#1
Hello everyone.

I'm posting here because I'm having some trouble coming up with the difference between a chord and harmony.

Is it necessary for notes to be struck simultaneously in order for it to be considered a chord?

For example, if I had one note that sustained forever and then I added a second note over it one bar later could that be still considered a chord? The two notes didn't occur simultaneously but it's still two notes that are being played at the same time.

I'm beginning to believe that their is a difference between a chord and harmony. If chords must be played simultaneously then does that get rid of the possibility for any two notes to be considered a chord if they aren't struck at the same time? If this is the case then would harmony be the appropriate term?
Last edited by dannydawiz at Jan 25, 2014,
#3
You're way overthinking it.

A chord is when two or more notes sound at the same time (not literally, they just sound together at some point). In practice, arpeggios and broken chords can be looked at as chords as well.

Harmony is the use of chords (although the term "a harmony" can be used interchangeably with "a chord").
#4
I see. The notes don't necessarily have to be struck at the same time. As long as they are being played at the same time they can be considered a chord.

Harmony is made up of chords and chords make up harmony.

Harmony seems to be much broader while chords are more specific.

I'm satisfied with my conclusion. Thank you guys.
#6
Quote by dannydawiz
For example, if I had one note that sustained forever and then I added a second note over it one bar later could that be still considered a chord? The two notes didn't occur simultaneously but it's still two notes that are being played at the same time.


This is called an arpeggio or 'broken chord' as it's often known.

To keep it brief, every chord is a harmony but not every harmony is a chord.
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#7
Um...can we use different instruments as the distinction? If some one plays an C on guitar while some one is playing a G on a piano, and another person is playing an E on a flute, they are in harmony. If a person is playing a CGE on a guitar, he/she is playing a chord.

I can see where ultimately, you can have harmony by a soloist, when that person plays multilple "voices" simultaneously on the instrument (voices in the sense of a distinct melodic phrase). If you get into playing multiple voices simultaneously on the same instrument, they can overlap in a way that appears, or will sound, as a chord in that moment of overlap, but since the notes in the chord are coming from separate, distinct, and recognizable melodic lines (and continue after that overlap along distinct trajectories), the term "harmony" would likely apply better than talking about a "chord." Too, in this example, if you talk about that momentary "chord," then you are talking about music in a vertical sense, and you may then lose sight of the voices as horizontal, overlapping lines. So the term "chord" sort of chops off the concept of the individual notes being part of distinct "voices."

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#8
As for playing chords

The term harmonic mean to strike the notes of the chord at the sametime.
The term melody mean to play the notes one after another.

As far as playing chords goes. Certain notes are going to ring more.
Open strings, your finger's strength or last note being played.

As far as creating a melody. Some melody just use the arpeggios of the chords.

Other melodies has notes other than the arpeggios and different chords.
Some people call them riffs or phrasing.
So...when you're soloing over that riff. You don't want to micro manage or dissect
all the different chords within that riff. You want to look at the riff as a whole to
distinguish what key to solo over.

If you ever played with a good bass player. Sometimes he'll do crazy riffs
and bussier than the lead guitar.lol If you have a good drummer that can improve
on the fly. He'll throw all kinds of off beat or fills. You simply just going to have
to learn how to play over that or see them as passing notes. Just listen to the bass drum
or crash to stay with the beat. So it's the samething. Sometimes the rythem guitar
gets rather busied and you're holding on to one note that's going to harmonize
over everything. But if you listen the phasing of the lead guitar as a whole...it'll make
more sense.
Last edited by smc818 at Jan 25, 2014,
#9
Quote by dannydawiz
For example, if I had one note that sustained forever and then I added a second note over it one bar later could that be still considered a chord? The two notes didn't occur simultaneously but it's still two notes that are being played at the same time.


Hey cool question, the technical parts have been addressed above but lets put this one into practice.

Let's say we drone a note C.

On the second bar we add an extra note, and this is where it gets super interesting.

Lets add an E note.

Because we have the C and the E it will most likely be heard as a C major chord. Furthermore, if we remove the E note and it's just the C again, we'll still interpret that note as a one-note voicing of C major, because that's the context we've set up.

However! Lets say we have the drone C, then we add an E, remove it for a bar then add an F. We'll hear this as the F major chord. When we revert back to the drone C it will now be heard as an F major chord until we introduce a different note again. Very cool.

Lets take it one step futher again. Drone the C, add the E, and now add an A. The chord that results will either be heard as a C6 or as an A minor. If it's droning the C it's more likely to be heard as a C6, but if you introduce other instruments droning on the A, the listener will be more likely to hear it as a voicing of A minor.

And finally, if we have the drone C and add a G, then remove it (a C5 chord) the option will be available to go on either the C major or C minor route, as the C5 chord alone does not imply a major or minor scale alone. However if there was a melody that included a major or minor 3rd within it, the C5 would be heard as the major/minor corresponding with the 3rd in the separate melody. Even cooler, if the melody had a b3, and then you set up a major chord behind it, this would be absolutely fine, setting it up for the sound typical of a lot of blues songs.

You can introduce these ideas put above into your own songwriting. The metal chugga chugga on one string guys set themselves up to use a lot of this stuff (but don't seem to), and you can also use it "backwards" per se, the rest of the band can play a chord progression and you can drone a specific note over/under it.

One recent memorable example of this latter use is in Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" where the bass drones the root note over the first half of the chorus' whilst the rest of the instruments play the chord progression. I know it's not "cool" to analyse Katy Perry stuff but she has some really interesting songs from a theory perspective. Whoever writes her songs is very talented.

A bit of a rant, hope it helps.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#10
A chord is when two or more notes sound at the same time not literally, they just sound together at some point. In practice, arpeggios and broken chords can be looked at as chords as well.
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#12
Quote by AlanHB
One recent memorable example of this latter use is in Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" where the bass drones the root note over the first half of the chorus' whilst the rest of the instruments play the chord progression. I know it's not "cool" to analyse Katy Perry stuff but she has some really interesting songs from a theory perspective. Whoever writes her songs is very talented.
I don't think there's anything uncool about analysing success.
Si
#13
Harmony, broadly, means something like "What set of notes is stated or implied at a particular moment". It's a very big concept. You can have a piece that is entirely single-note lines that still has a clear harmonic basis because the instrument plays as the chords were happening.

Quote by AlanHB

One recent memorable example of this latter use is in Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" where the bass drones the root note over the first half of the chorus' whilst the rest of the instruments play the chord progression. I know it's not "cool" to analyse Katy Perry stuff but she has some really interesting songs from a theory perspective. Whoever writes her songs is very talented.


Looks like I'm not the only person playing in cover bands here...

What's cool about your example is that it shows how broadly harmony can be interpreted; not every new combination of notes means a new harmony. Even though the chord changes, it's still all a Tonic harmony up until the bVI V motion.

edit: nope!
Last edited by cdgraves at Jan 28, 2014,
#14
Quote by cdgraves
Looks like I'm not the only person playing in cover bands here...


Lol yeah. Cover bands make good $$$ and get your skills up heaps. "Last Friday Night" is an interesting one too.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#15
^ I used to be a bit sniffy about cover bands but then i heard how much money they made (at least in this part of the world). I'd totally do it now. I think a lot of the music I like has got more acceptable recently now, though, and I'm even starting to like some pop music. maybe that's just my perception, or maybe I've mellowed... I don't think so, at least that much, I still despite the vengaboys who were popular when I was younger

Quote by 20Tigers
I don't think there's anything uncool about analysing success.


Or at least any less cool than analysing "cooler" music, you're still analysing from an academic point of view. like the way I kid myself I'm cool because I play the guitar yet I geek out about it as much as I do with less cool stuff

Seriously though I liked katy perry's early stuff. Not so fond of the newer stuff, it's a bit more "by the numbers". I haven't actually analysed it, that's just what it sounds like to my ears... maybe it's still interesting theoretically but it's not interesting to my ears in the way the earlier stuff was
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Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jan 28, 2014,
#16
^^^ The popular music is usually pretty good, people just like to bag what's popular.

Obviously when you're in a cover band you should put all your musical preferences aside and learn what is going to get the most amount of people up dancing. Once you "get over yourself" and do this you find that there's a big difference between playing the songs and listening to them.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#17
Yeah. I often find if I learn a song (or even genre) I'm not that fond of I appreciate it much more. Not always, of course, but a lot of the time.

I've never played in a cover band but I also imagine that getting a nice balance of stuff other people like but that you like too is key, because (even subconsciously) if you like it better you're likely to play it better.

I still say pop music now (or more accurately, from maybe 2 years ago, it's gone off a little again I think ) is far better than it was round the turn of the millennium, though. It was really poor then. Granted that 80s electronic pop type stuff has had a bit of a resugence (alongside big choruses etc. which is pretty much what I like in rock music too) so it may well just be that I happen to like it more. But yeah, I mean stuff like lady gaga etc. I don't just think "that's not bad- for pop music", I actually genuinely like it with no caveats.

But I agree about the popular thing, I like stuff if it's good (or if I like it, anyway, which might not necessarily be the same thing ). Whether it's popular or not, I don't much care.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jan 28, 2014,
#18
Quote by AlanHB
One recent memorable example of this latter use is in Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" where the bass drones the root note over the first half of the chorus' whilst the rest of the instruments play the chord progression. I know it's not "cool" to analyse Katy Perry stuff but she has some really interesting songs from a theory perspective. Whoever writes her songs is very talented.


Yeah, I can't even imagine the level of familiarity with tonal harmony and counterpoint it must have taken to come up with the idea of having a tonic pedal in the bass.
.
#19
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've never played in a cover band but I also imagine that getting a nice balance of stuff other people like but that you like too is key, because (even subconsciously) if you like it better you're likely to play it better.


Well, yeah, not really. In a "good" cover band you would have played the song 50-100 times already, the songs by themselves lose their charm from simple overplaying/overexposure to those songs. However if the audience is loving the song, you work off their energy to put in a better performance. So you're likely to "play it better" if the audience is keen on the song, rather than your personal preference for the song.

Quote by Nietsche
Yeah, I can't even imagine the level of familiarity with tonal harmony and counterpoint it must have taken to come up with the idea of having a tonic pedal in the bass.


Lol well I never said it was particularly revolutionary, I was pointing it out as an example of introducing a pedal over an already established chord progression rather than the opposite. However I will say that it's not necessarily the "obvious" part to play, particularly in a pop song chorus.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#20
I think in chords most when I do homophonic music or homophonic moments in my music. Otherwise, if I'm thinking polyphonically, I think counterpuntally, or less esoterically, I think of the distance between two notes and how that distance and line interacts with the opposing line or lines.

If it is chordal, it still is harmonic, but I suggest that if you are interested in this topic that you look further into the study of counterpoint. That would best answer your question.
#21
Quote by AlanHB

Lol well I never said it was particularly revolutionary, I was pointing it out as an example of introducing a pedal over an already established chord progression rather than the opposite. However I will say that it's not necessarily the "obvious" part to play, particularly in a pop song chorus.


It's pretty rare to hear something seriously groundbreaking on Top 40 radio, but there's definitely a lot of savvy musicianship. While something like a tonic pedal in the bass might seem really simple in the analysis, it was definitely not the obvious thing to do when the song was being recorded. The producer could just as easily have kept the bass in parallel with accompaniment and would have been fine, but those little details are what separate cookie-cutter musicians from the really good ones - doing something because it's actually good, not just "good enough".
#22
Quote by AlanHB
Well, yeah, not really. In a "good" cover band you would have played the song 50-100 times already, the songs by themselves lose their charm from simple overplaying/overexposure to those songs. However if the audience is loving the song, you work off their energy to put in a better performance. So you're likely to "play it better" if the audience is keen on the song, rather than your personal preference for the song.


Good point.

On the other hand, I remember when I played in the school band we played the tunes a lot and I still had favourites Or even playing on my own, as I do with guitar, I play songs a ton and the ones I really like I still like I might be weird, though
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jan 29, 2014,