The melody of a song is a group of notes played one after another. The melody is the main melody, like “Here Comes The Bride”. You’ll know because it’s easy to remember. Also, you are familiar with the song and can hum it a lot. When you add the harmony, the mood or tone of the song changes. It has a fuller sound that is pleasant to listen to.
What is harmony?
Well, harmony is a group of notes that support the melody. The melody gives it the musical texture that people identify with. So harmonizing a melody means creating a chordal accompaniment for it. The results produced will sound full, like many voices singing. Maybe as a choir. This is definitely a technique that everyone needs to learn. Harmonizing the melody produces happy sounds. I can hear the third intervals, for sure.
I-IV-V chords contain all the notes of the major scale. Many melodies in a major key can be harmonized with just these three chords.
The 7 basic chords one can use in the key of C:
C major = CEG
D minor = DFA
E minor = GBS
F major = FAC
G major = GBD
A minor = ACE
B diminished = FBD
Determine the chords to use and analyze the notes of the melody. Follow the chart to see which chord is used with each note of a major scale melody. Play all of these notes at the same time with the melody note at the top.
Here’s a simple song to try, Mary Had A Little Lamb.
title of the GCE
Formula to harmonize the melody:
A. Determine the melody of any song.
B. Replace melody notes with harmonizing chords making sure to keep the melody note as the highest pitch of each chord.
C. Add the bass/left hand notes
I have found that matching the melody of all nursery rhymes, Christmas songs and hymns is fun and easy to do. I learned to play the harmonization scale. This is the same scale taught by Jermaine Griggs in his piano course book. I have been playing keyboard on worship teams for over 30 years and teaching students for over 15 years. This is a technique that really works. I think church musicians can relate to technique, especially when playing hymns.
You are on your way to harmonizing the melody. Have fun!
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