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29: Melody: Chord Tones

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Lesson 29: Melody: Chord Tones

This lesson introduces the art of creating melodies.

Before taking this lesson, you should know:
To learn about creating your own melodies, we start by studying melodies in existing songs; this is called melodic analysis. Melodic analysis is a big subject, exploring the many different aspects of melodies, for example (these are covered in separate lessons):

Chord Tones

For this lesson, let's start analyzing how individual notes in a melody work with the song's chords and with other notes in the melody. We can divide a melody's notes into:
  • "Anchor notes" (chord tones): More about these below.
  • Embellishing notes: These are relatively "weak" notes which "fill in" between the anchor notes. We'll explore these another time.

Anchor notes. These are the "strong" notes in a melody which sound good "on their own" with the chord that's playing at that moment, generally because they are chord tones. A chord tone is just a tone which can be found in the chord itself. For example:
  1. Let's say the chord playing at a certain moment is C (a "C major triad").
  2. The notes in a C chord are (as I hope you know): C, E, and G.
  3. Therefore, the notes C, E, and G are chord tones at that moment in the song; and you can use any of those notes in your melody at that moment, with confidence that the note will sound good with the chord.

When you understand chord tones, go on to Major Pentatonics, which you'll need for embellishing tones.

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1: Introduction
2: Practicing Songwriting
3: Pitch Names
4: Letters Game
5: Sharps & Flats
6: Half-Steps
7: Whole-Steps
8: Steps Game
9: Scales
10: Major Scale 1-2-3
11: Major 1-2-3 Games
12: Major Scale 1-5
13: Major 1-5 Games
14: Chords: Major Triads
15: Major Triad Games
16: Minor Triads
17: Minor Triad Games
18: Major Scale 1-8
19: Major Scale Games
20: Scales Above 8
21: What Next
22: Keys
23: Roman Numeral Chords
24: Diatonic Triads
25: Using Diatonics
26: Tonic Function
27: Subdominant & Dominant
28: Diatonic Function Analysis
29: Melody: Chord Tones
30: Treble Staff
31: Treble Staff Game
32: Time: Beats & Measures
33: Note Lengths
34: Tied & Dotted Notes
35: Rhythm: Rests
36: 7th Chords
37: 7ths Games
38: Pitch & Frequency

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