Muze Online: Lesson 14


Harmonization is the chordal accompaniment to a melody. 

Everyone note in a major scale can have a chord as seen bellow.

c maj harmony names.png

You could use the notes of your melody line and use the chords as shown above. However, there are primary chords, which are more often used because they give the piece musical grounding. These primary chords are I, IV, and V, so in C major this would-be C, F, and G. D minor and A minor are also common chords used in songs. As you can see E minor and B diminished are used less but they can add interesting effects when used. 


If you are in a minor key the primary chords are the same, I, IV, and V. A harmonised C minor scale looks like this. This might change if you decide to use a B natural in the melody, so the chords would look like the bottom progression.

c minor chords.gif

Reharmonization is the technique of taking an existing melodic line and altering the harmony that accompanies it. Typically, a melody is reharmonized to provide musical interest or variety. 

A note can belong to lots of different chords, e.g. C: C major, F, and Am. And all of these chords will give a different affect when played with the melody line, so when reharmoning think about the effect you want. Also for most songs, one chord will cover numerous melodic notes so you also need to consider if the melody line is moving if the chord will clash underneath it. Notes can also belong to chord extensions (7th, 9th, 11th) but we will go into this at a later date. 

Reharmonization is mostly commonly used within jazz music. For this weeks work I want you to listen to these different songs, and have a listen to how different they sound. Are there any bits you think sound very good? Are there any parts you think sound like they clash? 


My favourite things: The Sound of Music 

My favourite things: John Coltrane 

Raindrops keep falling on my head: B.J. Thomas 

Raindrops keep falling on my head: Highline Vocal Jazz 

Next week:

We will be looking at chord extensions and you will see that the more notes in a chord, the more possibilities there are for reharmonization