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#599364 - 05/27/20 02:53 PM [Songwriting] chord notes clashing with melody notes
Registered: 02/05/20
Posts: 7
melodist Offline
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Registered: 02/05/20
Posts: 7
Hi, folks. Hope you are doing great. I am learning the chord progression. I’m having big trouble with it. Assume I wrote a melody and wrote a chord progression to the melody. It seems to me the purpose of a chord is to provide guidance for accompaniment. Every tutorial I came across says - write C chord for a measure that has C E G. But most measures don’t just have the chord notes. What if it has an F in it and I’m trying to apply my favorite arpeggio pattern I learned to the melody. The E and F will clash. It sounds awful. This is only the semi-tone interval, and there are tritone and two-semi-tone intervals and four-semi-tone intervals and the sharps and flats. Let’s say another violinist or a guitarist is looking at the chord and trying to play along, there is possibility his E will clash with the F too. Out of frustration, I bought Band-In-A-Box, thinking maybe the pros know how to do it. The result is awful, one clashing sound after another. No one talks about this issue. I see those instructors who give tutorials fly through with ease with no clashing sound. There must be a way of doing this.

Thanks a lot for your input.

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#599368 - 05/27/20 03:11 PM [Songwriting] Re: chord notes clashing with melody notes [Re: melodist]
Registered: 02/05/15
Posts: 5027
Pipeline Offline
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Registered: 02/05/15
Posts: 5027
I'm a technician rather than a musician so I use RapidComposer that will show chord notes green, scale notes blue and out or passing notes as red.
It will snap any notes to chord or scale:


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#599378 - 05/27/20 03:59 PM [Songwriting] Re: chord notes clashing with melody notes [Re: melodist]
Registered: 08/21/18
Posts: 1036
Tangmo Offline
Expert

Registered: 08/21/18
Posts: 1036
You had a previous thread about this (or along these lines). I blathered on for paragraphs about chord theory, then a PG staff person came and told you how to load your melody and let BIAB find the chords for you. Made me look like a pompous fool, but I left my posts there so others would know to beware of my replies.

The BIAB method is not fool-proof, because musical decisions are (or can be) complex and you can't ALWAYS just turn it over to a computer. But it will definitely get you started, and may do flawless.

Do you play an instrument? Can you play chords on it, like guitar or piano? This is how most of "us" learned how chords work, even if we are not really proficient on the instrument or even know the names of the notes. BIAB assumes a certain level of knowledge about chords. After all, its main feature and most basic command is "enter chords".

Load your melody. Let BIAB choose some chords for you, and experiment. I'd maybe start with a single simple chording instrument (guitar or piano, most likely) playing simple rhythms--held chords may work best--and a simple bass. This will keep the arrangement free of "grace notes", "blue notes" and passing tones, for the most part. In this way, you can turn BIAB into your "chording instrument" to learn chords and--not to forget--where to place them. I think all of "us" have experienced the frustration of not being able to find the "right" chord.

This is essentially what I'm doing now, in trying to expand my pallete of progressions.

There may be better ways--even within BIAB--but that scenario mimics what most of "us" did to learn chords for songs...and still do, in many cases.




Edited by Tangmo (05/27/20 04:20 PM)
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#599424 - 05/28/20 02:20 AM [Songwriting] Re: chord notes clashing with melody notes [Re: melodist]
Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 16566
Loc: Australia
Noel96 Offline
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Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 16566
Loc: Australia
Here's my two cents worth...

Good melodies will nearly always have a tug-o'-war happening between consonance and dissonance with the harmony. This is how music works.

Often the non-harmonic tones -- such as the F you mention against a C chord -- are on non-accented notes. By this I mean, for example, in 4/4, the main accents are beats 1, 2, 3, 4 and the strength of these accents are strong, weak, medium strong, weak. So if one wants to use a non-harmonic tone for a melody that has 4 notes in a bar, beats 2 and 4 are good places to put it.

What happens when there are eight notes in a 4/4 time signature?

It's turns out that the "strong, weak, medium strong, weak (simplified to SWMW)" works for most groups of four evenly spaced notes.

For example, with eight notes in 4/4, there are two melodic groups of SWMW -- one for the notes on beats 1 and 2 of the bar and then and a second group of SWMW for the notes on beats 3 and 4 of the bar. When fitting lyrics to music, which I have been doing a great deal over recent years, it's very important to be aware of these melodic sub-groups and the musical strengths of the various notes within them so that lyrics sit comfortably.

Again... in this example the weak beats are a good places to locate the non-harmonic tones.

That said, it's always possible to put non-harmonic tones on strong beats. To do this, they nearly always resolve down by either a tone or semitone to the closest chord tone. Mozart delighted in such melodic notes. They are called appogiaturas or accented non-harmonic tones.

I don't know if these thoughts will help, but they might give you some ideas as to where you can being looking for answers.

Regards,
Noel
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#599459 - 05/28/20 06:38 AM [Songwriting] Re: chord notes clashing with melody notes [Re: melodist]
Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 13897
Loc: Hamlin NY
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 13897
Loc: Hamlin NY
Also this is where some music theory comes into play. In the example where a F clashes with the C chord the chord may not be a C. It could be a Csus4 or maybe a FMaj9, or a G7sus4,etc. Also maybe the F is just a passing note that move quickly to a chord note? There are a number of possibilities here.

What can determine the complexity of the chord structure is the songs genre. A jazz song could incorporate more complex chords than say a rock or country song. However that is not written in stone.

Without some chord and chord progression knowledge all one can do is to use the chord builder and search until something sounds good or start learning some music theory.

YMMV

Good luck.



Edited by MarioD (05/28/20 10:32 AM)
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#599483 - 05/28/20 08:02 AM [Songwriting] Re: chord notes clashing with melody notes [Re: melodist]
Registered: 08/21/18
Posts: 1036
Tangmo Offline
Expert

Registered: 08/21/18
Posts: 1036
An E and F close together will sound one way. An E and F in different octaves will sound another way (and less dissonant). Two violins playing together should choose between the two (at the least) and not worry so much about chords at all. Your guitar player only "really" needs to know about the chords if (s)he is playing chords (or chord tone soloing). Maybe that takes some pressure off?

If I was talking to you on the bus, I'd say buy you a ukulele and a songbook with simple uke chords (with diagrams) and start playing. I did, and then moved to guitar. I still don't know the notes in most chords, but I can play them by making the shapes and hear what they sound like in context. A LOT of "theory" can be absorbed just from playing chords and learning their names.
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#599523 - 05/28/20 11:09 AM [Songwriting] Re: chord notes clashing with melody notes [Re: melodist]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 7002
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 7002
The options I see right off the bat is to drop one of the offending notes or to rearrange the melody so that it doesn't use the note or put it in a different octave.

But when it comes down to it, it all depends on the context of the notes around it. When came before and what comes after. In music, the question is, are there really any bad intervals or just poorly placed intervals? I contend there is only the latter.
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