Chords: Melody & Harmony

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Here are three famous musical examples that illustrate that melody is harmony and harmony is melody…. and that scales and chords are really two complementary views of the same musical stuff…

Sonata Facile (Mozart)

First, the raw score… Can you name the chords and find the chord tones?

Harmonic analysis with chords named and chord tones circled…

That the left hand accompaniment is built exclusively of chord tones may come as no surprise, but what I hope is a HUGE revelation is that the right hand melody, too, is built almost exclusively of chord tones (only one exception, which can be argued that it too is a chord of the C chord).

Play along and listen… Do your ears agree with the analysis?


Prelude No. 8 (J. S. Bach)

First, the raw score… Can you name the chords and find the chord tones?

Harmonic analysis with chords named and chord tones boxed…

Notice that the each and every note, both left hand and right, is a chord tone! Do you see the immense value of knowing your chords ins music reading, memorization, and ear training?


Maple Leaf Rag (Scott Joplin)

First, the raw score… Can you name the chords and find the chord tones?

Harmonic analysis with chords named and chord tones boxed…

Notice the many simple, but very inventive ways that chords are used to create an incredible variety of fabulous music. Time and time again, you are going to discover that most pieces are harmonically very straightforward and that their melodies usually consist mostly of chord tones!

This is no accident! This is how music works!

Realizing that melody is more about harmony and chord tones, and not all about scales, will transform the way you read and play music!

And your skill in recognizing chords using both your eyes and ears will pay enormous dividends in reading, memorization, improvising, transposing, and playing by ear.

learn more… Chord Structure: The Number System

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