#1
Hey all, I was wondering..is there a way to harmonize chords?


As in..let's say there's a chorus done with ordinary power chord, example. A, A#, C, A#

To make it sound a bit more interesting, over the chords, I want to do a little arpeggio using triads..

To keep things simple..I'll do an arpeggio, using little triad forms, over the same chords.But I don't want to use power chords.

How do I know whether to use minor, major..or, if I want, a diminished or 7th, and not make it sound dissonant?

As in, for example,does the chord progression itself determine, in a way, if I should do the arpeggio on minors or majors, etc?

Like, I know that doing it all minor (a, a#, c, #) would sound not so good. Anyway to find out where the majors go? Or how to use the dimished?

And, also, if I want it to sound more interesting, I want to do arpeggio or chords, to harmonize over the chords using it's minor?

Example..over the A I'll use a C..but I don't want to use power chords. Can I use minors, majors, diminished? How to know?

I hope that this is all understood, if not, I'll elaborate..
Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise
#2
Do you want to play chords over other chords or do you just want to know when you should use major or minor chords?

Also, how much theory do you know? (Just so we know how to explain things.)
#3
Inversions are what you might be thinking of. They're technically the same chords played in different positions but it adds a different taste to your music imo.
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#4
Honestly, that was a bit difficult to read. If I understood you though, it sounds like you want to add a bit to the power chords. If you're looking for the arpeggios, you'll need to figure out what key you're in. That'll determine what the power chord actually is, since they're just the root and fifth most of the time.
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#5
The basics of music are incredibly simple. People make it out to be so complicated, and it can be, but in almost every case, if anyone has any question like this, because they are that level, the answer is key scale. I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-viio and all its relatives, but It's all one pattern, whether it is major or minor. It's just which degree the tonic is that changes. One pattern.

It's so simple. just play the key scale. You want to add chords on top? key scale. Extensions? key scale. Improvise? key scale. Write progressions? Key scale. Not that the key scale is some kind of boundary you must stick within, but that is the first thing you should get completely comfortable with imo. I mean, go ahead and experiment, and be free when you write, but learn what the key scale sounds like.

Think of it like spelling in english. You would start, with what k sounds like, and A, and B etc... but then there are all of these little things like "knife" and "through", and "tough", and so many little exceptions. Learn those afterwards. Start with just the key scale there is so much you can do with that. It is really simple theory-wise, so easy, but you can make really awesome music with it.

What to choose when you play? you have to choose based on sound. You need to know how the stuff sounds. Anyone could write complex formulas to give you options, but creating music is not rolling the dice of options and inserting some random thing that "works". It is deliberate expression, so you have to know what the stuff sounds like before you choose it. It's something you know you can play, and you play and the sound is a surprise. It's you know the sound you want, and you know how to get it, because you studied your guitar. For that, you need to learn it by sound. Not learn a logical theoretical system. But naming sounds and patterns helps you do that. Organizing and categorizing sound lets you do that.

So, record that progression, and play the key scale on top of it. The key scale chords on top of it. Experiment with those. Play just that progression on your guitar and use key scale embellishments.

Just getting to know the key scale in sound and in muscle memory is a lot of work already. Just study that.

But make note of the key scale as you do it. Name what you are doing.

"To name is to know." -Socrates.

-------------------------

I think what he means is like, if say a C minor chord is being played in key of C, you could play an E minor chord on top, effectively creating a C major 7, or a G maj on top, creating a C9. You can do that and it sounds amazing. E minor and G maj are both in the key of C. But in key of C, if you are playing G maj, a Gmaj7 won't generally sound good so easily, because the maj7 isn't in key of C. In that case, you'd want a G7, which is a Bdim on top. Sounds real complicated, but if you simplify it to "triads in key of C" then it is simple.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Nov 28, 2014,
#6
^That only holds if it's a major key.

In minor, it would be i-ii°-III-iv-v-VI-VII
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#7
Quote by megano28
^That only holds if it's a major key.

In minor, it would be i-ii°-III-iv-v-VI-VII


I said key scale. I accounted for that in my explanation. I personally don't partake in that nomenclature though. It overcomplicates things I find. For me, minor key is "I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-viio, with a vi tonic". It's easier that way for me.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Nov 28, 2014,
#8
For me it would be major chords
When I played the example it remained me to this one
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bekjJoGl5k

(in the song it's G - Ab - Bb)

Because I would see the chords like

I - bII - bIII - bII

And it would be a major scale but borrowing chords from different places (bii being and neapolitan chord and the biii just from any minor scale)

And having this in mind I could say

Imaj7 | bii7 | biii maj7 | bii7 |

And then in every chord you could play the arpeggio for that kind of chord if you like
#9
Quote by fingrpikingood
I said key scale. I accounted for that in my explanation. I personally don't partake in that nomenclature though. It overcomplicates things I find. For me, minor key is "I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-viio, with a vi tonic". It's easier that way for me.


sorry about the double post but....

It's alright if for you it's easy to remember or apply but for minor stuffs the tonic it's "i" not "vi" otherwise you might confuse with the relative major, cause in a major the first degree it's "I"
#10
Quote by SrThompson
sorry about the double post but....

It's alright if for you it's easy to remember or apply but for minor stuffs the tonic it's "i" not "vi" otherwise you might confuse with the relative major, cause in a major the first degree it's "I"


I don't confuse it. That's my system. It works for me. I'm good at guitar. You can feel free to use whatever system you want. That's just how I do it. Some people might be interested in that approach and others not. That's how I do it. I'm just sharing that fact. I'm not saying it is better, or others should do it that way. If that would confuse you, then stay away from it. I find it makes everything much more simple, that's why I do it that way.

(in the song it's G - Ab - Bb)

Because I would see the chords like

I - bII - bIII - bII


I would look at that progression as bIV-IV-V. That way you can play as though you are in Eb. Makes it simple. I always try to make everything as simple as possible.

The G would be the odd one out. It would normally be a Gdim in Eb. those notes that are changed to make maj instead of dim are the only differences you need to change from playing Eb major scale pattern.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Nov 28, 2014,
#11
There are a number of approaches you can take with this.

You could just play all major chord triads.

Alternatively you could find the diatonic scale to which those chord roots belong and work it out from there. The diatonic scales are all relative to the major scale so we'll start by considering the diatonic major scale and figure out where our progression fits in.

To do this you could look at all the notes you have...

A5 = A E
A#5(let's call it Bb5) = Bb F
C5 = C G

So we have A Bb C ? E F G to complete the diatonic scale we would need some kind ofD and the only one that would complete a diatonic scale pattern would be D natural.

So our notes would be A Bb C D E F G. What major scale has those notes? F Major (D minor). F G A Bb C D E F

Harmonizing those notes to find the chords diatonic to that scale we would have...

F Gm Am Bb C Dm Edim

And so the A5 would be Am (or Am7) the Bb5 and C5 would both be major chords (BbMaj7 and C7).

If you went with seventh chords you could even play a triad arpeggio without the root. Thus an Am7 (A C E G) without the root would be a C major triad (C E G) which you could play over the A5 power chord to get an overall Am7 sonority. Similarly you could suggest extended chords in a similar way.

However, this is not a definitive answer. If that is your entire progression then it does not tonicize either the F (for F major) or a D (for D minor) so we would be using a relative diatonic scale if we went that way - which will sound fine.

Another approach though would be to discard the fifths and look just at the root notes of those power chords. We might reason that the fifths may not actually be diatonic but are just there to support the root note rather than suggest any kind of tonality.

A -> Bb -> C -> Bb -> A is our root movement.

We have a half step which is a good clue (A->Bb) followed by a whole step Bb->C. The half steps are usually in one of two places in a diatonic major scale.

They are either between the third and fourth major scale degrees or between the seventh and first major scale degrees.

The third and fourth would suggest the F major/D minor scale we already considered.

That leaves the leading tone to tonic (7-8) half step in the major scale.

This would mean that the diatonic major scale we would be looking at would be Bb major.

Bb Major = Bb C D Eb F G A

The diatonic chords would be Bb Cm Dm Eb F Gm Adim

Now if we were to view things in this way and wanted to use powerchords the Adim would cause problems so we would raise the Eb to an E and we would use an A5 power chord.

Consequently the chord is a borrowed chord. We could use Am or A major. However given that we already have a C in the progression an Am would be a good way to go.

So Am Bb Cm would be our triads. (Am7 BbMaj7 Cm7 for seventh chords)

So in conclusion the more obvious options would be...

Over the A5 you could play
A
Am
C (to suggest Am7 sonority)

Over the Bb5
Bb
D (to suggest BbMaj7 sonority)

Over the C
C
Edim (to suggest C7 sonority)
Cm
Eb (to suggest a Cm7 sonority)

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There really is no limit but your own creativity as to what approach you take.

Good Luck.
Si
#12
If they are power chords, they are either major or minor so you may just try both. But yeah, figuring out what key you are in helps too. That way you don't need to guess. Though sometimes it makes it sound better when you use notes outside of the key scale.

I think it sounds pretty cool if all of the chords are major. You can find this kind of progression for example in Chick Corea's "La Fiesta". I would say it has kind of a "Spanish" feel to it.

But yeah, just use your ears. There's no right or wrong. But the two most common progressions would be Am-Bb-C-Bb and A-Bb-C-Bb. Do whatever sounds good to you.
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#13
Ok, thanks for all the help guys. I'lltake time to read through it all.

Yes, as someone said, I'm just looking for a way to determine which chords to play over the fifths, which are played by my other guitarist, to give it a bit more taste, and not the usual "power chord sound"

Are there any good lessons you would recommend on UG to study the theory properly to help me?
Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise
#14
Quote by Krieger91
Ok, thanks for all the help guys. I'lltake time to read through it all.

Yes, as someone said, I'm just looking for a way to determine which chords to play over the fifths, which are played by my other guitarist, to give it a bit more taste, and not the usual "power chord sound"

Are there any good lessons you would recommend on UG to study the theory properly to help me?

Learn how to harmonize a scale. Learn to recognize the key you are in. I didn't find any good and simple lessons here in UG so I'll write my own here:

So let's start with harmonizing the major scale. Lets take C major for the sake of simplicity. And this requires knowing the intervals and the note names.

You harmonize the scale by starting it on the root, third and fifth notes of the scale. That way you get all the triads that you can build with the scale.

     R 3 5
I    C E G - C
ii   D F A - Dm
iii  E G B - Em
IV   F A C - F
V    G B D - G
vi   A C E - Am
viio B D F - Bdim


You could also add the seventh note if you wanted to figure out the 7th chords.

That's where the "I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-viio" thing fingrpikingood was talking about comes from. It's the same for all major scales (the chord built on the fifth scale degree of the major scale is always a major chord and the chord built on the second scale degree is always a minor chord, etc - same pattern for every major scale and that's what makes it possible to play the same song in many keys).

Knowing the intervals of the major scale and the chords is pretty important too. Major scale is root, major second, major third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, major sixth, major seventh (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). So all of the intervals are either major (2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th) or perfect (4th, 5th, octave).

A major chord is root, major third, perfect fifth (1, 3, 5).

A minor chord is root, minor third, perfect fifth (1, b3, 5).

A diminished chord is root, minor third, diminished fifth (1, b3, b5).

This all applies to all major scales and all chords.


To figure out the key you are in you need to use your ears. Play your chord progression and listen. Does it feel complete or does it feel like it needs to go somewhere. Do you feel a pull to a certain chord?

Let's demonstrate this. Play C-F-G. Now, does this feel complete? Does it feel good to end with a G major chord or does it kind of leave the ending "open"? Do you feel a pull towards some chord?

End it with a C major chord. Now does it feel complete? At least it should. C major is your tonic which means you are in the key of C major. It is a basic I-IV-V-I progression in C major.

This should get you started. Figuring out the key by ear is of course not always this simple. But it's all about finding the tonic chord - the chord that feels like home. You feel a pull towards that chord and ending a progression with it makes it sound complete. If you end a progression with another chord, it sounds like the song will continue. Many songs end with some other chord than the tonic. This just leaves the ending open and sometimes it sounds really good.

Once you have figured out the key, use the key scale to harmonize the chords. If you find non-diatonic chords (chords that use notes outside of the key scale) figure out a way of harmonizing it. Use your ears for that.


But yeah, it all comes down to the sound you prefer. Sometimes non-diatonic chords sound way better than diatonic chords. Not all of the notes you play have to be in the same scale. You need ear training so that you can play what you hear in your head.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Nov 29, 2014,
#15
Quote by Krieger91
Ok, thanks for all the help guys. I'lltake time to read through it all.

Yes, as someone said, I'm just looking for a way to determine which chords to play over the fifths, which are played by my other guitarist, to give it a bit more taste, and not the usual "power chord sound"

Are there any good lessons you would recommend on UG to study the theory properly to help me?

there is no theory way to determine. There is only your ears. Stick to the major scale and practice that and learn the sounds. There is no magic recipe you can learn in a book. You need to learn the sounds for yourself and choose based on that.

Narrowing it down to the key scale helps immensly. learn I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-viio in 3 positions each chord.

You will notice how some of the shapes are similar except for one note or few notes. Like, Imaj7 and vi or I and vi7, or ii7 and V. But after a while, you won't even have to think about any of that. You just know what you want and how to get there.

You need to learn the sounds, you need to put the practice in. There is no way around it. There is no substitue. No algorithm, no secret, no rules to follow.

You need to learn the sounds. Practice the key scale. That's what you should practice. It is simple, but so much to learn at the same time. You need to know that. This isn't the matrix, you can't just read some lesson, and become good at guitar.

One thing I'll say though, is that these complex chords you want to build can quickly sound bad with distortion. In this case less is more. Just stick to the key scale and explore and learn. These is no web page that can impart to you the valuable knowledge you would accumulate from that. I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-viio. That's it, one pattern. Learn the shit out of it. I know that pattern probably 4 or 5 different ways.

You could learn how chords are constructed, and the nasmes of the notes on your fretboard, and you should, but that won't be as quickly helpful. Knowing how to turn a G into a G13 by adding an extra chord won't help you if you don't know what that's gonna sound like, and if you do that in the key of C, it's probably gonna sound like shit.

So, I find that's not the most important right away. Learn that later, after you learned the key scale, found what stuff sounds like, and name it.

I could make it seem real complicated. But it is simple. Key scale. Trust me. If I was teaching you, with a piano I could show you in 5 minutes why it's obvious that that's what you should do for this.