Chords for the Tune


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Sep 1, 2017
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Nakhonratchasima, Thailand
If one knows the melody line for the tune and the key, how does one determine the placement of the chords?

What reference should I look for on the internet to learn how? Book, video? I would like to be able to put at least one chord per measure or two if possible.

Someone please show me or give me a reference because I am lost. I have tried playing the root chord and hearing where or when to change chords, however I have never been successful.
Others will know better, & probably explain it better than me, but here are my thoughts. you are playing in a 'key', it has certain notes, the first note of each bar, & the rest of the notes in the bar, should give you an idea of which chord would be suitable.

i.e. The chord will contain some of the notes that make up the bar.

The notes in the melody drive when the chord changes happen. Sometimes the same chord will be played for several measures of music. At other times, the melody notes will require several chord changes within a single measure. You only change chords when the previous one no longer sounds right, harmonically-speaking, with the melody note. The bigger question then becomes, what chords do you play? Well, that generally depends on what key the song is in. The link at the bottom of my response will take you to a website that lists the five most common chords used in each key. If you know the song’s key, then this chart will help you narrow down the number of chords you will need to try, in order to find out which ones work best where in the song (a process generally done mostly by ear). When you don’t know what key a song is in, one way to find out is to play or sing the notes of the song and when you get to the last note, identify what note it is. For a great many songs, the name of the last note in a song will also be the name of the key the song is in. Hope this helps.

Originally Posted by songwriter32
Hello guys, need your help, I'm a newbie. Need easy guides on turning songs into chords to do my homework online for a cheap music course.

I'm using Chordify for any song. It may turn any music into chords.
To get into the process, read this article first: "Choosing Chords to Fit Your Song Melody" by Gary Ewer.
Some songs are more complicated than others. I would start with some simple 2 chord songs (C and G7) like I's The B'y or Stay All Night (or Google "2 chord songs" if you don't know these).
Start playing C and singing. when the C no longer sounds right, switch to G7. Soon, you will be able to anticipate when the change is coming. Then expand to 3 chord songs, 4 chord songs. . . and you will eventualy be able to sense more complicated changes.
You should also know that there are more than one correct set of changes for a melody line, but that's not something for a beginner to worry about.

Probably the best way to begin is to play the changes that someone else has already figured out. Since you are a beginner, look on the internet for some chord lead sheets.