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View Full Version : Let's talk chord/melody



KenjiBeast
11-30-2009, 07:47 PM
So I've been working at FaceMeltingUkulele's adaption of "Little Wing" and it's really opened up to me this neat new world of rhythm/lead playing. It's, uh, sort of blowing my mind.

Obviously, there are a lot of different styles within that idiom, of which Hendrix's funky little ornaments are only the tip of the iceberg.

What I'm looking for are any resources concerning this incredibly exciting little technique.. Now that I've been exposed to it, I'd like to figure out how to arrange pieces similar to (but not derivative from) "Little Wing", etc.. I'd also like to hear some of your experiences/opinions regarding the technique. Cheers!

phanzo
11-30-2009, 07:54 PM
Aldrine played a couple Hendrix songs in his live stream tonight. You may want to ask him. Unfortunately, he doesnt spend to much time on the forums so you may be better off emailing him at askaldrine@gmail.com. I'm sure you could learn some good things from the UU Soloing DVD as well (which I'm considering ordering myself). I'm sure there's plenty of people on here though that will be able to help you otherwise. Good Luck :D

clayton56
11-30-2009, 09:48 PM
I've seen some books about guitar chord/melody that use an approach similar to what many ukists do. Basically you play phrases, and end each phrase with a chord instead of just the one note.

I like another approach on banjo and guitar, which is to play a new chord for each melody note. You don't think in terms of phrases. The chord contains the melody note and you just accentuate it. Piano players do this all the time.

The first method is good for faster stuff, and the second is better for ballads. The first method can be played with a flatpick, while the second depends on fingerpicking. Because of a uke's limited range, the first method will probably work out better. Either way, the idea is to define the chord as you play the melody.

KenjiBeast
12-01-2009, 06:50 AM
Thanks folks! I'll see if I can't get in touch with Mr. Aldrine, lol. :D

Tsani
12-01-2009, 07:08 AM
I do a combination of chording and picking. I do not necessarily chord at the beginning or end of a phrase, but I alternate between chords and picked riffs or phrases throughout.

You can chord every note, but in my opinion that is both difficult to do and can be a bit boring. Especially when you hit a phrase that is faster it makes more sense to me to pick single notes. Alternatively if you do picking only it seems to me to be very "bare bones" or plain without introducing some harmonies.

Just my opinion.

RevWill
12-01-2009, 07:18 AM
You can learn a ton of stuff about chord melodies from Dominator. His uke tabs are the bomb.

You can get a sense of how chord melodies work by working your way through his "Something" youtube tutorial. Chord melodies work by choosing chord inversions (same chord, different positions on the neck) that emphasize the melody note, usually as the highest note in the chord. (not ALWAYS, but usually.) Single-note runs and double-stops (two-note chords) often play parts of the melody punctuated by full chords. And yes, single notes and effective space between the notes add to the melodic beauty of a chord melody arrangement.

I think of it this way - you want to play chords and runs that imply the melody rather than play it outright.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-01-2009, 08:58 AM
You can learn a ton of stuff about chord melodies from Dominator. His uke tabs are the bomb.

You can get a sense of how chord melodies work by working your way through his "Something" youtube tutorial. Chord melodies work by choosing chord inversions (same chord, different positions on the neck) that emphasize the melody note, usually as the highest note in the chord. (not ALWAYS, but usually.) Single-note runs and double-stops (two-note chords) often play parts of the melody punctuated by full chords. And yes, single notes and effective space between the notes add to the melodic beauty of a chord melody arrangement.

I think of it this way - you want to play chords and runs that imply the melody rather than play it outright.

Thanks for your concise explanation. So in order to do it effectively you need to know all the second and third positions of the chords you'll be playing?

KenjiBeast
12-01-2009, 06:55 PM
Thanks for your help everybody! :)


Thanks for your concise explanation. So in order to do it effectively you need to know all the second and third positions of the chords you'll be playing?

That's essentially the gist of it, I think.. Along with any nonchord tones that might make up the melody.

clayton56
12-01-2009, 11:12 PM
That's essentially the gist of it, I think.. Along with any nonchord tones that might make up the melody.

Really, there aren't any non-chord tones, every possible note, with a triad, makes some chord. It helps to label as many as you can.

For example lots of jazz melodies use 9ths, so you would take a -7 chord in the original arrangement and change it to a -9 to help you find the melody note. It's like shorthand, so instead of trying to think of where to find a D in your C chord, you hit a C9, and it's already there.

Also, there are several ways to define the chords, with arpeggios, alternating strings, pinching, and brushing, to make it interesting. And, if you're staying on the same chord for a measure or more, change your low note from the root to the fifth to make a rudimentary bass part (easier on guitars).

Be careful making too many extra runs and phrases because you can obscure the melody that way. It's not boring if you play it straight.