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  1. #1

    Help Need help finding chords for this melody - Someone?

    Hey everyone..

    I found this old melody of mine and while playing it I tried to put on some chords. I just can't get the right feeling I know I want for this melody.. Its a slow Bluesy Ballad and my thoughts have been on something like D minor Blues.. I would like to hear/see your suggestions to this one? Maybe I could learn something new..

    Thanks.
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  3. #2
    Really interesting.... Most people start with harmony as a basis I'd imagine. You probably are as well. You just don't quite know what it is. :-) Might be interesting to see different peoples takes on it . I know it evokes different things for me each time I look at it. Anyway, none of that is really getting at the real issue : you want to somehow arrive at something close to what you're actually hearing in your "mind's ear". I've got a couple of suggestions for shortcuts to hearing some of them, but not yet.

    I think a good first step might be to get a bass line to it. Try singing while finding a bassline which works with it, or with parts of it. THAT exercise goes way beyond what we could consider "rules", key signatures, or theoretical considerations. I'd be very curious to see what you might come up with. I'd gladly offer suggestions, but I don't want to stifle the muse at this point. We don't even know where she's going. :-)

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. #3
    Nice activity for the forum members with good reharm chops. This'll be fun to see what comes of this.
    I'll do a few later. Cool!
    Thanks Jonas. On first through, it sounds pretty suggestive and gives me good melodic and harmonic indications to work with. Good use of chord structures and pickup notes to suggest chord movement.
    I'll give it a go.
    David

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    Really interesting.... Most people start with harmony as a basis I'd imagine.
    Ornette and Paul Motian and the cats who followed them give good indication of what can be done otherwise. And there's a lot to work with here, plus as long as we can identify some target chord that marks a heavier weighted melodic phrase, bar 6 and 10 for example, then the lead up harmony can even be left to devices of harmonic substitution.
    The short implied ascending phrases in melodic sequences has a hint of pieces like Round Midnite.
    Let's see what we can do.
    David

  6. #5
    A couple of thoughts; when I did a course on harmony, we started out by identifying the phrases in the melody, then looked to end them with a cadence, e.g. perfect/imperfect. Nearly all songs end on a perfect cadence in the home key, and with your tune D natural to C natural doesn't suggest D minor to me, an obvious choice would be V - I in C? A lot of 'bluesy' tunes (i.e. tunes that aren't actually 12 bar blues progressions) use the blues/pentatonic scales a lot in the melody.

  7. #6
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    Maybe in that case I would think of counterpoint...
    not of chords but intervals...
    just a secondary melodic line.. behind it (maybe bass as Matt suggested... but not necessary)

    I don't know why but Ornette Colman's Lonely woman came up in my mind while I was watching your score...

    And with Ornette's tune it's the same thing... basically we can put down the conventional chords under it... but if we play these chords straightly it will not sound well... because generally it's not about chords but about mode - consequent intervals between notes, small contrasting motives etc.

    Blues often sounds like this too...
    more like a modal logics... when melodies interact more in linear way
    But maybe it's not what you need..

    It's just an option though... you could try common chords too

    I'll try to do something too... but I think you will hardly like it because you definbitely hear something yours behind it

  8. #7
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    A couple of thoughts; when I did a course on harmony, we started out by identifying the phrases in the melody, then looked to end them with a cadence, e.g. perfect/imperfect.
    of course this is common way of harmonization in conventional classical harmony.. and we do not know OP's background and I maybe overcomplicate the problem)))

    but it seems - just from the tune... in this case there's a risk that this approach will lead to trying ''to correct' or 'straighten up' the melody... to fit it in some predetermined harmonic turnarounds...

    if the OP is really sure about the melody I would really suggest trying picking by ear only

  9. #8
    Thanks for all your replies.

    Appreciate you all take some time on this one!
    You got some interesting ideas on how to move on.. I think I'll try work out a bassline to identify the changes but I liked the idea of counterpoints. Often I find myself adding another line behind the melody so maybe it would work out here as well.. But still, Would be nice to put sort of chords on this one.. I'll work out something in the next few days and put it in here for your comments.

    Thank you for your time - A great way to learn from each other!

    Jonas

  10. #9
    Did you "hear" some kind of harmony when you wrote this? Could you tell me a little about how you came about choosing these notes?
    This'll help me determine if there should be a key you're gravitating towards.
    It looks like you're thinking in C, sometimes in D, sometimes D minor? but the transitions between these sections doesn't give me something I can figure out, and interpreting it one way makes different passages stronger, others weaker.
    Let me know where the phrases are leading, where the peak of the song is, what your process for writing has been. It'd really help me to hear this tune in a musical way.
    Thanks
    David

  11. #10
    So I keep hearing the first bar as a pickup, but I assume it's not?
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  12. #11
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    Without an instrument, looks like G D and C going in circle, something btw Wild Thing, Louie Louie and Knocking on a Heavens Door.

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  13. #12
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    Without an instrument, looks like G D and C going in circle, something btw Wild Thing, Louie Louie and Knocking on a Heavens Door.
    1st bar looks like harmonic minor (maybe pickup)...

    then the most natural way would be playing G7 to C.. (if the last 8th - B is really not flat) kind of brief modulation

    but then bars 3 to 4 are killing this idea.. because they are definitely D minor blues.

    Frankly speaking I cannot hear what's there behind it...

    The rest of it is also very vague - you could harmonize it almost anyhow

  14. #13
    Hello again

    Well its been a while since I wrote this, so is my first thoughts on this piece..
    I'm not looking the first bar as a pickup mr.beaumont. Not at the moment anyway..
    I've been sitting by a piano today trying figuring something out - I'd only got through the first few bars but maybe its something.. maybe....

    In the first three bars I tried G-7 D-7 C-7 and maybe to F-7 in bar four... ? Didn't focus on the extensions to the chords maybe thats something to look at..

    Well.. Maybe its just an old G to D to C Vladan

  15. #14

    Need help finding chords for this melody - Someone?

    It's a really nice melody. Harmonizing should be fun.

    (EDIT - Ignore the following. Some of the later replies have much better ideas!)

    I also hear bar 1 as a pickup (Gdim7?). I think the reason some of us hear it that way is because so many "target notes" fall on the first beat of even numbered bars. My ear expects most target (strong?) notes on odd numbered bars.
    The next two bars seem like Gmin69 with some passing tones including natural 7th.
    Bar 4 I hear A#7 or its tritone sub D7alt?.
    Then I skipped to the last four bars. There seem to many ways to harmonize that phrase, but the best choice depends on whether you want the melody to resolve there or to end with a tension to take the next part of the melody another harmonic direction.
    Last edited by KirkP; 02-03-2017 at 05:22 PM.

  16. #15
    I know Jonah.. First bar ain't a pickup (I think)..
    I'd go G-7 to D-7 in bar one and two.. That is after I've played it on the piano today.

  17. #16
    Thanks KirkP
    I definitely try your Gdim to Gmin69 and your thoughts in bar 4.
    I understand why you hear the first bar as a pickup bar. I think of it as this slow ballad where the chord in bar 1 lands on the very first beat. I think thats why I don't hear it as a pickup?
    I Think the last bar should lead back to the first bar.. But The melody can resolve..
    Last edited by JonasSlavensky; 02-03-2017 at 03:40 PM.

  18. #17
    I honestly don't want to influence anything too much (although it might be cool to have a due date reveal for all at some point), but if I could make a somewhat vague suggestion, I think you can generally get a long way with diminished chords over minor. Especially in trouble spots or where you want a little extra oomph, or even just different ideas.

    There are really only three diminished chords B, C , C#. Everything else is an inversion . Anyway, a lot of minor in those diminished chords. Then, you can somewhat investigate what the actual functions are after the fact, with a little help. It's just a way of getting some richer harmony, without a lot of theory on the front end. I wouldn't even worry about what the melody of the moment is necessarily. Just experiment.

    You can do similar things with augmented triads as well. There are only four.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 02-03-2017 at 04:12 PM.

  19. #18
    my take on it.

    removed a bar, tried to keep it bluesy, first bar is a pickup. Maybe you get an idea from it.

    *EDIT* first chord of mes.13 should be Bbmaj13

    Need help finding chords for this melody - Someone?-anothernight-jpg
    Last edited by Takemitsu; 02-04-2017 at 10:18 AM.
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  20. #19
    Thanks Takemitsu
    It looks very interesting! I'll definitely give it a try and come back to you!
    Appreciate it!!

    Wow I got many things to try out from all you replies! What a lesson i've got!

    Jonas

  21. #20
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    Something very classical or something like that...



    E-7b5 A7b9 / D-7 G7 / CM7 D-7 / E7+9 Eb7

    D-7 Db7+11 / CM7 D-7 / DbM7 G7 / CM7

    A-7 Ab7alt / GM7 CM7 / E-7 Eb7alt / DM7 GM7

    D-7 Db7alt / CM7 G7 / CM7 A7+9 / D-7 G7

  22. #21
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    Notation and chord symbols were generated automaticaly by software, from notes I've entered. I'd name first 2 chords differently, maybe some more, and would keep #/b nice and steady ...

    ... added .mp3, soyou could hear it really works ...

    Need help finding chords for this melody - Someone?-page-0-jpg
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    Last edited by Vladan; 02-03-2017 at 08:46 PM.
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