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The Birth Of A Chord Melody

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(@redsfan75)
Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
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Topic starter  

https://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/birth-of-a-chord-melody/

GreyBeard,

This article is very good, and one of the better explainations I've seen on building a Chord Melody from the Lead Sheet.

I'm working on a Chord Melody arrangement for Thomas A. Dorsey's "Peace in the Valley" in 3/4. It's my first one, and I had a couple questions, and comments.

First question, is there tool, (Powertab, Guitar Pro 5) that makes it easy to shift the notes by an Ocatve?

I found that Guitar Pro has an easy way of shifting keys, the Sheet music is in F, so any paticular merit of going to a G instead of E? (Also 2 semitones raises it a key? I thought it was 12? See how much I know about semi-tones)

I found your mention of how to determine where to play the chords especially encouraging, because I had found myself playing them in that manner, to get the sound I want.

One challenge I've had transcribing the Sheet music is get my 'rests' and timing right in Guitar Pro. I'd be more than happy for any suggestions on that one too.

Again, thanks for a great lesson.


   
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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

This article is very good, and one of the better explainations I've seen on building a Chord Melody from the Lead Sheet.
Thank for your kind remarks. :)
First question, is there tool, (Powertab, Guitar Pro 5) that makes it easy to shift the notes by an Ocatve?
I think Powertab will do it, GP is a bit more complicated, but in the long run, I found it much easier to use. The downside is that GP costs and Powertab doesn't.
One of the major advantages of GP is that, if you are working from standard notation, you can enter that into GP, whereas Powertab only allows you to enter tab.
I found that Guitar Pro has an easy way of shifting keys, the Sheet music is in F, so any paticular merit of going to a G instead of E? (Also 2 semitones raises it a key? I thought it was 12? See how much I know about semi-tones)
F contains one flat (Bb), which may, very well, be a chord that need to be played. G has one sharp (F#) and E has 4 (F#, C#, G#, A#), so you may want to consider whether you want to be stuck with playing C# or whatever, in your melody. If oyu're changing key, a little experimentation is called for.
Changing key may mean moving one or two semitones. Moving from A-B, C-D, D-E, F-G and G-A are all wholetones, whereas moving from B-C or E-F are semitones. Moving 12 semitones would move you an entire octave.
I found your mention of how to determine where to play the chords especially encouraging, because I had found myself playing them in that manner, to get the sound I want.
I didn't know any better - I just went for what sounded logical :wink: - honest!
One challenge I've had transcribing the Sheet music is get my 'rests' and timing right in Guitar Pro. I'd be more than happy for any suggestions on that one too.
Yes, GP does make "rests" a bit of a chore. It doesn't seem to allow you to determine what rest you need to put in, like it does with notes. What I found useful was that GP will automatically select the right rest, if the bar is otherwise complete. So enter the notes, but where you'd have a rest, put a note of the same value as the rest (doesn't matter what note, it's only temporary). When you've filled the bar, mark the temporary note and click on the "rest" symbol - GP will put in the correct value rest.
Again, thanks for a great lesson.
Again, thanks, RedFan.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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(@redsfan75)
Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 16
Topic starter  

I'm posting here, instead of a private message just to discuss, and hopefully we can all learn.

Well I've got my music typed into Guitar Pro 5, and I manually got it all moved an octave, and ready to shift it out of F. However when I set the signature to G ( one #) and transpose it 2 semitomes it takes it off the E and B strings, giving me some odd notes.

So just for grins, I didn't change the signature, and did a transpose of 0 and it moved it then too. I exported it out of Guitar Pro and into Powertab and I still get it moving the notes around!

Am I missing a step? Am I not getting my original octave shift right?

Help!

And Thanks!

EDIT
OK I feel stupid. I was setting the automatic fingering tool, that's why my line kept changing!
Now I just have to build my chords!


   
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(@clazon)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 502
 

Having read the article twice now, I still don't understand how you chose which chords should go where?

I mean, I understand that the highest note has to be in the chord, but what else defines what the chord should be?

"Today is what it means to be young..."

(Radiohead, RHCP, Jimi Hendrix - the big 3)


   
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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

The note defines the chord. If I'm playing a C note, I'll use a C chord, instead, but with C in the highest position, so that it can be emphasised, to bring out the melody.
Where the chords were put in was, I think, explained in the article. The piece is in 4/4 so the beat is strong, weak, medium, weak. I decided that each strong and medium beat would get the chord. You don't need to do that, I know there are other ways, but it was my first attempt and that seemed a logical starting point.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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(@clazon)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 502
 

If that's the case, why aren't they all sharps/flats and majors?

Like you said, you use a C9...

"Today is what it means to be young..."

(Radiohead, RHCP, Jimi Hendrix - the big 3)


   
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(@dneck)
Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 630
 

Ya I try to always emphasize melody while playing rhythm. Little things like only hitting the bottom 3 strings or getting bassnotes in can really make a huge difference. And adding the right extensions at the right time. I used to just add sus2's and 4's with reckless abandonment (and still do sometimes) but if the melody note is in the extensions you can really make your rhythm capture the melody.
I still don't understand how you chose which chords should go where?

Well the chord must contain the melody note somewhere, and depending on if its the root, 3rd, 5th, or extension the chord will kinda give it a different flavor. Relative major/minor are important relationships for this since they have those 2 notes that are the same. One progression I noticed the melody would still flow whether I started and/or ended on em or G major, but I found it gave it a real sense of movement when I started on G and let the progression take it to em and then back. It made me realize that the melody really does determine the chord not vice versa.

Id say the most important thing to do while figuring out a chord melody is to hum! You want to figure out how to make your guitar sound like its humming the melody too. And I find it was good practice in the beginning to strum an easy pattern you know and concentrate on controlling your picking, like sometime capture the bass sometimes only pick string 2 and still keep time(just random stuff still you can do whatever you want). Once you get good pick control its a lot easier to pick out the right notes at the right times.

This is one reason I really want a mandolin cause I feel like with 4 (different) strings there would hardly be a time when you couldnt use a string so your rhythm could be very free with less worries about having to mute a string.

Ill check that article out, chord melody is the way to go definetly! It actually made me a better lead guitarist too i think, i find myself throwing chords into leads more (the right chords) which can really have a nice effect.

"And above all, respond to all questions regarding a given song's tonal orientation in the following manner: Hell, it don't matter just kick it off!"
-Chris Thile


   
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