Composing Using Chords & Harmony

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    11-Dec-2015

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How To Make Chords More Interesting

Composing techniquesThere are SO MANY:

Chord progressions The use of pedal notes/drones Balanced phrases within melodic writing The use of riffs and ostinatos The use of dotted rhythms, triplets and syncopation Tonality: major / minor / modal / pentatonic Techniques specific to a musical period or style, i.e. Club Dance, Waltz Sequence Imitation Call and response Modulation Use of major, minor and dominant seventh.Intended OutcomesutcomesALL MUST: Understand what the PRIMARY and SECONDARY chords are

SOME SHOULD: Understand how to compose a chord progression using PRIMARY and SECONDARY chords

SOME COULD: Understand how to harmonise a melody with appropriate PRIMARY and SECONDARY chords.Chords & HarmonyYou can either START with a set of chords and write your melody afterwards

OR.

Write your melody and ADD your chords afterwardsStarting with chords and adding a melody afterwards.Decide on a key or scale (notes you will use in your piece).Assume we choose C major for this. It uses all the white notes from C C.

C D E F G A B C

2. Work out what the chords are for each note of the scale.

C D E F G A B C E F G A B C D G A B C D E F

Starting with chords and adding a melody afterwards.3. Find the PRIMARY chords (chords 1, 4 & 5)

C D E F G A B C E F G A B C D G A B C D E F These are usually always MAJOR chords (in a major key)Starting with chords and adding a melody afterwards.6

4. Find the SECONDARY chords (chords 2, 3 & 6)

C D E F G A B C E F G A B C D G A B C D E F These are usually always MINOR chords (in a major key) and they add SPICE AND FLAVOUR!Starting with chords and adding a melody afterwards.75. Create a set of chords (4 is a good number) from these

C D E F G A E F G A B C G A B C D E

C DmEmFGAm Starting with chords and adding a melody afterwards.85. Use the notes in the chords to create a simple melody which changes with the chords.

C E F G E G AB G B C D

C EmFG Starting with chords and adding a melody afterwards.95. Create a set of chords (4 is a good number) from these

C E F G E G AB G B C D

C EmFG Starting with chords and adding a melody afterwards.10Starting with a MELODY and adding chords afterwardsMake sure your melody has a key and you have used notes from the key to compose your melody

We will assume you have used C major for this all the white notes from C C.Starting with a MELODY and adding chords afterwardsWrite your melody, making sure it starts and ends on the tonic (first note of the key):

C G A F G A B C E C D B C C Starting with a MELODY and adding chords afterwards2. Check what the PRIMARY and SECONDARY chords are for your key:

Starting with a MELODY and adding chords afterwards3. Look at the notes of your melody and match them with the notes of your chords. Play them to check they fit together.

C G A F G A B C E C D B C C

Starting with a MELODY and adding chords afterwards

C G A F G A B C E C D B C C

15How To Make Chords More InterestingAnd Impress The Examiner

Basic ChordsHere are the chords added to the melody

C chord =C E GG chord =G B DF chord =F A CG7 chord =G B D F

Varying the accompanimentInstead of chords try creating a single note bass-line

This is a good idea to use but on its own it is very boringTry using it at the same time as another accompanimentTry varying the rhythm

Bass lineTry using the other notes of the chords to vary your single note bass-line

E.g. C chord is made up of the notes C E and G

C chord = notes C E GG chord =G B DF chord =F A CG chord =G B DF= F A CG= GBDFC chord =C E G

Developing the basic chordsOnce you have worked out the basic chords there are many ways of changing them to make them more interesting

Broken ChordsBreak up the chords so that the notes are played one at a time instead of all at once

Try breaking them up in different directions- ascending and descending

AscendingDescending

Chord InversionsIf you like the sound of block chords try varying the order of the notes to make them more interesting

GECECGCGEECGCGECECGCECGDBGGDBCAFFCADBGGDBCAFFDBG

Varying the RhythmDotted rhythms make the accompaniment more interesting

Because the rhythm of the melody is different to the rhythm of the accompaniment we call this a cross-rhythm

Pedal NoteA long, low, sustained note is called a pedal note

Try adding a pedal note underneath the chords

Arranging chords and a pedal note on one staveCondensing the pedal note onto the same stave as the chords look like this

Altering the rhythmTry changing the rhythm of the accompaniment to triplets

This creates more cross-rhythms

Changing the broken chords

If you change the broken chords to semiquaver (quarter) notes the accompaniment sounds much busier and more detail can be added to them

Try varying the direction of the notes (ascending, descending, mixed)AscendingDescendingMixedSemiquaver AccompanimentHere is an example of a semiquaver accompaniment using ascending, descending and mixed patterns

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