a smaller version of a piano keyboard. While there are some significant differences between the ways those instruments are played, the notes and the layout is the same. So, what do we need to pay attention to when we think about using sheet music for piano?
Since your melodica features a keyboard that is basically a piano with a much smaller range, you can use piano sheet music as long as you’re comfortable adapting it to fit.
Music for woodwinds and brass instruments
Music written for flutes, oboes, trumpets, and other similar instruments will feature melodic lines much more prominently. While you won’t be working with chords as much in the sheet music itself, you can always add chords yourself to the melody line. This is a great way to learn how to adapt music yourself to the melodica.
If you’re adding in your own chord progressions to a melody line, one good way to start is to just play the chords that fall on specific rhythmic spots. For example, you could just play the chords that fit with the melody at the beginning of each bar. Then, add in chords as you get more comfortable playing melody lines and chords at the same time.
Write your own melodica music
If you’re learning music theory or just learning to read music, one of the best ways to get more comfortable with the process is to write some music yourself. If you start with very basic music notation, it’s not as scary as it sounds. Give yourself the freedom to write some really terrible music at first. Keep writing, and you’ll get better and better.
Start with basic chord progressions and a simple melody line. It’s a great feeling to write something down and then play it in real life.
There are tons of music programs out there that will allow you to create your own music and then print it out as sheet music. Band in a box is one program that’s been somewhat popular in the melodica community. The program is a bit complicated, so I would only recommend it for people who are really comfortable with music on a computer. It is a pretty powerful program, but the interface does leave a lot to be desired.
Most DAWs (digital audio workstations) will have some kind of similar feature. Garageband, for instance, will allow you to compose music and then print it out for your own use or to share with other musicians.
Wherever you find your music, be creative and have fun with it. And I would strongly recommend the last option here…write some of your own sheet music for the melodica. It’s a fantastic way to learn, and you might surprise yourself with an awesome new viral YouTube video.