How to Harmonize Chords to Melody

How To Harmonize A Melody
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A good melody is like your house, and a good chord progression is like the land you choose to build your house on: it's got to be more or less smooth, or placing the house will be tricky. And while you want your landscaping to be beautiful to behold, landscaping is all about the house.

Good landscaping makes a house look gorgeous! 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.

Step 1: Figure Out the Key Signature

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.

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.

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Does this make it a bad progression? Certainly not!

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In fact, it's quite beautiful, and good songs need fragile progressions. But you have to be careful where you place this progression. We call this a fragile progression because it does not strongly emphasize the key you are in. So fragile doesn't mean bad. 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. If you aren't structuring your music in this way, your songs will feel like they lack energy and direction. This sequence, using the ii chord , is also used cadentially in a common chord progression of jazz harmony , the so-called ii—V—I turnaround. Three-chord progressions provide the harmonic foundation of much African and American popular music, and they occur sectionally in many pieces of classical music such as the opening bars of Beethoven 's Pastoral Symphony [10].

How to Harmonize Chords to Melody

Where such a simple sequence does not represent the entire harmonic structure of a piece, it may readily be extended for greater variety. Frequently, an opening phrase has the progression I—IV—V—V, which ends on an unresolved dominant , may be " answered " by a similar phrase that resolves back onto the tonic chord , giving a structure of double the length:. Additionally, such a passage may be alternated with a different progression to give a simple binary or ternary form such as that of the popular bar form see musical form.

The bar blues and its many variants use an elongated, three-line form of the I—IV—V progression that has also generated countless hit records, including the most significant output of rock and rollers such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard. In its most elementary form and there are many variants , the chord progression is. Again, blues progressions have formed the entire harmonic basis of many recorded songs but may also be confined to a single section of a more elaborate form, as frequently with The Beatles in such songs as " You Can't Do That ", " I Feel Fine ", and " She's A Woman ".

Steedman proposed that a set of recursive rewrite rules generate all well-formed transformations of jazz, both basic blues chord changes and slightly modified sequences such as the " rhythm changes ". Important transformations include:. Another common way of extending the I—IV—V progression is by adding the chord of the sixth scale degree, giving the sequence I—vi—IV—V or I—vi—ii—V , sometimes called the 50s progression or doo-wop progression.


Any musician who composes or transcribes music or who plays accompaniment to a soloist will have a need to know what the chords are for the accompaniment . How to Harmonize Chords to Melody [Lawrence A Buckler] on * FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Buckler, Lawrence A.

This progression had been in use from the earliest days of classical music. Introducing the ii chord into these progressions emphasises their appeal as constituting elementary forms of circle progression.

These, named for the circle of fifths , consist of "adjacent roots in ascending fourth or descending fifth relationship"—for instance, the sequence vi—ii—V—I ascends with each successive chord to one a fourth above the previous. Such a motion, based upon close harmonic relations, offers "undoubtedly the most common and the strongest of all harmonic progressions".

This type of progression was much used by classical composers, who introduced increasingly subtle inflections. Particularly, substitution of major for minor chords giving, for example, I—VI—II—V allowed a more sophisticated chromaticism as well as the possibility of modulation. These harmonic conventions were taken up by American popular entertainers, giving rise to many variations on those harmonic staples of early jazz that have been dubbed the ragtime progression and the stomp progression.

All such progressions may be found used sectionally, as for example in the much-used " rhythm changes " of George Gershwin 's " I Got Rhythm ". As well as the cyclical underpinning of chords, the ear tends to respond well to a linear thread; chords following the scale upwards or downwards. These are often referred to as step progressions [ citation needed ] because they follow the steps of the scale, making the scale itself a bassline.

In the 17th century, descending bass lines found favour for "divisions on the ground", so that Pachelbel's canon , the Bach orchestral suites the famous Air on a G String [ citation needed ] , and Handel 's organ concerti all contain very similar harmonizations of the descending major scale. The descending chromatic scale has also formed the basis of many progressions, from the Crucifixus of Bach's Mass in B minor , [ citation needed ] through Beethoven's Thirty-two Piano Variations , [ citation needed ] to songs such as Bob Dylan's " Simple Twist of Fate ", [ citation needed ] George Harrison 's " Something ", [ citation needed ] and Lucio Battisti 's "Paradiso", [ citation needed ] a hit for Amen Corner when translated as " If Paradise Is Half as Nice ".

Harmonization of the melody with the various types of chord

The finale measures of the first movement of Ravel 's Piano Concerto in G feature the harmonization of a descending hybrid scale phrygo-major. Similar strategies to all the above, work equally well in minor modes : there have been one-, two- and three-minor-chord songs, minor blues. For example, if the major scale of C, which gives the three chords C, F and G on the first, fourth and fifth degrees, is played with G as the tonic, then the same chords will now appear on the first, fourth, and seventh degrees.

How to Harmonize Chords to Melody

These "Mixolydian" harmonies also appeared in the pop music of the s, notably with The Beatles' album Help! The minor-third step from a minor key up to the relative major encouraged ascending scale progressions, particularly based on an ascending pentatonic scale. According to Tom Sutcliffe: [17]. This created a new system of harmony that has influenced subsequent popular music.

This came about partly from the similarity of the blues scale to modal scales and partly from the characteristics of the guitar and the use of parallel major chords on the pentatonic minor scale. With barre chords on guitar, the same chord shape can be moved up and down the neck without changing the fingering. This phenomenon is also linked to the rise in the use of power chords in heavy metal music. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The chords shown are F major, G major, and C major.

See also: Three-chord song. A circle progression in C major.

Natural Harmonization (Part I)

So one exercise you could try is to start with a style in mind , and If you do the work of experimenting around, you'll probably come up with this: I V7 V7 I Happy birthday to you. You will need to make sure that some secondary chords are used in your harmonization. The ragtime progression E 7 -A 7 -D 7 -G 7 often appears in the bridge of jazz standards. To follow is a collection of disorganized thoughts on the topic. B is a third above G. Thus you get the notes G, B, and D.

The ragtime progression E 7 -A 7 -D 7 -G 7 often appears in the bridge of jazz standards. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. A typical Andalusian cadence por arriba i.

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Retrieved Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal. University of California Press. Archived from the original PDF on Chords marked. The Beatles Bible. Jazz Chord Progressions , p. Music: In Theory and Practice , Vol. Seventh Edition. Syntactic Structures in Music. Chord progressions. List of chord progressions.