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How to add accompanying chords to melody


Ubik
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It doesn't look so difficult to me. The way to play it without trouble is to play each chord on the left hand as either a single note or as an open fifth (for example, a D chord would be played as D and A played together). Open fifths are easy on a Hayden, they sound good on a concertina (unlike the often sour sounding thirds), and if you stick to them you can ignore the major, minor, 7, and 11 indicators. On this particular piece, the melody line often provides the third (creating a major or minor chord) or the seventh, so the fuller chords build themselves.

 

Daniel,

What I meant is, if you're a beginner, why attempt tunes with 6 chords (not counting the 7 and 11 chords) that change between major and minor, when you can get plenty of practice in fluency on 3-chord, major tunes?

 

Of course your advice that the 7th and 11th notes will often be in the melody, so you don't need them on the left hand, is perfectly correct. I also agree with the advice to reduce some chords to less than 3 notes.

However, since the specimen that Ubik posted seems to make a feature of weaving in and out of the major and minor keys, it would seem counter-productive to omit the 3rd, which is the note that makes a chord major or minor.

 

Cheers,

John

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It doesn't look so difficult to me. The way to play it without trouble is to play each chord on the left hand as either a single note or as an open fifth (for example, a D chord would be played as D and A played together). Open fifths are easy on a Hayden, they sound good on a concertina (unlike the often sour sounding thirds), and if you stick to them you can ignore the major, minor, 7, and 11 indicators. On this particular piece, the melody line often provides the third (creating a major or minor chord) or the seventh, so the fuller chords build themselves.

 

Daniel,

What I meant is, if you're a beginner, why attempt tunes with 6 chords (not counting the 7 and 11 chords) that change between major and minor, when you can get plenty of practice in fluency on 3-chord, major tunes?

 

Of course your advice that the 7th and 11th notes will often be in the melody, so you don't need them on the left hand, is perfectly correct. I also agree with the advice to reduce some chords to less than 3 notes.

However, since the specimen that Ubik posted seems to make a feature of weaving in and out of the major and minor keys, it would seem counter-productive to omit the 3rd, which is the note that makes a chord major or minor.

 

Cheers,

John

 

Daniel, John, Thanxs so much for your help. Will look at your advises properly and will try to progress. Normally Mr Theze shoukd play them on the bandoneon. But not that sure this specific piece. I think I have one recording of it with harp....might be

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It doesn't look so difficult to me. The way to play it without trouble is to play each chord on the left hand as either a single note or as an open fifth (for example, a D chord would be played as D and A played together). Open fifths are easy on a Hayden, they sound good on a concertina (unlike the often sour sounding thirds), and if you stick to them you can ignore the major, minor, 7, and 11 indicators. On this particular piece, the melody line often provides the third (creating a major or minor chord) or the seventh, so the fuller chords build themselves.

Daniel,

What I meant is, if you're a beginner, why attempt tunes with 6 chords (not counting the 7 and 11 chords) that change between major and minor, when you can get plenty of practice in fluency on 3-chord, major tunes?

 

Of course your advice that the 7th and 11th notes will often be in the melody, so you don't need them on the left hand, is perfectly correct. I also agree with the advice to reduce some chords to less than 3 notes.

However, since the specimen that Ubik posted seems to make a feature of weaving in and out of the major and minor keys, it would seem counter-productive to omit the 3rd, which is the note that makes a chord major or minor.

I think that we're both partially right. In quite a few measures, the 3rd is in the melody, defining the major or minor. But there are also a number of other measures where the 3rd is not present in the melody and it's a good idea to add it in the accompaniment. Even then, I think that a two-note 1-3 chord would be adequate and not too hard on a Hayden. I just played through the piece on Hayden that way and it's not a huge challenge to play.

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Yes, this is a big and interesting question to me. I think a good way to start is just by doing what's as simple as possible that sounds good. A systematic approach can be useful too, but I feel like too many people use standard chords and theory as a substitute for their own ear and experimenting. If you can strike a balance between both, that's great. I may be naive, but I feel like so many musicians (even amazing ones) are too stuck on a "what chord goes where" mindset. Some Anglo players come up with interesting, somewhat quirky arrangements partially because they don't think in a rigid chord structure. I get that feeling from Alan Day's playing, for example.

 

Anyway, I'd like to hear other thoughts and approaches. I like to steal ideas from as many people as possible.

I have never had any music training all my playing is exactly as you describe it ,except for some duet arrangements with all the chords given to me by Iris Bishop. I experiment with what I think sounds correct, not following any set pattern and when I find a new base or chord sequence it leads me to write some music that it can be used on. Mike (Will Fly) is a good partner for me because he knows all there is to know on music theory and chords (See his Guitar Tutors on Utube). He will go along with most of my left hand accompaniment, but on the odd occasion he will suggest a different better chord than the one I am using which then opens up other directions and experimentation possibilities. Although my music knowledge is limited I can hear almost immediately if someone is playing a chord that is discordant with mine.

Interesting and quirky, I will settle for that.

Al :)

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Yes, this is a big and interesting question to me. I think a good way to start is just by doing what's as simple as possible that sounds good. A systematic approach can be useful too, but I feel like too many people use standard chords and theory as a substitute for their own ear and experimenting. If you can strike a balance between both, that's great. I may be naive, but I feel like so many musicians (even amazing ones) are too stuck on a "what chord goes where" mindset. Some Anglo players come up with interesting, somewhat quirky arrangements partially because they don't think in a rigid chord structure. I get that feeling from Alan Day's playing, for example.

 

Anyway, I'd like to hear other thoughts and approaches. I like to steal ideas from as many people as possible.

I have never had any music training all my playing is exactly as you describe it ,except for some duet arrangements with all the chords given to me by Iris Bishop. I experiment with what I think sounds correct, not following any set pattern and when I find a new base or chord sequence it leads me to write some music that it can be used on. Mike (Will Fly) is a good partner for me because he knows all there is to know on music theory and chords (See his Guitar Tutors on Utube). He will go along with most of my left hand accompaniment, but on the odd occasion he will suggest a different better chord than the one I am using which then opens up other directions and experimentation possibilities. Although my music knowledge is limited I can hear almost immediately if someone is playing a chord that is discordant with mine.

Interesting and quirky, I will settle for that.

Al :)

 

Friends, yesterday had the time to relax with the instrument and give it a try. I defenetely will file in my head the following approach, unless you disagree....left hand tonic and 5th one octave below the melody. In some cases the third instead of the fifth. While playing I noted this approach covers too much the melody, in that case I just play the tonic or maybe the tonic and 5th but I release the 5th finger sometime.

 

Does this makes sense?

I am excited, being not far to being able to play this song completely. Not bad for my expectations.

Cheers

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Friends, yesterday had the time to relax with the instrument and give it a try. I defenetely will file in my head the following approach, unless you disagree....left hand tonic and 5th one octave below the melody. In some cases the third instead of the fifth. While playing I noted this approach covers too much the melody, in that case I just play the tonic or maybe the tonic and 5th but I release the 5th finger sometime.

 

Does this makes sense?

Makes sense.

Just remember that there are also many other things that make sense, so you have unlimited adventures ahead of you, if and when you're ready. :)

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Friends, yesterday had the time to relax with the instrument and give it a try. I defenetely will file in my head the following approach, unless you disagree....left hand tonic and 5th one octave below the melody. In some cases the third instead of the fifth. While playing I noted this approach covers too much the melody, in that case I just play the tonic or maybe the tonic and 5th but I release the 5th finger sometime.

 

Does this makes sense?

Bear in mind what I said earlier: Don't double the melody at the octave. Go a 3rd lower and keep the left hand in the range of a 10th below the melody.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Keep on going round the Circle of Fifths, i.e. taking a key with just one sharp or one flat more than the keys you already know. This way, you'll only need three new chords for each new key, and you'll always be able to handle those tunes that modulate up a fifth at some point.

 

I've only just found out about the circle of fifths (about 6 months ago), and have been practising my new Maccann duet for about a year now! I was lucky enough to get a map of my buttons and the chords from Geoff Crabb, and I took the circle of fifths from - was it Robert Gaskins - and found out that his buttons didn't coincide with mine, and his layout, being small enough to go inside a concertina box, was too small for me to see. I therefore adapted his button layouts and made my own colour coded circle of fifths so now, when I dare to use both hands, I've got all my major, minor and seventh chords in front of me - no excuse any more!!!

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