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Old 02-02-2013, 01:46 PM   #1
AndreasBrown
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Making the melody of a song from the chords

I watched this video on YouTube:


I couldn't find the melody of the song in any tabs (specifically the 'Annie are you okay?' bit) so I thought I'd try tabbing it myself, but I'm having trouble.

The key of the song is C Major, and the chords in that specific part are F, G, Esus4, E and Am. What I tried was finding the notes in those chords, for example, in F there are F A C, and then find those notes in the C major scale to make up the melody, but I can't seem to get it. Am I doing something wrong, or is there a better way of doing it? Or do I just need to go though trial and error til I get the right notes?

Thanks
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:40 PM   #2
HotspurJr
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Melody can include non-chord tones. In fact, it usually does. Ignore the chords, just follow the melody.
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:50 PM   #3
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And how would I do that? Just keep trying until I hit the right note...?
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:12 PM   #4
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There is no right or wrong way to figure out the notes of a piece of music. Of course there is going to be some trial and error but you want to keep that to a minimum.

You're trying to use the chords as a means of finding the notes in the melody. The only reason why I wouldn't recommend it as a method of figuring out the notes is because the melody consist of both chord tones and non- chord tones.

Where did you find the key and chords to the song? The reason why I ask in the first place is because the key in this video is A# Minor. The "Annie are you okay" part is 1 bar of F#maj and another bar of F#maj for 2 beats then it goes to G#maj for 1.5 beats before resolving back to the F#maj on the "and" of the 4th beat.

In this case the melody doesn't always follow the chords.
"An-nie- are" is the 3rd of the chord.
"You" is the 7th which isn't included in a normal major chord.
O-kay" is the 6th back to the 3rd. A 6th isn't included in the chord either.

Point being, the melody consists of chord tones along with non-chord tones that can't always be figured out by analyzing the chords.

You need to train your ear to recognizing all the little melodic decorations in between the chord tones. Music theory in transcription is only a tool that will allow you to narrow down the note choices. Don't rely on music theory to figure the notes out for you because that is a task that should be left up to your ear.
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:51 PM   #5
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Does anyone actually know if there is a tab for this? I've seen quite a few covers of the song, so maybe they're getting a tab from somewhere...
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:59 PM   #6
HotspurJr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreasBrown
And how would I do that? Just keep trying until I hit the right note...?


In the short run, yes.

In the long run, develop your ear. This means doing what you're trying - lots of trial-and-error transcription - and using tools like the functional ear trainer from miles.be, which was the thing that unlocked being able to transcribe easily for me.

"Ear Training for the Contemporary Musician" by Wyatt et al is also a good resource. Essentially what you have to do is train your mind to be able to hear pitches more accurately.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:11 PM   #7
MattyBoy 1337
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What I'm interested in knowing is why you thought the key was C Major.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:01 PM   #8
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Use your ears. Maybe you'll have a hard time at first, but you can definitely get to the point where its really easy to guess and play around and figure something out.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattyBoy 1337
What I'm interested in knowing is why you thought the key was C Major.


I just googled 'what key is smooth criminal in' and it said C major. Probably not the best way to do it, but I was rushing and when I compared the key to the notes in the main riff it all seemed to fit. This cover may not be in C major, but the original seems to be... I'm not trying to get this cover exactly, it's just an example of what I'm trying to achieve.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:00 PM   #10
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Original;

Key Bb Minor

Verse: Bbm - F7/C - Db - F7/C - Bbm

The "Eddie" section: Gb - Ab - Gb - F7♯5

Here's my chord tabs for the inversion chord.
Code:
---------- -6-6-9--6-6 -6-8-10-8-6 -6-7-11-7-6 ---------- -6-8-9--8-6

Last edited by mdc : 02-02-2013 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:08 PM   #11
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The song is not in C major, it's in A minor. Or does it sound like major to you? Because to me it sounds clearly minor.

Listen to how it sounds like. What chord feels like the "home"? Does it sound like more minor ("sad") or major ("happy") (though this major = "happy" and minor = "sad" is almost complete BS)?

But the thing is, you need ear training. What I would do in your situation is just to find the first note in the melody. You can just guess it. There are only 12 different notes so the easy way is to hit all the notes until you find the right note. And you will hear when the note is right. Maybe also try to sing the melody and try to play it on guitar. It's easier to play on guitar when you can remember the melody and sing it. Then you remember the pitch of every note and can think in intervals: what's the interval between the first and second note, etc.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:14 PM   #12
mdc
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The song in the OP is the same as the original.

Bb Minor.

Edit: apologies, the original is in Am. Funny ears tonight. Just transcribe my tabs above down a semitone.

Edit: I mean "transpose" down. Lol, I must be tired!

Last edited by mdc : 02-02-2013 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdc
The song in the OP is the same as the original.

Bb Minor.

Edit: apologies, the original is in Am. Funny ears tonight. Just transcribe my tabs above down a semitone.

Edit: I mean "transpose" down. Lol, I must be tired!
This wouldn't happen if you'd stop trying to clean you ears with a capo....
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