Harmonies Of The Major Scale

When notes are sounded together they are in harmony, This can be a choir of voices singing different pitches or the kind of keyboard harmony we have studied in this course. The study of chords, chord construction, and chordal cadences and chord progressions is also called harmony. Here, your study of music theory and songwriting will also be a study of harmony. Below is a review of the basic harmony presented so far.

This system of harmonizing the individual members of scaled by thirds forms the basis and foundation of this course in harmony in theory. Study the information below, and also copy these ideas out in your music writing book.

The graphic below is entitled diatonic harmony but don’t panic, to todays musician diatonic simply means “of and pertaining to the major scale”. Strictly speaking, the major scale is one of the diatonic scales, but the word diatonic certainly implies playing only scale related chords accompanied by scale related melodies.

When each note in the C major scale harmonized in the same manner, by thirds, the series of chords that results are said to be the diatonic chords in the key of C. If you are a little bit famaliar with a musical keyboard, the key of C major is the ‘white key scale’.

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Diatonic Harmony

The series of chords you see just above, as probably the most important bit of information presented so far, is something that has to be memorize. it’s best to memorize these bits of information without question, just like some would memorize chord forms without knowing how to use them. Study the table below until you know the names of all the chords in the key of C, note that all chords have been given a new name. these Roman numeral names will be, extremely important in your study of harmony and theory.

I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
I
C Major
D minor
E minor
F Major
G Major
A minor
B diminished
C Major
tonic
supertonic
mediant
sub dominant
dominant
sub tonic
leading
tonic


 
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I
II
III
IV
V
VI
VII
I
C Major 7
D minor 7
E minor 7
F Major 7
G 7
A minor 7
B minor 7 b5
C Major 7
Maj 7, M7
-7, m7, min7
-7, m7, min7
Maj 7, M7
7
-7, m7, min7

-7b5

tonic

In your music writing notebook the diatonic harmony consisting of triads and the seventh chord harmony consisting of four note seventh chords several times. In this course, this is one instance where rote memorization of what may be abstract thoughts and ideas will have huge payoffs and benefits down the road.

Guitar Wise

When you are done copying down the scale in your notebook, play the exercise below as a series of core changes. Do not play the exercise faster than you can smoothly make clean chord changes strum the court several times and picked the individual notes. Then do this exercise with a sense of rhythm, paying attention to the numerical name of each chord as you listen to it. Finally play along with the animation below and use the animation below is a listening exercise.

Below is the same exercise written out in seventh chords. Playing these chord changes the same way you played the basic open string chords. There are more elegant and smooth ways to play these chords but for now let’s just stick with what we know best, as this is really just a listening exercise.

Understanding Chord Formulas And Spellings Within A Key

The following video introduces the concept of spelling chords and underdstanding chord formulas for all of the chords in a key, not just the one chord. This lesson is in the key of C major of course.
 

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