Harmony notes/chords

Ruth Lawrence
Ruth Lawrence
@ruth-lawrence
7 years ago
41 posts

A simple way to add a little harmony here and there when playing the melody is to find on the middle string a harmonising note - it's usually the adjacent fret plus one over and play it at the same time as the melody.

So.. if your 4th finger was on the melody string, then your index finger would hop over to the middle string and be diagonal to the melody string fret with a gap of 1 fret inbetween.It's a clumsy explanation but if you try it you'll know immediately if it's wrong or right. I think this note on the middle string is the 3rd above whatever you're playing on the melody. Or the 5th? I've never gotten technical about it.

What the other posts were getting at was substituting chords which can sound very interesting (as long as you know what you're doing! lol) One easy way to approach it might be to substitute a minor chord for a major chord occasionally - at the end of a section for eg.

Which reminds me, the friends I play with are now doing You Are My Sunshine. It was decided to play the verses in minor keys and keep the chorus in the major keys. Definitely a different slant on the song! But you know the lyrics are a little on the dark side...

Mandy
Mandy
@mandy
7 years ago
140 posts

Yeah for some reason I can do it much easier on my banjo. That's my primary instrument and I can pretty much find anything I need on it without a problem. Just wanting to do the same on dulcimer and I'm probably just getting in my own way about it. Thanks for all the responses.

Wout Blommers
Wout Blommers
@wout-blommers
7 years ago
97 posts

Just a thought...

Once there was melody and harmony. Chords (grips) and chord names came later.

In my first band back in the 1960tiesthe leadsinger played the guitar. He used very unusual chords. They sounded wonderfull. He didn't know what name they had. I had to tell him whenwritting the song down. He heard what the harmony had to be and usrd trial-and-errorto found out the grip. Yep, he was very, very musical.

You can do the same playing simple songs on the dulcimer. Play the melody and search for the spots where a chord must be played. Play the melody note and try to find on the other two strings which two notes sound the best together with it.

In this way you will learn not knowing to understand music, but hearing to understand music.

Music theory is not music itself: it is just a way to talk (and think) about music inthat way others who speak the same musical language will understand it. Music theory is frozen music practice. When something sounds good it is good and the theory will follow much later Smile.gif

Mandy
Mandy
@mandy
7 years ago
140 posts

Ok yes I get it John, thanks so much.

John Astor
John Astor
@john-astor
7 years ago
3 posts

What a minute! your playing a G and D chord when your instrument is tuned to D A D, that's in the key of D. D is you're lead key

So the chords are D Em F# G A Bm

We need to do that stuff in perspective to the D chord and not the G. See if you can do it by yourself from my comment earlier about the key of G

The notes in the key of D are

D E F# G A B C# D

G was this

G A B C D E F# G

Mandy said:

Hey John, yes that makes perfect sense. I mostly play in DAD so I'd be G on 3rd fret. Thanks. So for the G chord since G B and D make up the chord those make sense. But what I don't get is how the A and the E work. How do I find out these notes using other chords without knowing theory? Hope that made sense to you?

John Astor
John Astor
@john-astor
7 years ago
3 posts

It would help if we had a video room where we could share, but here goes.

All the notes in a scale work well with chords that are made up from that scale. Some notes work better than others. for example with a G chord, the notes of that chord are a solid and strong fit. With the A and the D notes, if you can imagine the black keys on a piano and when you play them randomly it all sounds kind of nice. Those notes make up what's called a pentatonic scale (5 note scale) that used in blues, rock, folk, country and many times without the artist even realizing it, they just sound kind of nice.

the reason, technically that they work well is a little more complex but it comes from the way youu can make a major chord with them. A G, when you add an E to it is called a G6 chord, A G when you add a A to it (preferably note right next to the G but higher up) is called a G major 9 chord.

When Skip mentioned that the F# is nice, he was really right. When you add a F# to a G chord you get G major 7. So those notes give our G chord a different name by adding them to each of them. From a 3 note chord, we now have 4 note chords, a little thicker and a little more harmonically involved.

Let's see, the A is one up from the G so that's there and the E is 2 down or 6 up from the G.

Skip
Skip
@skip
7 years ago
286 posts

The numbering system is pretty straight forward, you probably know most if it already.

1--2--3--4--5--6---7----8 The boldunderlined are the notes that make up triads and 7ths.

D--E-F#-G--A--B--C#---DTheboldare the notes in the chord.

I-- ii-iii-IV--V--vi-vii0-octave, the bold are the major chords, italics is a dim.

Mandy
Mandy
@mandy
7 years ago
140 posts

Hey John, yes that makes perfect sense. I mostly play in DAD so I'd be G on 3rd fret. Thanks. So for the G chord since G B and D make up the chord those make sense. But what I don't get is how the A and the E work. How do I find out these notes using other chords without knowing theory? Hope that made sense to you?

John Astor
John Astor
@john-astor
7 years ago
3 posts

Hi Mandy,

If I understand your inquiry about the chords that naturally work well (meaning the harmony chords first) with G and D. I think you're looking for this. If we go up one at a time from G, the chords would be

G Am Bm C D Em and a funny chord that I would leave out for now

So if you have a G, the notes in that G chord are G, B and D

The notes in the D chord are D, F# and A

Now if your playing the G chord or the D chord you could use any note in that G scale (depending if your G is an open string or on the 3rd fret of your dulcimer). But some work better than others. With the G chord, for example G, A, B, D, E notes work really well and the others C and F (if your G is an open string) ,or F# (if your G is on the 3rd fret)work good but mostly in passing.If your G is open, you may want to be careful with that F, it may not work.

For the D chord, we're still in thekey of G so for D, the notes that work really well are D, E, F#, A and B.

You're right to ask about the harmony and harmonic relation so I'm sure that you'll find your way by........playing!!

Maybe this is a bit convoluted but I hope this helps you out.

Mandy
Mandy
@mandy
7 years ago
140 posts

Yeah totally lost on all that. Yeah I knew I was getting in over my head with that question. I just don't know theory so I just try things out.

Skip
Skip
@skip
7 years ago
286 posts

Are you familiar with naming chords by Roman numbers, eg., I chord, ii chord, etc.? If you are, try using the ii and/or vi chords [MOOC info]. ii chord in D is based on the E [EGB, (Eminor)], vi chord is based on B [BDF# (Bminor)]. In G, ii is based on A [ACE, (minor)] and vi is based on E. I don't remember exactly how they're used, as replacements for the IV/V chords or in line with them. You could also try using the dom 7ths, the basic 3 note triad plus the flatted 7th, in place of the major chord, for 3 strings try dropping the 5th [last note] of the triad, eg., D=DF#A; D7 = DF#AC; 3 stringer = DF#C. You could also try dropping the 3rd instead of the 5th, eg., DAC. Major 7ths may work, basic triad plus 7th, eg., DFAC#.Frown.gifGrin.gifGrin.gif

This is all stuff I just learned so I don't really know how well it will work.

From what I learned in the recent MOOC, chords are, essentially, harmony, if that helps.

Mandy
Mandy
@mandy
7 years ago
140 posts

Ok so I'm wanting to branch out in my playing more. Anyone have suggestions on how to find the harmony notes and chords without getting in too deep in the music theory department? Really looking to play more back up and variations within what I'm already doing to add in more instruments. I can do the basic stuff (play the same chords further up the neck, play the melody notes on the bass string kind of stuff) but am looking to expand more. Thanks. I could be just digging myself into a hole with this question but I'm living on the edge anyway so why not. LOL.Grin.gif

As an example let's say the main chords the song uses are G and D. What would be considered the harmony notes/chords of those 2 chords?


updated by @mandy: 06/11/15 07:41:51AM