Explore guitar accompaniment insights from my 38-year journey as a composer and artist. Addressing frustration…
Embark on a journey where chords and melody meet. Learn how chords enhance melodies with clarity. This hands-on approach helps you harmonize chords and melodies, master key changes, and create captivating compositions. Discover the magic of open and closed triads. Dive into the art of harmonizing, crafting mesmerizing grooves. Experience this musical fusion where chords and melodies unite to captivate listeners. This video unveils key concepts taught in all our guitar lessons and courses.
Are Your Chosen Chords Elevating Your Melody?
Today, we’re going to discuss selecting the appropriate chords for your composition. As songwriters, composers, or arrangers, we might sense that our song, whether performed live or recorded, could use a touch of enhancement.
This feeling might stem from factors such as performance, lyrics, structure, tempo, or groove. However, one of the key elements that truly defines a song’s essence is how the chosen chords harmonize with the melody. Are the chords we employ elevating the melody? Are they enhancing the quality of the vocal line?
Unlocking Harmonic Options: A Practical Approach
If in doubt, I suggest the following approach to comprehend our fundamental harmonic choices. This will eventually aid us in refining our understanding and conveying our intended message more effectively.
The initial objective is to grasp these fundamental harmonic choices by identifying the key and the chords at our disposal within any song. If you’re uncertain about the chords in a song, start by setting aside all the chords. Focus solely on the melody and follow these steps: Listen to the melody.
What is the Key?
So, as we listen to the melody, we’ll identify the key. Take a moment to change the camera angle so you can see me from the side. Now, from all the notes we’ve sung, let’s focus on the note that gives that sense of resolution – the one that feels like home.
Identify the note that serves as the resting point – the key note.
Now that we know the key and the song’s resting point, we can proceed to determine all the chords that revolve around this pivotal note.
Unlocking Chord Options for Composition
This approach opens up other options within the song and helps us establish a more consistent chord relationship. This, in turn, makes playing more enjoyable. We’ve established that the tonal center is C. Is it C major or C minor? Let’s start with a major chord. Yes, it’s major. Now, let’s try a minor chord.
However, that doesn’t fit quite right. Despite having an E natural in the melody, it suggests a C major chord. So, now that we know it’s a C and a major chord, we need to identify the specific type of major chord. We’re aware that major chords appear on the 1st, 4th, and 5th degrees of the scale.
How to Determine the Mode
So, the C major chord can actually be found in the C scale on the one. It can also be found in the G scale on the four: G, A, B, C. Furthermore, it is present in the F scale on the five: F, G, A, B, C. Now we need to consider and choose which one is the right fit.
How to Determine the Mode My suggestion is to play the melody and fill it in with the scale. Let’s start by discussing the melody with the C scale: Two, three, four. Does it sound correct? Now let’s try discussing it with the G scale, filling in the gaps: One, two, three, and four.
Next, let’s explore the final scale, the F scale. As we already know, the tonal center is C, and now we’ll examine that C within the context of the F scale: One, two, three.
This approach sounds better, really nice. So, I would conclude that this song revolves around the C note as the tonal center, and all the chords used to highlight that C come from the F scale. These are the chords we now have from the F scale