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"Mary" Melody Notes As Chord Tones

 

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Mary Had A Little Lamb: Learning To Orchestrate

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Now we want to associate an appropriate scale degree as a bass note to play along with each melody note. Start by looking for groupings that fall within a single chord. The first note is an E (scale degree 3) which is part of a C major chord. So, for a bass note I use another note that is also part of the C major chord, C (scale degree 1). This is also useful because as the beginning of the song it helps establish the key of the song firmly (as if "saying" through music, "THIS is the beginning of the song").

Next up is the note D (scale degree 2), which is found in a G major chord. So I look for an appropriate note from the G major chord to use as a bass note. In this case I chose another D an octave lower. I could have also used a G or a B, but I wanted to create a technique known as In this lesson we are going to add notes (a "second voice" to play along with the melody line (the "first voice"). In this case we are going to create a bass line to accompany our melody.

The idea is to analyze the melody notes from the perspective of harmony (i.e. chordal implications). The tune is in the key of C Major. We will need to know two chords: the tonic (I) or "one chord" and the dominant (V) or "five chord". The notes of the tonic (the "one chord"; or using the Roman numeral system, the "I" chord) chord, C major are:

C (1st scale degree; or Root note)
E (3rd scale degree)
G (5th scale degree)

The notes of the dominant chord (G major, the "five chord"; or "V" chord) are:

G (5th scale degree in C major scale)
E (3rd scale degree in C major scale)
D (2nd scale degree in C major scale)

Now we want to associate an appropriate scale degree as a bass note to play along with each melody note. Start by look for groupings that fall within a single chord.

The first note of the melody is an E (scale degree 3) which is part of a C major chord. So, for a bass note I use another note that is also part of the C major chord, C (scale degree 1). This is also useful because as the beginning of the song it helps establish the key of the song firmly, as to say through music, "THIS is the beginning of the song."

Next up is the note D (scale degree 2), which is found in a G major chord. So I look for an appropriate note from the G major chord to use as a bass note.

Later in the piece I will also use an A minor chord. I will use the note E which is found in an A minor chord. The A minor chord is also found in the key of C major as the "six chord" or (vi).

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