7: thank-you for the kind response and also for the links.  i'm usually aware that i borrow many melodic, harmonic and rhythmical ideas from my experience.  when finding the 'next few notes' or the 'response to the previous sentence' (as also suggested in your articles) i usually just let my mind kind of fill in 'what seems like it should go next' and also let myself be guided by the standard 'rules' of resolution and direction when needed (like the tritone in the ionian mode pushing out to the 3rd and the tonic).

what i get confused/worried about is whether my mind is 'discovering' the right melody or subconsciously 'remembering' it from some piano piece i had to learn when i was a kid or some folk song i  heard on the radio years ago.

that being said, i definitely agree with the idea that the process of composition is more like being a middle-man than a creator, using rules alone usually makes dull meaningless melodies, and what 'sounds good'  was 'what will/would sound good' before you came across it.

based on your advice i'm going to put my worries aside and keep slugging away.

thanks again.
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