How to Harmonize Chords to Melody

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How to Harmonize a Melody - Music Theory

And a good song usually uses both. A strong progression is one that strongly points to one chord as being the key or "tonic" chord. A strong progression will often use chords whose roots are a fourth or fifth apart. Take the following example, in the key of A major:. The second, third, and final chord have roots a perfect fourth away from each other. B is four notes up from F. E is four notes up from B.

Piano melody harmonisation using the right hand in pop and jazz songs

And A is four notes up from E. And because the chords as presented really only exist in A major, there can be no confusion that the key is A major. This is a good example of what we call a fragile progression. The Chord roots are all a second or third away from each other.

Chord progression - Wikipedia

And these chords exist in D major, but also in A major, or even F minor. This kind of ambiguity makes it a fragile progression.

Does this make it a bad progression? Certainly not! In fact, it's quite beautiful, and good songs need fragile progressions. But you have to be careful where you place this progression.

General rules to harmonize the melody with the right hand

We call this a fragile progression because it does not strongly emphasize the key you are in. So fragile doesn't mean bad.

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But you have to know when to use fragile progressions. Here's a good rule of thumb to always consider:. Not only that, you will discover that the tonic note i. It's all part of structuring your music.


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If you aren't structuring your music in this way, your songs will feel like they lack energy and direction. We tend to think of all the various chord progressions as just simply We write one, then This approach will keep the same tonic, only giving us a larger chord form. This approach offers other possibilities, in essence using the basic triad as an upper structure to form chords with a different root.

I hope these ideas will help you in your musical journey! In our next installment, we will apply these concepts to the harmonization of a melody.

Grade 6 Music Theory: Lesson A6 Harmonizing a Melody I

Garcia is a composer, arranger, producer, recording engineer, multi-instrumentalist, and educator from the Dominican Republic. He has presented clinics at regional and national conferences and has conducted his music nationally and internationally. An award winning album, it has received numerous accolades by critics and jazz fans alike, nationally and internationally.

This is the way I apply a concept learned from the late Dick Grove www. These triads will be the basis for the type of harmonization we are going to explore. The most important notes of the melody are: Notes placed on beats 1 and 3 Longer notes Repeated notes Arpeggios Half steps. These will give us a clear idea of the momentary key in place at any time.

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Example 2 Notice the placement of the subdominant and dominant chords II V on weak parts of the measure; and the tonic chords, Cmaj7 and Amin7, on strong measures. The Concept of Tonicization By adding a dominant functioning chord right before any of the major or minor chords of the major scale, you are making such chord a momentary tonic, in effect creating a momentary key. The Concept of Harmonic Generations Each one of the notes of the major scale can be the tonic, third, or fifth of a diatonic triad.

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Five parts chords or some implied form. Six parts chords or some implied form. Seven part chords or some implied form. There are two ways to get larger chords from the basic triads: A Superimposing ascending thirds.

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