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Melody Harmonizing on Piano

harmonizing melodyA melody's harmony is the chords underneath the melody to create a more full sound, ambience, and producing a mood for the melody. It can be difficult to create a harmony when composing a piece of music.

Depending on the atmosphere you are trying to create, harmonization can take on many different forms. Creating harmony starts with some knowledge of music theory.

There’s no need for extensive knowledge for simple melodies, on the other hand, the more complex the melody the more difficult it is to create the harmony. Furthermore, the key and genre of the melody play an important role. For example, in jazz or classical composition, the harmony will take on much more complexity than a blues or pop song.

Music theory is a necessity when creating harmony, even an elementary understanding is an asset. An example of basic music theory knowledge is an understanding of the key C major. C major has no sharps or flats, so writing harmony is simpler than writing harmony in say, B flat minor.

The most commonly used chords in C major are C major, F major and G major, or I IV V, their corresponding positions in the C major scale. Regardless of the genre, all harmony is based on tension and release.

Tension is created by leaps, non-scale notes and intervals. Leaps are large intervals, such as making a leap from C to A, a 6 step interval. Non-scale notes are notes that are outside the key of the music. For example, in C major, non-scale notes are A flat and G sharp. Finally, music intervals are adding odd notes to chords like 7th or 9th intervals.

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complex harmoniesThe genre of music plays a very important role in creating the overall atmosphere of the music. Each genre carries certain difficulties in creating harmonies. Pop and blues harmonies tend to be simple because of the singular key and simpler melodies. Conversely, jazz music tends to be rather difficult for most musicians.

This is due to the complex harmonies that accompany the constant changes in the key of the melody. Creating harmony in classical music can range from basic to extremely intricate. Because of the wide range of styles within classical music, creating harmony can be as simple or as multifaceted as you wish.

Regardless of the genre of music you want to create, the mood of the composition is made up of the harmony. By creating the right amount of tension and release, you give life and breathe to your melody. Melody harmonization follows a few simple rules.

Your harmony complexity depends on your understanding of music theory. If your knowledge of music theory is at a beginner’s level, then the harmonies tend to follow the simple patter of basic piano chords. If you have an advance education in music theory and composition, your harmonies reflect your understanding of tension and release.

When writing your harmonies, consider the ratio of tension and release. Too much tension can make it difficult to listen to. So take into account what you are trying to convey with your score. Finally, study the music of your favorite composers and artists, learn from your favorite piano songs and develop your own style and voice.

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