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Author Topic: How do you know chords within the melody?  (Read 9575 times)

Offline Warrior4Christ

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« on: December 16, 2005, 08:37:57 PM »
What I am trying to learn and find out is what chords go with the melody notes. If I know a song and the key and can play the melody how will I know what chords to play with the melody notes.

Example from my Jazz book:

Silent Night in the key of C.

First 4 notes are.....G-A-G-E
For the first note G they are playing a Cmaj7 then A-G single notes but then on the next note E it is a B-7. How do you know that that sigle note of E will be a B-7 and so on throughout a song. I want to learn how to apply chords to single notes of the melody and don't know where to begin. Can someone please help?

Offline playhear

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2005, 12:00:42 PM »
The melody note is usually in the chord. The "correct" chord is also dependent on the surrounding notes and chords. With experience, your efficiency at picking the “correct” chords increases.

Offline sjonathan02

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2005, 01:52:56 PM »
I'm in your same boat, Warrior. I think it also depends on what type of sound you want. And, I think that means having an ear developed enough to understand what chord makes what kind of sound. So, even in using your example, play the melody with your right hand and find "correct chords" that you can fill in the middle.

now, I am just beginning to understand that there are various chords that sound good with a melody, even though the melody note isn't in the chord case in point: using that B7 with the 'E' in the melody, but I am pretty sure that that B7 chord is being used as a passing chord either

a. to get to the actual "correct chord" OR
b. as the beginning of a chord progression that gets you to the "correct chord"


but, I may be wrong. Anyone else have a thought?

Hope this helps a little...or a lot actually,
Jonathan
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Offline T-Block

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2005, 03:15:56 PM »
Usually the melody note is the at the top of a chord.  If not, then as playhear said, it is found somewhere in the chord.  As far as knowing what chord goes with each melody note, it depends on what key you in.  I would suggest not using only the melody note to come up with chords.  Try adding a bass note to it and it should get easier.  Once you got a melody note and a bass note, usally all u need is just one more note and u got a chord.  Also, you don't need a chord with every melody note.  Some melody notes are used as passing notes.  Example using your Silent Night melody notes:

Melody notes

G Si-
A i-
G lent
E night

Melody notes w/added bass note

C / G Si-
/ A (passing note) i-
/ G (passing note) lent
C / E night

Melody notes, bass note, missing note

C / E-G Si-
/ A (passing note) i-
/ G (passing note) lent
C / G-E night

Melody notes, bass note, missing note, chord

C / C-E-G Si-
/ A (passing note) i-
/ G (passing note) lent
C / G-C-E night

You see that?  It is just that simple.  Notice that here the A and the G in the middle are used as passing tones and the G and the E are used for the chord.  Also, your melody note stays at the top.  Here is the complete song using this technique:

"Silent Night"
Key of C  LH/RH

C / C-E-G Si-
/ A (passing note) i-
/ G (passing note) lent
C / G-C-E night
G /
C / C-E-G Ho-
/ A (passing note) o-
/ G (passing note) ly
C / G-C-E night
D /
G / G-B-D All
/ D (passing note) is
G / D-G-B calm
C / E-G-C All
/ C (passing note) is
C / C-E-G bright
F / C-F-A Round
/ A (passing note) young
F / F-A-C vir-
/ B (passing note) ir-
/ A (passing note) gin
C / C-E-G Mo-
/ A (passing note) ther-
/ G (passing note) and
C / G-C-E child
F / C-F-A Ho-
/ A (passing note) ly
F / F-A-C in-
/ B (passing note) fant
/ A (passing note) so
C / C-E-G Me-
/ A (passing note) ek-
/ G (passing note) and
C / G-C-E mild
G / G-B-D Sleep
/ D (passing note) in
G / G-B-D-F Hea-
/ D (passing note) ven-
/ B (passing note) ly
C / E-G-C pea-
C / G-C-E eace
C / E-G-C Sle-
/ G (passing note) eep
/ E (passing note) in
G / B-D-G Hea-
/ F (passing note) ven-
/ F-G-B-D ly
C / E-G-C peace

I'm not sure about all the words being right, but does this help you get a more clearer understanding Warrior4Christ?  If not, I will try to break it down so more for you.
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Offline playhear

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2005, 03:27:09 PM »
T-Block, that post was completely awesome, wow!!!

In an odd way, you may have broken it down too much. To beginners trying to learn how to apply chords to melodies, realize that T-Block’s post is merely one of many arrangements for playing Silent Night. It would be more important to master the first paragraph of T-Block’s post, than to memorize that particular arrangement. Doing so would allow you to apply those general rules to an infinite amount of melodies on your own!

Offline T-Block

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2005, 04:18:18 PM »
playhear wrote:
Quote
In an odd way, you may have broken it down too much.


I understand what u mean by that playhear.  I do that a lot, cuz I just want it to be so clear a baby could do it.
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Offline sjonathan02

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2005, 04:42:19 PM »
Alright gentlemen two things,

1. Are you saying that what I posted was absolutely wrong?
2. T-Block this is the basic chording for this song, right? Right. Soooo, how does one incorporate all of the nuances to make this song sound, for lack of a better term, fuller?

For example, passing chords, 2-5-1, SUBSTITUTIONS tri-tone or otherwise.


I'm out, I'll get your answer tomorrow.

Be Blessed and thanks,
Jonathan
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Offline T-Block

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2005, 10:34:04 AM »
sjonathan02 wrote:
Quote
now, I am just beginning to understand that there are various chords that sound good with a melody, even though the melody note isn't in the chord case in point: using that B7 with the 'E' in the melody, but I am pretty sure that that B7 chord is being used as a passing chord either

a. to get to the actual "correct chord" OR
b. as the beginning of a chord progression that gets you to the "correct chord"

1. Are you saying that what I posted was absolutely wrong?


No, what u posted was correct.  I understand completely what u said. I was just giving an explanation based on the original question  Also, I tried playing that B7 chord with an E in the melody, and it did not sound good at all.  I think that was either a misprint, or it was read wrong from the book cuz that makes no sense and it sounds terrible.  So, if you gonna use a chord as a passing chord, make sure it either makes sense and/or sounds good.  99% of the time, the melody note will be found somewhere in the chord.  I can't think of an instance where that doesn't happen, but that don't mean it's not possible, cuz anything's possible in music.

Quote
2. T-Block this is the basic chording for this song, right? Right. Soooo, how does one incorporate all of the nuances to make this song sound, for lack of a better term, fuller?

For example, passing chords, 2-5-1, SUBSTITUTIONS tri-tone or otherwise.


The way to make those chords sound fuller, all u have to do is double more of your chord members.  So, if you have a C major chord, to make it sound fuller just play more C's, E's, and G's.  Example:

C / C-E-G (basic)
C-C / C-E-G
C-C / G-C-E-G
C-G-C / G-C-E-G (full)

Now, in order to add in progressions, you go to know where you are and where you going.  If you on a 1 and you going straight to a 5 then to a 1, then add in a 2 for 2-5-1 progression.  And, if you repeating a chord, then do a little bass run.  Before you do that, take a song and write down what u have in number format.  Here it is for Silent Night:

1 Silent night
1 Holy night
5 All is calm
1 All is bright
4 Round young virgin
1 Mother and child
4 Holy infant so
1 Tender and mild
5 Sleep in Heavenly
1 Peace
1 Sleep in
5 Heavenly
1 Peace

Between "Silent night" and "Holy night" you can do a little bass run:

1 Silent night
bass run
1 Holy night

Between "Holy night" and "All is calm" you can add a 2 passing chord:

1 Holy night
2 (passing chord)
5 All is calm

Between "All is bright" and "Round yound virgin" you can do a whole lot of stuff:

1 All is bright
2 (passing)
3 (passing)
4 Round young virgin

So, let's incorporate everything I got above:

1 Silent night
bass run
1 Holy night
1 Holy night
2 (passing chord)
5 All is calm
1 All is bright
2 (passing)
3 (passing)
4 Round young virgin

C / C-E-G Si-
/ A (passing note) i-
/ G (passing note) lent
C / G-C-E night
G, A, B / (added bass run)
C / C-E-G Ho-
/ A (passing note) o-
/ G (passing note) ly
C / G-C-E night
D / F#-A-C-E (added 2 passing chord)
G / G-B-D All
/ D (passing note) is
G / D-G-B calm
C / E-G-C All
/ C (passing note) is
C / C-E-G bright
D / Bb-D-F (added passing chord)
E / C-E-G (added passing chord)

F / C-F-A Round

See, it's little stuff like that makes a song come alive.  How do u learn that? Well, I learned by listening to CD's and taking stuff from one song and applying to other songs.  It's all in your how developed your ears are.
When I listen to a song, I can hear stuff that should be there or that I would play that isn't being played (I don't know if that makes sense or not).  It takes time, but one day you'll get there!!!
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Offline sjonathan02

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2005, 11:10:07 AM »
Now, this is what a theory forum is supposed to be. Fantastic overlay, T-Block, I'm awed not just by your skills, but by your ability to teach said skills.

Now, if I may pull on you a bit further, how does one incorporate those pesky tri-tone subs (using our example of course)?

this is really awesome, my brother. You really do break it down for a baby to understand. I think I'll go take my Similac, and get to a keyboard.  :lol:

Jonathan


Ps. May God continue to increase your wisdom, mightily in all that you do.
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Offline T-Block

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2005, 02:09:37 PM »
Now, I'm not an expert on using tri-tone subs, but I can show u where u can put some tri-tones using "Silent Night":

Quote
C / C-E-G Si-
/ A (passing note) i-
/ G (passing note) lent
C / G-C-E night
G, A, B / (added bass run)
C / C-E-G Ho-
/ A (passing note) o-
/ G (passing note) ly
C / G-C-E night
D / F#-A-C-E (added 2 passing chord)
G / G-B-D All
/ D (passing note) is
G / D-G-B calm
C / E-G-C All


Instead of playing that 2 passing chord, you can play some tri-tones like this:

C / C-E-G Ho-
/ A (passing note) o-
/ G (passing note) ly
C / G-C-E night
F / D#-A (tri-tone passing chord)
F# / E-A# (tri-tone passing chord)

G / F-B-D All

Tri-tones can be found in Dominant 7th chords.  Look at the last chord,
G / F-B-D.  The chord is a G7 chord, and the tri-tone is F-B.  What I did was I took the tri-tone and the bass note out of the chord, then played it backward to come up with how it could be used as passing chords.  Does that make sense?  Tri-tones don't really sound good just anywhere, the only time I really use tri-tones is when I am playing preaching chords and shouting chords.  If my explanation isn't clear enough, then maybe some other experts can help you.  I don't claim to know all, but what I do know, I know it well.
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Offline sjonathan02

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2005, 06:56:57 AM »
Well, I appreciate your explanation. And, I definitely believe that tri-tones can't go everywhere. I'm trying to get my ears used to hearing them, and I think that'll help get used to using them.

For instance, when you said that you mainly use them in preaching chords, I could hear that while trying to play them in our example. Now, here's what I think is an interesting, albeit odd, question...can Tri-tones sound warmer?

While using this last example, the use of the tri-tones sounded jarring to me, so I don't know that I would use them in a song like this one, thus my question.

anyway, I'm going back to practice.

thanks, again

Jonathan
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Offline T-Block

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2005, 10:12:39 AM »
In my experience playing and hearing them, I honestly don't think tri-tones can sound any warmer cuz that interval of an augmented 4th or diminished 5th is supposed to sound "ugly" and jump out at you.
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Offline sjonathan02

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2005, 11:16:35 AM »
Quote from: T-Block
In my experience playing and hearing them, I honestly don't think tri-tones can sound any warmer cuz that interval of an augmented 4th or diminished 5th is supposed to sound "ugly" and jump out at you.


Ok, then. Thanks for the response.
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Offline insanesquirle

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How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2005, 09:59:14 PM »
if your trying to develope your ear, the way i learned was by sitting through about 10 services with someone who already has a developed ear, and watching them, once youve watched them long enough youll get it... its funny because i have a better ear than the person who i watched... lol maybe im just more musicaly inclined...

Offline T-Block

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Re: How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2009, 08:12:11 AM »
*bump*

I think this thread is full of some valubable information. ;) :D
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Offline SisterCM

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Re: How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2009, 08:25:22 AM »
*bump*

I think this thread is full of some valubable information. ;) :D

I was searching for help on how to make the hymns that I am learning to play sound fuller, and behold here it is.  Thanks.
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Offline Blessingss

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Re: How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2011, 02:29:54 AM »
Shoot, why didn't I read this before I asked this:

Guys you re really amazing, may the Lord enlarge your teritories

Let me spread the challenge a little bit: In my playing I have a 'bad' habit of playing-most of the time my far right finger following the melody and realise this limits me somehow. Can you guys help me improvise get out of this boundery, for example I would play TD Jakes' "Your Majesty" in Ab basically as:
 
F/ Db-Eb-F-Ab   I
G/ Eb-F-G-Bb    Wor
Ab/ Eb-Ab-C     ship
Db/ Ab-Db-F     you
   /Bb-Eb-G
   /Ab-Db-G
F/ Db-Eb-F-Ab  in the
G/ Eb-F-G-Bb    beauty
Ab/ Eb-Ab-C     o
Bb/F-Bb-Db      of
C/ Ab-C-Eb      ho-
  / F-Bb-Db      o
  / Eb-Ab-C     ly
F/ Db-F-ab     ne
G/ Eb-G-Bb     e
A/ Eb-Gb-A-C  e
Bb/F-Bb-Db   ss

Bb/F-Bb-Db    you are   
C/ Eb-Ab-C    Ro
D/ D-F-Ab     yal
Eb/ Eb-G-Bb   ty
Eb/ Eb-G-Bb   So
F/ Eb-G-Ab-C  I
A/Eb-Gb-A-C   
Bb/ F-Bb-Db   Crown you
C/ Eb-Ab-C    King
D/ D-F-Ab      of
Eb/ Eb-F-G-Bb   Kings

Db/ C-Eb-Ab      Your
Db/ Bb-Eb-G       Ma
    /Ab               Je
Db/ Ab-Db-F       sty

Hope You've got the idea, so please you can may be start by showing me how you would play the song & then give me other tips on the subject.

Thank you again

Seriously this post is very awesome, you know this is my greatest battle ever in music and it's actually caused by the fact that for a long time since I had no music class, I played-what-the-singer-sang.

Thank God for this post, it's a great boost and I'm sure this area is the biggest wall to my music break through.
Worship

Offline floaded27

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Re: How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2011, 10:29:44 AM »
Shoot, why didn't I read this before I asked this:

Seriously this post is very awesome, you know this is my greatest battle ever in music and it's actually caused by the fact that for a long time since I had no music class, I played-what-the-singer-sang.

Thank God for this post, it's a great boost and I'm sure this area is the biggest wall to my music break through.

my organist does that (plays whatever the singer sings) and its blasted annoying. i mean he tries to chord EVERY SYLLABLE!!!!!! #1 it gives you no dynamic expression #2 it gives the singer no freedom.

The trick is to hear the root of the chord (im a bass player, so maybe this comes easier for me because its what i do) and where the chords actually change (they dont change on every syllable, there are key points and those are where your chord progressions happen). Once you do that, you can fill in the chords either with basic triads or larger fuller chords, paying attention to 3rd (determines major or minor) and the 7th. Once you hit those chords at the point of the chord changes, you have freedom to stay there or explore other chords, possibly leading to the next one. Thats space (plus the chords you choose) are your adventure to developing your style. And the possibilities are nearly limitless. (Caution, dont OVERplay. not good.)
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Offline T-Block

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Re: How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2011, 04:51:52 PM »
my organist does that (plays whatever the singer sings) and its blasted annoying. i mean he tries to chord EVERY SYLLABLE!!!!!! #1 it gives you no dynamic expression #2 it gives the singer no freedom.

AMEN. When I start out a song, I will use some melody. But when the singer comes in, I try my best to avoid the melody. I will hit it every now and then, but then I'm gone creating some other sounds.
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Re: How do you know chords within the melody?
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2011, 06:21:36 PM »
I don't know where I was when this thread was posted but thanks for bringing it back so I can see it now! WOW, this is great stuff!! I gots to find my way to Florida so I can hear mama T-block sang and preach....and faint while watching T-block play ;D #thatisall4now
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