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View Full Version : I just don't get it - adding harmony to melody



fisher00
01-15-2018, 06:03 PM
I've got a few very basic melody tabs for various tunes, but those tunes sound very ordinary with me plucking at single notes. Are there any general rules I can find for adding harmony to that melody? I've googled some stuff, but I get very lost in those explanations, quickly.

I also do not understand the chord notations that accompany tabs. Are the chords for one player, and the tabs for another? I can't see how I can combine the two myself - that is, the single note on the tab often does not fit the chord pattern.

Confused, as always :)

cheers and thanks

Choirguy
01-15-2018, 06:14 PM
I would guide you to Chord Melody. That adds harmony and melody at the same time, without too much bothering of other details of fingerstyle playing. I would also direct you to Aaron Keim’s book, Fingerstyle Ukulele.

fisher00
01-15-2018, 08:51 PM
Hey, that's great - thanks. For the last 6 years I have never Googled "chord melody". there is another large resource for me. you've helped a lot - thanks!

anthonyg
01-16-2018, 12:40 AM
I've got a few very basic melody tabs for various tunes, but those tunes sound very ordinary with me plucking at single notes. Are there any general rules I can find for adding harmony to that melody? I've googled some stuff, but I get very lost in those explanations, quickly.

I also do not understand the chord notations that accompany tabs. Are the chords for one player, and the tabs for another? I can't see how I can combine the two myself - that is, the single note on the tab often does not fit the chord pattern.

Confused, as always :)

cheers and thanks

When you see tabs with chords what you are seeing are different levels of complexity for the same song. The chords are simple, the tabs are a higher level of complexity. The more complex tabs don't always line up precisely with the simple chords. I play melodies over chords often although I generally start with the chords and work the melody over the chords.

Rules? Start with what key your in and then work out what your scale tone chords are.

Scale tone chords are, I major, II minor, III minor, IV major, V major, VI minor, VII diminished. So for the key of C major its, C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor and B diminished.

Simple songs are usually just the I, IV and V major chords. Next step up is the 3 major chords plus one minor chord. Next step is the 3 majors plus 2 minors. The 3 majors plus 3 minors is a complex song and its VERY rare to see the 7th diminished chord being used.

I have an official repertoire of 75 songs and I have only just decided to add Dance with Me by Orleans which is the first song that I have come across that uses a 7th diminished chord.

Nickie
01-16-2018, 11:33 AM
Coolio! Thanks everyone! Great thread idea, great responses.

Rllink
01-21-2018, 03:43 AM
I don't know how long the OP has been playing ukulele. One thing that I found in my journey was that when something was so confusing for me that I could not progress, I just wasn't ready for it yet. I had not built the foundation. So many times I've put something that seemed beyond my abilities on the shelf for a while and gone back to it later to find that it wasn't near as difficult to understand or do later on after I had grown a bit. Pursuing something that one is not ready for with dogged determination is frustrating. Sometimes it is better to concentrate on the smaller steps that will lead to a series of small successes, rather than place all one's energies in one big failure. I'm just throwing this out for general consumption. But I suffered enough frustrations over the years that I did not need to suffer, so I feel like my experiences might be helpful.

NoyBoy98
03-16-2018, 04:10 AM
Check out the ukulele way. It’s geared directly towards this.

Brad Bordessa
03-16-2018, 07:48 AM
^ ditto

I tried to write an overview of the concept a while back: https://liveukulele.com/lessons/solo-fingerpicking-arrangements/.

Jim Yates
03-17-2018, 08:10 AM
One way of using the chords written over the melody tab is to strum a chord when there is a pause in the melody; a long note or a rest. This was how Maybelle Carter played guitar.
Another way is to stack the melody note on top of the chord, even if the melody note isn't a part of the chord.