#1
how do you come up with chords to melody? do you do whatever sounds good or is there theory behind it?

if so please explain to me how to do it without making it to complicated, I'm kinda slow with these things....

please and thank you
#2
You generally make a melody from chords, but if you come up with a melody first, find the notes that fall on the downbeats and play chords with those notes in them.
#4
^ bgc's method is simpler initially actually, my initial issue when doing this was hearing something in my head behind the melody and not being able to play it. for example i'd play a melody and hear a chord progression in my head but not be able to figure out what the chord progression was. some basic ear training should be able to fix that so if you hear a more complex movement behind it you should be able to work it a little easier.
#5
You could go into a bunch of technicalities, but you should just come up with whatever sounds good to you. That way you know it came straight from your feeling and interpretation of chords, not from a special little technique.
#6
First find the root note of the chord progression, then you can find the quality of the chord simply by looking at the key and whatever chords fit in that key. Sometimes you can go out of key if that's what the melody does.
#7
Quote by speedy1330
how do you come up with chords to melody? do you do whatever sounds good or is there theory behind it?

if so please explain to me how to do it without making it to complicated, I'm kinda slow with these things....

please and thank you
I like Sues method. It works. Try to keep your movements strong though. No trying to resolve on a iii chord.

Alternatively, if your a jedi at theory, learn counterpoint and write 3 or 4 VERY simple counterpoints below that melody and figure out the chords these 3 or 4 notes make. You'd have to change the voicings of these chords to fir guitar though.

Sorry stupid suggestion. Only put it out there as a matter of interest.
#8
Quote by bangoodcharlote
You generally make a melody from chords, but
It may be that you generally make a melody from chords, but otherwise that's a rather sweeping and presumptive generalization. It's like saying a painter generally starts with red.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
if you come up with a melody first, find the notes that fall on the downbeats and play chords with those notes in them.

^I give you a "right on" for this though, it's good advice.

I would play the melody and write it out properly. Figure out what key you're in.

Then as you play it listen in your head for where the chord changes are. When you hit where you think one should be stop playing and circle the note it falls on then carry on and do it again till you have mapped out where you think all the chord changes should be.

Then look at what note you have circled. Then find a chord that contains that note and sounds right. Using simple triads there will be three options. If the note is an E in the key of C major you would have Em (E G B), C (C E G), or Am (A C E).

You can use trial and error to find the right chord since there's only three options.

That's to start with at least and should get you off on the right foot. You might tweak it slightly with extended chords and such but to begin with just stick with simple diatonic triads and see how it works.

Good Luck
Si
#9
Quote by 20Tigers
It may be that you generally make a melody from chords, but otherwise that's a rather sweeping and presumptive generalization. It's like saying a painter generally starts with red.
^I give you a "right on" for this though, it's good advice.

I would play the melody and write it out properly. Figure out what key you're in.

Then as you play it listen in your head for where the chord changes are. When you hit where you think one should be stop playing and circle the note it falls on then carry on and do it again till you have mapped out where you think all the chord changes should be.

Then look at what note you have circled. Then find a chord that contains that note and sounds right. Using simple triads there will be three options. If the note is an E in the key of C major you would have Em (E G B), C (C E G), or Am (A C E).

You can use trial and error to find the right chord since there's only three options.

That's to start with at least and should get you off on the right foot. You might tweak it slightly with extended chords and such but to begin with just stick with simple diatonic triads and see how it works.

Good Luck


You'd have a world full of pretty lame harmonisations if we all only harmonised the strong beats. That approach although safe ignores many musical devices - suspension and appogiatura to name but two.
#10
Quote by R.Christie
You'd have a world full of pretty lame harmonisations if we all only harmonised the strong beats. That approach although safe ignores many musical devices - suspension and appogiatura to name but two.

C'mon R.Christie are you serious?? Take it for what it is a beginner's guide to harmonization - of course it's "safe".

TS appears to be a first timer attempting harmonizing a melody.

Surely it's best to start "safe" and get comfortable with harmonizing a melody using basic diatonic triads and then working on to more complex ideas from there.
Si
#11
Quote by 20Tigers
C'mon R.Christie are you serious?? Take it for what it is a beginner's guide to harmonization - of course it's "safe".

TS appears to be a first timer attempting harmonizing a melody.

Surely it's best to start "safe" and get comfortable with harmonizing a melody using basic diatonic triads and then working on to more complex ideas from there.


Dead serious and I agree with you. I didn't state the/your advice was incorrect, only that, being safe, it would lead to a pretty boring musical environment.
however, from my experience teaching I feel it always best to qualify any advice if it is incomplete. I don't dismiss the general teaching principle of informing on "the need to know" basis, but I read a lot of advice in here that, if taken as a full answer will likely lead a learner into some confusion later on. Qualification usually doesn't take more than a brief "in general" or "commonly" attached to the explanation, it alerts the learner to the fact that it isn't the full story.
#12
Quote by R.Christie
Dead serious and I agree with you. I didn't state the/your advice was incorrect, only that, being safe, it would lead to a pretty boring musical environment.
Are you kidding? I think the OP is writing contemporary music. These days contemporary music is really consonant, yet the composers convince themselves they're "free thinkers." Take freidman or hammett for example. He suggests to use almost completely chord tones and pentatonics. Yet kids think he's "cool" yet guys that play extremely eccentically and freely like Coltrane are "lame."
/rant

Regardless, unless your going to go on a counterpoint tangent, harmonising like that is fine.
#13
Speedy1330 might also benefit from also bearing in mind these considerations.

Once a key (tonal center and scale) has been established be aware that some chords will likely appear much more frequently in a composition than others also available in the key. The relative frequency of the chords used will vary a little in respect to the musical style but in much western music the following applies, at least for the major keys. (Read the stickies above first, if you don't yet understand the notation I, IV etc)

The most common chord will be the Tonic or Key chord (I) followed closely by the Dominant or fifth chord, which frequently appears with an added seventh (V7).

In decreasing order of frequency are found:
IV,
ii, (often used to substitute the IV chord),
iii, vi - in about the same frequency
and lastly the vii, usually as a substitute for the V, or, slightly altered, as a means of moving into a new key.

By working down the list it will save much time, i.e. try the most likely chords out as first candidates.
Last edited by R.Christie at Sep 23, 2008,
#14
Quote by demonofthenight
Are you kidding? I think the OP is writing contemporary music. These days contemporary music is really consonant, yet the composers convince themselves they're "free thinkers." Take freidman or hammett for example. He suggests to use almost completely chord tones and pentatonics. Yet kids think he's "cool" yet guys that play extremely eccentically and freely like Coltrane are "lame."
/rant

Regardless, unless your going to go on a counterpoint tangent, harmonising like that is fine.


Ha ha, agree about so called free thinkers but am a little lost as to what you mean by contemporary.

But appogiaturra, suspension etc are everywhere in popular music. they're extremely mainsteam ways of dealing with non-harmonic tones without venturing anywhere near extreme dissonance.
#15
Quote by R.Christie
Ha ha, agree about so called free thinkers but am a little lost as to what you mean by contemporary.
I'm talking about rock and metal and so on. When idiots describe these guys as "playing what they feel," when they're not. They're wanking pentatonics. But normally these same idiots say guys like coltrane (his ideas are amazing) are lame and "squares."

Ignore me when I rant. I only rant online because my friends have never heard any music other than what their friends listen to. Introducing these idiots to bop or classical is a waste of time.
#16
Quote by demonofthenight
Ignore me when I rant. I only rant online because my friends have never heard any music other than what their friends listen to. Introducing these idiots to bop or classical is a waste of time.
Doesn't that mean they listen to what you listen to??? Hehehehe.

I know what you mean though. They only listen to what is prescribed by their "social clique". Anything that falls outside the specific stereotyped image they are trying to represent becomes uncool by default. Your attempts to singlehandedly to break that mindset is futile. Or something like that.
Si
#17
Quote by demonofthenight
I'm talking about rock and metal and so on. When idiots describe these guys as "playing what they feel," when they're not. They're wanking pentatonics. But normally these same idiots say guys like coltrane (his ideas are amazing) are lame and "squares."

Ignore me when I rant. I only rant online because my friends have never heard any music other than what their friends listen to. Introducing these idiots to bop or classical is a waste of time.


I'd let you have me if you wanted me.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#18
Quote by Archeo Avis
I'd let you have me if you wanted me.
Would you hold it against me if I sigged you? Intelligent people are fucking hawt
#19
Quote by demonofthenight
Would you hold it against me if I sigged you? Intelligent people are fucking hawt


I'd hold something against you, if you know what I'm talking about. And I think you know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about my penis.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#20
Quote by Archeo Avis
I'd hold something against you, if you know what I'm talking about. And I think you know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about my penis.
lol, way to be obvious
#21
Quote by demonofthenight
lol, way to be obvious


Penis.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#23
Whatever happened to subtly?
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#24
Quote by The_Sophist
Whatever happened to subtly?


...foreplay, then penis?

Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Last edited by Archeo Avis at Sep 23, 2008,
#25
okay musicans play chords that are the root the melody.

good musicians play whatever sounds good over/under the melody
#26
Quote by saturnine1
okay musicans play chords that are the root the melody.

good musicians play whatever sounds good over/under the melody
Even better musicians know what sounds good even before picking up their instruments.
#27
The best musicians realize no ones cares and get real jobs.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#28
The best musicians realize no ones cares and get real jobs.


If that were true, music wouldn't be a multi-billion dollar industry. People care.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#29
If I actually believed what I said I wouldn't be on a guitar website would I?
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#30
Quote by The_Sophist
The best musicians realize no ones cares and get real jobs.
Plenty of good musicians get real jobs and use music as a hobby, but record companies, concerts, MTV, VH1, all that is associated with music is a multi-billion dollar international industry; clearly some good musicians make a career with music.
#31
Quote by The_Sophist
If I actually believed what I said I wouldn't be on a guitar website would I?


Why wouldn't you be?
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#33
You people need to get a sense of humor, taking life that seriously is just asking for a heart attack.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#34
Quote by The_Sophist
You people need to get a sense of humor, taking life that seriously is just asking for a heart attack.
Fair enough but you need to get a new joke.
Quote by The_Sophist
The best musicians realize no ones cares and get real jobs.

I've only ever seen this one over and over (apart from calling me Hannah Montana once).

And this thread is way off topic. I'm surprised there hasn't been any reporting for spam yet.

Someone asks for help harmonizing a melody and get's "penis" and "give up" as responses??
Si
#35
If you don't like my joke don't read it, I'm not trying to entertain you. As for TS, the question was answered, so it's not like I'm taking away from anything.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#36
Quote by The_Sophist
If you don't like my joke don't read it, I'm not trying to entertain you.
So what exactly are you trying to achieve?
Si
#37
I'm trying to learn new things, and have some fun along the way. If my joke offends you I'm sorry.

To Archeo : I wouldn't be on this site because if no one cared about music, that would include myself, and I wouldn't play guitar, make sense?

To Bangoodcharlote : You can think whatever you want of me, makes no difference to me.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#39
Yeah. I think this thread has answered the main questions and it's only going downhill at an incredible rate...

And demon, you're not cool because you don't listen to Paramore. Get over it.