How do I harmonize a melody, or add a countermelody?
When I asked people, what their biggest problems were with composing, quite a few said they had trouble either knowing how to harmonize a melody, knowing how to write a countermelody.
The cool part is, they both require the same set of skills, just used in slightly different ways.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be diving into great depth on these subjects, so this page is really just an overall explanation.
The Connection Between Harmony and Melody
Melody and harmony are intricately connected. This means that if you want to harmonize your melody, or write a countermelody for something you’ve already written, you have to understand how the underlying harmony works.
In order to do this, you must know:
- How functional harmony works.
- How to identify what chords, potentially fit under a melody.
- How to choose the correct chord to harmonize, once you know the potential chords.
- How those chords will dictate the notes that go into your countermelody.
- How to ensure, with smooth voice leading, that the harmonizations don’t get in the way of the melody.
- How the techniques of counterpoint bring all of these aspects together.
This seems like a lot, and it is. Mastery of harmony, like other aspects of composition, is a lifelong pursuit.
But getting beyond a basic understanding doesn’t take that long. I am confident, within the next few weeks, you will be able to tackle harmonizing just about any melody with diatonic harmony.
I look forward to working with you on your journey towards mastery of composition.
I’ll be explaining these over the next few weeks in emails, so be sure to add me to your contacts. That way, you don’t miss any emails.
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