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33: Melody: Chord Tones

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Lesson 33: 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 in Lesson 42: Embellishing Tones.

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.


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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: Keys
21: Roman Numeral Chords
22: Scales Above 8
23: Diatonic Triads
24: Using Diatonics
25: Tonic Function
26: Subdominant & Dominant
27: Diatonic Function Analysis
28: Natural Minor Scale
29: Natural Minor Games
30: Minor Key Triads
31: 7th Chords
32: 7ths Games
33: Melody: Chord Tones
34: Treble Staff
35: Treble Staff Game
36: Time: Beats & Measures
37: Note Lengths
38: Tied & Dotted Notes
39: Rhythm: Rests
40: Non-Root-Bass Chords
41: Major Pentatonic Scale
42: Embellishing Tones
43: Melody Rhythm: Rolling Stone
44: Pitch & Frequency

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