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harmony question

GUEST,FloraG 28 Feb 12 - 09:23 AM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Feb 12 - 09:44 AM
Tootler 28 Feb 12 - 09:44 AM
Jack Campin 28 Feb 12 - 09:45 AM
Will Fly 28 Feb 12 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,999 28 Feb 12 - 09:50 AM
Will Fly 28 Feb 12 - 09:50 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 28 Feb 12 - 10:32 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 28 Feb 12 - 10:34 AM
Jeri 28 Feb 12 - 10:55 AM
Marje 28 Feb 12 - 12:26 PM
GUEST 28 Feb 12 - 01:37 PM
GUEST,Mike Mandaville 28 Feb 12 - 01:38 PM
Don Firth 28 Feb 12 - 02:53 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 28 Feb 12 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,FloraG 29 Feb 12 - 05:11 AM
The Sandman 29 Feb 12 - 08:05 AM
Tootler 29 Feb 12 - 10:03 AM
GUEST,FloraG 29 Feb 12 - 10:48 AM
Marje 29 Feb 12 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,FloraG 01 Mar 12 - 04:04 AM
Marje 01 Mar 12 - 05:47 AM
Tootler 01 Mar 12 - 07:35 PM
GUEST 01 Mar 12 - 08:05 PM
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Subject: harmony question
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 09:23 AM

If you decide to play a harmony line 3 notes above a tune in G, what note do you play if the chord turns to d when the tune note is A. Should it be c or C sharp?


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 09:44 AM

I'm not sure what you mean exactly by "a harmony line three notes above", because a C (or C#) is only two notes above an A.

In any case, a C# is unlikely because C# doesn't occur in the scale of G. I think you will want to use a D note.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Tootler
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 09:44 AM

It very much depends on context. If you want to stick strictly to key of G, then C is suggested. If you simply have two lines a third apart then either could work and your ear should tell you which is better in the circumstances. You do need to consider what is happening before and after and how the two lines work horizontally as well as vertically.

If you have other things going on then you may find you get a nasty clash if there is a D in another part and it will be much worse with a C#. If you have other instruments playing and there is a D chord, I would be inclined to play a D over the A rather than a C or C# unless the clash gives an effect you want.

I quite often add harmony lines by first transposing up or down a third or sixth, then going through and making changes to suit the key of the piece. While playing or singing in thirds generally sounds OK, varying the interval generally makes for more a more interesting/pleasing harmony overall.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 09:45 AM

Probably C because what you've got is a D7 chord.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 09:50 AM

Well, a bit of chord theory helps. The major triad (1st, 3rd 5th) of any scale forms the major. So G major uses notes G, B and D in ascending order. D major uses D, F# and A in ascending order.

So, if your tune note is A when the accompanying chord is A, your possible harmonies are A or F#. On the other hand, if you want your accompanying chord to be D7th - i.e. D major with an added flattened 7th note - C natural above the A would do nicely.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: GUEST,999
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 09:50 AM

Post the notes (names of the notes) of the melody line a few bars before and after to give us an idea of the melody, svp, and also, what kind of music is it? May be different in jazz, or rock, or folk, etc.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 09:50 AM

Jack - we crossed! Great minds...


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 10:32 AM

If it's a secondary dominant (which A would be the root of) and leads to a straight D chord, then you would want C#. I say this because a D chord (unless it's D7 as Jack said) doesn't have any C in it. If A is the bottom note of a D chord, that makes it a 2nd inversion (very unfinished-sounding and begging for resolution) so the use of an A-major chord immediately preceding or following it is a very common pattern; and in that case you would probably want the C#. (A minor to D is nice in certain melodies too, though...)

Agree with the others, we really need to know more info!


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 10:34 AM

Is this a tune people are likely to be familiar with? Can you give us a title for it?


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 10:55 AM

A c# might work (making a D7th chord), depending on the tune. The safe way to go, if you're not sure, is up to a D.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Marje
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 12:26 PM

If you mean that your harmony line is a third above the tune (i.e. two notes, not three), this will only work some of the time. Other times you'll need to change the interval to, say, a fourth for it to sound right. As the first reply suggests, a D note is probably a better option than C or C# if the chord (implied or played) is D.

I think you're a melodeon player, Flora? In which case, listen to the notes that sound when you play the appropriate left-hand chord, and any of those notes will probably sound right in a harmony line.

Don't expect to get to the bottom of this just by applying technical rules - you need to know where the melody has come from and where it's going next, not just what the note is. Listen to each note in context, and and to the shape of the tune, and learn to trust your instinct as to which are the best harmony notes.

Marje


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 01:37 PM

"If you decide to play a harmony line 3 notes above a tune in G, what note do you play if the chord turns to d when the tune note is A. Should it be c or C sharp?"

Assuming you want a D7 and not a Dmaj7, the note will be a C.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: GUEST,Mike Mandaville
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 01:38 PM

When I compose a song, I always do so in the key of c, for the simple reason that the key of c is always given preeminence by musical keyboard makers. In other words, I find it easier to write songs in the key of c than in any other key. Then, when I sing the song, I move the song into whatever key happens to be the most comfortable one for me to sing it in at the time. This saves me a lot if theory headaches.

On the other hand, if you, Flora, are playing a keyboard harmonica, then there might not be room on the instrument for you to move the tune into the key of c without jumping octaves.

The scale of triads should give you the note, but your own ear is your best guide.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 02:53 PM

The C natural above the A implies an Am chord (A C E), even though the E, in this case, is missing. This is consistent with the key of G major, because the sequence of chords built on the G major scale is G major, A minor, B minor, C major, D major, E minor, F# diminished, and back to G major again.

(The F# diminished triad is actually contained within a D7th chord, so you don't really have to worry about it.)

In this case, the C natural is harmonically correct. But as one of my music theory professors said, "First, you learn the strict rules of harmony. Then, whenever you break those rules, be sure you know why you are breaking them." I would not use a C# in that position unless I had a particular reason for doing so.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 28 Feb 12 - 03:16 PM

>the chord turns to d when the tune note is A

I read this as being some form of D chord...? (My C# suggestion above referred to a possible secondary dominant.) Hope Flora will come back with further explanation!

My professors used to constantly intone that Bach (& Co) were allowed to break the rules, citing the same reasoning; but one of them seemed to take a particular sadistic delight in reminding us of our inferiority. As if we needed to be told.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 05:11 AM

Thanks for all the help so far.

I plan to use Uncle Bernard as the basis for a workshop about simple ideas to add variety to a piece of band music ( real basic stuff like play loud/soft / octave higher/ arpeggio to accompany). In fact its a d7 so from what I've gathered a c natural would be best.   I tend to play melody instruments so I can sugggest lots of twidly bits to do with the melody, but my harmony knowledge is minimal so I thought just doing it a third above would be one of the simplest ideas.
FloraG


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 08:05 AM

no thirds above are ok to start, but its predictable, sixths below area bit better but still predictable.Iremebe asking loiusa killen what was the first song you accompanied on concertina he said" jug of punch with sixths all the way through.
my advice is first work out the chords, then using the chords as a guide., try and avoid similiar motion if you can,even going in a straight line while the melody is going up is better, but try and work in some opposite motion if you can or if not play the same note, for example if the melody was in the key of gmajor and went gbd, try ggg or g, down to d, up to g, but you have tpo also mess about using your ear


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Tootler
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 10:03 AM

Some good advice from GSS.

To add to it; A third above and a sixth below will give the same notes but an octave apart. A danger with a harmony line above the melody in pitch is that the melody line can get lost because we tend to hear the top line, so below is better, at least to start with. A third below will also work but, again bear the point made by GSS about avoiding continuous parallel motion and try to work in some contrary motion.
You also need to bear in mind the range of the instruments you are writing for.

If you do want a harmony line above the main melody, then you need to give it to an instrument capable of playing quietly or tell the singer to sing quietly or only use it for a limited time. In hymn singing a descant is a harmony line pitched above the main melody and I am sure you will have noticed that it is usually used for just one verse as it provides some variety towards the end of a number of musically identical verses.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 10:48 AM

Thanks again.

I don't want to write out anything. They have the basic notes. I just want to suggest that you don't always have to play them. This will be a wide ranging session looking at what you can do with a tune other than play as writ( after we have all managed to do thaT). I am hoping the end result will be more inventive playing.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Marje
Date: 29 Feb 12 - 11:18 AM

In that case a useful tip is to try repeating notes rather than always seeking a new one or following the melody. Simply sticking to one note -say, the key note or the fifth of the scale - for a bar or two is often just what's needed to provide a supporting harmony for the tune, and is easier for players who are not very confident or proficient.

Marje


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 01 Mar 12 - 04:04 AM

Thanks Marje. I was thinking of making that one of the variations every second bar as the tune lends itself to that. The players in the past have been a great mix, from those who have never played in public to those who play regularly, but they do tend to play from the dots rather than by ear.
I am thinking a workshop is a bit like a cookery book. If you pick up one good recepe then its worth it.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Marje
Date: 01 Mar 12 - 05:47 AM

Absolutely - one good, relevant tip makes a workshop worthwhile. And most people aren't capable of taking in any more than about three new tips or bits of information at a sitting, so it's not helpful to load too much content into one session - or if there is a lot of new stuff, it's helpful to sum up the main (three or four) points at the end.

Good luck!

Marje


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: Tootler
Date: 01 Mar 12 - 07:35 PM

Another thought,

If you do want to do a harmony pitched above the main tune, then play long notes. It tends not to dominate. Playing a note from the current chord over a whole bar is often quite effective. I've done that with my flute in the past accompanying a singer and it can be very effective.


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Subject: RE: harmony question
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Mar 12 - 08:05 PM

Well said, Marje, a worth repeating:

"most people aren't capable of taking in any more than about three new tips or bits of information at a sitting, so it's not helpful to load too much content into one session "


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