#1
A noob question, if you are for example singing a verse or a line in an A chord, should you only sing in A, E and C#? So then if you hit a F# the chord changes? Thanks!
#2
Well, not really. You "can" sing those notes if you wish, at least you'll know they'll be ok with the chord being played.

Otherwise, you should pay attention to the actual melody line of the vocals. They usually follow a major or minor scale, and commonly you'll harmonise in 3rds or 5ths to that line.
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#3
I disagree with "and commonly you'll harmonise in 3rds or 5ths to that line."
That would give very few possibilities. Of course I'd rather stick with the chords that are played, but in my opinion it adds a lot of colour to melodies if they are not only arpeggios.
Chords are used to harmonise the melodie, and not the other way around
#4
Quote by rolandgunner
I disagree with "and commonly you'll harmonise in 3rds or 5ths to that line."
That would give very few possibilities. Of course I'd rather stick with the chords that are played, but in my opinion it adds a lot of colour to melodies if they are not only arpeggios.
Chords are used to harmonise the melodie, and not the other way around


So you would say it's uncommon to harmonise in 3rds or 5ths? I thought those sorts of melodies were pretty standard personally.

As for the rest of your post, I'm not sure whether you read my answer correctly. I was talking about harmonising with the melody line, not the chords.
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#5
Maybe I misunderstood the question, but when four voices play A, E, C# and F# together, the choir is singing a seventh chord, most likely the III7 in D major. Without the F# they were singing a regular V chord in that same key.

Now, to be honnest, I don't know much about seventh chords other than the dominants (yet). Maybe something else may be going on. They could be in another key singing augmented or diminished sevenths.

But in my opinion, yes, the chord has changed from A to F#7.
#6
There is such a thing as passing tones.

Passing tones are notes that are between chord tones. For example, if you were singing an A major scale (from A to A) over an A major chord (which you can, by all means, do), the A C# and E would be the chord tones and the B D F# and G# would be passing tones. They transition from chord tone to chord tone.

Now, what happens when you hold out one of these non-chord tones? Well, it no longer acts as a passing tone, as it doesn't lead to and from chord tones. In this case it can either take the shape of an extra chord tone, OR it could simply be a tension. Say you perform the example given above, except instead of resolving to the A, you hold out the G#. If you never resolve back to the A, the chord then takes the shape of an Amaj7 chord. However, if you hold the G# out, but resolve it at any time before the chord changes, it functions as a tension, rather than a chord tone (this is because it just delays the resolution). Now there are plenty of other examples, a lot of different notes are used for tension in melody, but this is one example.
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#7
Quote by food1010
There is such a thing as passing tones.
Shouldn't the passing tone replace one of the tones, and move from and to chord tones by seconds? F# is too removed from A, E or C# to fit the bill.

Either way, OP gave us too little info to be sure. We need the next chord. But I thought the chords I came up with fit neatly within D major.
#9
Quote by Withakay
Shouldn't the passing tone replace one of the tones, and move from and to chord tones by seconds? F# is too removed from A, E or C# to fit the bill.
E to F# is a second. Plus you can have a string of passing tones. It doesn't have to be just one. In my example, you could consider F# and G# to function together as passing tones from E to A.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#10
Quote by food1010
E to F# is a second.
Uh... right. How did I miss that???

But still, would the E-singers not stop and sing F#?
Plus you can have a string of passing tones. It doesn't have to be just one. In my example, you could consider F# and G# to function together as passing tones from E to A.
Absolutely, but that's more speculation. They could be singing trills on every note for all we know.
#11
If I am thinking correctly, you're asking if you're bass chord is A major, and you sing an F# over it, it's still core of A major. The F# is part of the melody and is normally not exactly associated with the chord. If you did want to include it, I believe its called Shell Chords, being the chord all notes functioning at the time are a chord. In that case, then you could consider it an Amaj with the F#, which makes it an Amajadd13. The chord is still going to be some form of A, seeing as it should be functioning as such. Playing a melody note over it shouldn't alter the chords base name. know what I'm sayin?
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#12
Quote by Zinnie
In that case, then you could consider it an Amaj with the F#, which makes it an Amajadd13.

Or AM6 ;]

You can sing whatever you want over the chords. It doesn't matter what you DO sing. If the F# is on a stressed beat, or is held for a long time, then I would consider it a chord change. If it is neither on a stressed beat nor held for awhile, then I would just consider it a passing tone. Remember, placement in the melody, accent and function all dictate whether a chord will change or not.

A good melody has not only arpeggios, but bigger skips than that, as well as step-wise motion.