Chords and melodies are important elements of music. Songs played over different instruments usually include a melody line that is played over a series of chord progressions. Chords and melodies are often processed together for a song and it involves one instrument playing chord while the other use plays melody at a varied octave. Although both of these primary elements of a song can be processed together over a single instrument such as a piano or a keyboard. In order to do that, a pianist needs to have knowledge of both chords and melodies. Without proper knowledge, it may be the most difficult task for a pianist to work on chords and melody together.
Knowing about Chords and Melodies on piano
Chords are combined to form sound pitches and it includes use of three varied pitches at least. A chord progression is based on a series of chords. Different pitches are combined together and a chord progression is designed on one or more than one instruments.
Chords on Piano: Piano is an instrument designed with white and black keys that make up for complete or half-step keys. Chords begin with a note and is usually a combination of various notes including both whole and half-step. A basic chord includes three notes termed as triad on piano. Chords are based around notes and the starting note of a chord is the root note that may be major or minor key of the song.
Melody is known as a line of pitch that a musician can play with one or more than one instrument. Melodies are typically higher in sound pitch.
Melody on Piano: Similar to the importance of chord for piece of music on piano, melody is also essential for that music to sound complete. A pianist would play melody with his right hand while the supporting chords would be played with his left one. All the different kinds of melodies can be played on piano with manipulation of various keys and notes.
How does the melody relate to the chords?
Chordstones are usually the ones that are designed within the same chord progression. For processing any melody, you need to know which chord tones would sound good within the same chord progression. Melody and chords are interlinked and the best idea would be to base your melody on piano chords. Stronger beats, longer durations and a level of sustained notes should be focused. Chord tones are spread out from one chord to another and those movements needs to be understood.
Although apart from these chord based melodies, a pianist may design melodies with step movements without use of chord tones. Those melodies would be separate from the chords that are played and they would be form base for an effective fluid transition. Chord progressions and melodies overlap with a dimension that is linear for both of them and it moves over time. The main difference between two is that chord progression includes multiple lines of sound pitches while melody is based on a single line.
Tips for adding Chords to Melodies:
Adding chords to melodies involve different steps and tips that should be followed. For memorizing chord and adding those chords to melodies would need you to quickly yet carefully change keys. This could be achieved with continued practice and you will find doing that much easier if you learn with focus. Adding chords to melodies would make your music even more expressive and brighter.
Here are some tips for pianists to follow for adding chords to melodies on this beautiful instrument:
- Right hand of the pianist would be playing melody whereas the left hand would be responsible for taking care of chords. A pianist may include broken chords or unified chords for playing a melody in the scale. But both hands co-ordination would be needed.
- First thing that you need to do is to learn the basic chord that needs to be played for a particular melody. For finding key of any song, a pianist must have basic knowledge of theory and technique.
- You may not change the melody of a track but you would need to work out chords to suit that melody. That is you would need to make chords that would work along your melody and should not clash with melody. This could be done in a variety of ways. Understanding of notes of a melody would help you get better with the selection of chords.
1. Finding the Chords that would fit Melody:
- Try to figure out the key of that melody and it would make your work with chords much easier as you will be able to pick up chords from that key.
- Also keep a track of starting and ending notes of your melody. Usually the most dominant chord of the key is the one that is used in the beginning and at the end of a melody. So figure that out in order to get help with addition of chords.
- For example the song as G Major key, you can try adding a C major chord that is C, E, G or a G major chord that is G, B, D in the form of broken chords. These chords may fit well unless the song that you are playing is really complicated one.
- Based on the key of songs, find the major chords. Remember that the most useful chords of both major and minor scale are usually the ones that are built on I, IV and V steps of the scale. These chords are also termed as Tonic, Sub-dominant and Dominant. Selection of these chords again is based on the key of song.
- Whichever method you choose for selection of chords, once you are done with selection of chords; write down those chords over words with the use of chord progression. I and V chords are commonly used for beginning. The tonic C Major would be C, E, G and dominant G Major would be G, B, D. Choose a chord progression to be used depending upon which one sounds better with your melody. You may use them by repeating chords to the beat and notice which ones appear better. You may even mix them to make your melody sound better.
2. Sequence of Selected Chords with your Melody:
- Usually it is easiest to fit the first chord and also the last one that would complete your composition. Usually the last one is Tonic (I) and it is also the last one but before ending with Tonic (I), a Dominant (V) is added. Although this sequencing would truly depend upon what looks good with your melody.
- It might be more useful for you to know that as you follow V-I, often a dominant chord sounds well if it has subdominant (IV) before it.
- So you get a good sequence for your chords that goes like IV-V-I (subdominant, dominant and followed by tonic).
- Follow this sequence only if it sounds good with your melody and must not be forced into it.
- Write your chords and melody down, if you are not a musician that loves to read music. Melodies and chords could be blended for further improvisation but the steps highlighted here would give you a beginning that later you can experiment to make improvements.
- In order to experiment well with chords and melodies on piano, a pianist must have knowledge of musical theory.
- The keys that are linked with sharps and flats are the ones that are usually more involved in the process of choosing chords for an excellent sound progression.
- Some chords may conflict with melody and thus you may select chords based on what goes well with your melody.
- For those playing chords with one hand and melody with other, it would be a difficult process but practice would make things run smoothly and easily.
For adding chords to your existing melody, you need to have understanding of chords with piano along with knowledge of notes. Both melody and chords are building blocks of your musical journey. Correct use of chords within a melody would enable you to create a beautiful sounding musical piece. Addition of chords add texture and expression to your melody. It gives rhythm for your song so working on it would help you master well on a song played over piano. Learn the basic structures of chords and experiment their use for a melody.