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Thread: Harmonizing a Scale and Chords involved in a Scale

  1. #1
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    Harmonizing a Scale and Chords involved in a Scale

    What is "harmonizing a scale"? How do you do it?

    Also, how will you know what chords will work on a given scale? All I know is that all the notes included in the scale can be used as chords but how will you know if the chord you have to use is a major, minor, diminished, or add9 or whatever?

  2. #2
    Nice guy MSH1601's Avatar
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    good question, I'm awaiting an answer aswell.
    Mark Hitchen

  3. #3
    Senior Citizen Cuno's Avatar
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    It means to play 2 or more notes at the same time, from that same scale. Say that you want to harmonize C-major scale in sixths, then you'll be playing C and A, D and B, E and C, F and D, G and E, A and F, B and G. The most common harmonization is 3rd and 6th, i think. The attached file is the C major harmonized in 6ths, and then in 3rds. I just recorded it live using the mic in my powerbook to illustrate, hence the sound...
    Attached Files Attached Files

  4. #4
    Mode Rator Zatz's Avatar
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    Zadd9 -> A6 -> T#9b5 -> Zmaj7

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    Yea, and also you can take all 12 notes in only one Octave, and, choose any ONE of them, and it is possible to form more than a dozen common chords-using that One note as Root!..... OH, and you still have another 11 notes on which you can form those same common chords Thats only around 144 common chords to start with..sorry about that.......Lee. I'll tell you more?

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    Triads from a scale is easy. But extensions can be done by comparing chord formulas to mode formulas of the scale. IOW, modes outline the chords of a scale.

    There are softwares that have done this for all chords and scales.

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    Hey,

    There are a lot of possibilities for harmonizing the notes in a scale. Usually just messing around with adding 3rds, 4ths, 6th, etc. can give you some pretty cool sounds.

    One way you can harmonize a scale is by looking at what degree in the scale you are playing. That way you can tell whether you should be harmonizing minor or major.

    It's like this:

    Degrees in a major scale:
    (scale degrees) I II III IV V VI VII
    (Maj, min, or dim) Maj Min Min maj Maj Min Dim

    Min being Flat 3rd
    Maj being Major 3rd
    Dim Being flat 3rd


    Let me know if that helps at all.

  8. #8
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Good answers, however, I take a more simple approach to your question...
    What is "harmonizing a scale"? How do you do it?
    Also, how will you know what chords will work on a given scale? All I know is that all the notes included in the scale can be used as chords but how will you know if the chord you have to use is a major, minor, diminished, or add9 or whatever?
    In the context of your question we harmonize a scale by playing chords in the background. That brings up the question which ones? If we are to harmonize a major scale -- and to come up with the chords for that major scale/key we use the key structure "formula" I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, viidim, I and if you have a minor scale it's key structure would be; i, iidim, III, iv, v, VI. VII. Upper case numbers will be major chords and lower case numbers will be minor chords and the one ending with the "dim" will be the diminished chord. That answers your question about which ones will be minor, major diminished, etc.

    So..... Lets take the G major scale; G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G and apply the I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, viidim key structure to the scale and come up with the chords in the key of G; G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, F#dim, G. OK that gave us the basic chords that can be used to harmonize the G major scale. Now as to the extensions like the add9 you asked about -- once you have the basic chords the flavor or color (extensions) can be added where ever you think they are needed. Basic chord first then help yourself to all the flavor or color you want.

    OK, which chords can I use to harmonize a melody being played from the notes of the G scale? The answer is any of the above key of G chords will harmonize with the notes of the G Major scale. As any chord within the same key will sound OK with any other chord from that same key. So as long as you stay within the scale/key there is not a lot of bad you can do.

    OK, so I won't be doing a lot of bad stuff, but which ones will really sound good with each other?

    Now that I think is what you wanted to know.

    And that brings us to what chord progressions work well. Seem to remember Zata's post had several examples of progressions that could be used. There are hundreds of combinations. My favorite stand by - can not go wrong progressions are:
    I IV V I
    I vi ii V I
    ii V I
    And the list goes on and on. For minor progressions pretty much the same however I IV V I would now be i, iv v i.

    Hope that shed a little different light on the subject - and helped with the OP.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 12-14-2007 at 09:02 PM.

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    Unless you can fully describe exactly what you mean by harmonising a scale then, you will not recieve any one correct answer to your query, what you will recieve is multiple theoretical answers any of which could be correct!,depending on how the advisors interpret your vague query.

  10. #10
    Did I say that out loud ? joeyd929's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leegordo
    Unless you can fully describe exactly what you mean by harmonising a scale then, you will not recieve any one correct answer to your query, what you will recieve is multiple theoretical answers any of which could be correct!,depending on how the advisors interpret your vague query.
    Well, here is my 2 cents...

    A good place to start is the Major scale, sometimes called the ionian mode. Notes of the scale are C D E F G A B C for this example.

    If you stack triads off of each note you get 7 chords, the 8th being a repeat one octave higher. I am assuming you know what a triad is, it's kind of important.

    It follows a natural logic that falls into place just like math or something. Keep in mind, this is only a starting foundation but many song arrangements can be utilized and re-harmonized by leaving out and/or adding chord tones such as altered notes. (b5 #5, #9..etc..etc..) Chord substitution can also be used to harmonize sometimes.

    My point is that this is a good place to start because once you understand this concept you can move on to other scales to see what the chord tones are. Of course, this example only utilizes 3 note chords.

    You can do quartal (4 note) chords but then things change a little bit in the natural order..

    I chord: C E G (Major triad) (4 note chord is Major 7) (ionoan)

    II chord: D F A (minor triad) (4 note chord is minor 7) (dorian)

    III chord: E G B (minor triad) (4 note chord is minor 7) (phrygian)

    IV chord: F A C (Major triad) (4 note chord is Major 7) (lydian)

    V chord: G B D (Major triad) (4 note chord is Dominant 7) (mixolydian)

    VI chord: A C E (minor triad) (4 note chord is minor 7) (aeolian)

    VII chord: B D F (diminished triad) (4 note chord is minor 7b5 or half diminished (locrian)

    Based on how each of the musical keys are structured, this all falls into place all by itself, very cool....indeed.

  11. #11
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Little more if you are still interested ------
    http://www.guitarlodge.com/forums/gu...486#post311486

    This string goes into detail as to which chord progression you may want to use, i.e. which chords like to go to what other chord and which chords sound good with each other.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 12-18-2007 at 03:40 PM.

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    chord extensions and minor chord progressions

    " the extensions like the add9 you asked about -- once you have the basic chords the flavor or color (extensions) can be added where ever you think they are needed. Basic chord first then help yourself to all the flavor or color you want.
    And the list goes on and on. For minor progressions pretty much the same however I IV V I would now be i, iv v i."




    Just a couple of things--

    First, extensions of chords is a little more complicated than that. Every chord past a seventh implies the appropriate seventh. For example if you wannt to use a C maj. 9 chord, the 7th must be a major seventh. Dominant and minor chords require the flatted 7th. Also, the 11th will vary according to the chord function.

    Second, the V chord in a major key is still "V" --not v. This is to accommodate the harmonic form of the minor scale.


    Lynne
    www.may-studio-music-lessons.com

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