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BubberC
10-09-2012, 01:38 AM
Frequently online I find the chords to a song, but without any accompanying melody line.
That makes no sense to me.
What good are the chords if you don't have a melody line?
Fine, I can play the chords, but that doesn't clue me in to the melody.
Example: I just now looked up 'The Bilboa Song' (Andy Williams, 1961). I found the words and the chords. So far, so good. But then they offer no melody line. If they could at least give me the first note of the melody, then I could take that and maybe pick out the rest of the melody. But they can't even say what note the melody starts with.
Am I missing something here?
They say it is in the key of A. They say the chords for the first line of the song are: A Em7 A7 D D6 D9
So fine, I play those chords in succession. No obvious melody springs from those chords, at least not to my ear. But this shouldn't be about my ear. I just want to know what the notes are in that first line of melody.
Thanks.

walternewton
10-09-2012, 01:57 AM
Generally the free stuff you find online will be chords and/or guitar tabs - and quality/accuracy will be VERY variable.

For vocal melodies, I think it's generally assumed you will have the track to listen to - if you can't work them out by ear (can you find the first note of the melody with the assistance of a guitar, piano etc?) you will probably have to buy the sheet music from a music store or sites like musicnotes, sheetmusicplus, etc.

Malcolm
10-09-2012, 02:26 AM
What you have pulled up is fake chord sheet music. Fake chord sheet music will list the lyrics and the chord used in the song. That's all. You fake the melody. Long story..... Fake chord does not give you the melody notes, normally when using fake chord our voice or a vocalist will sing the lyrics for the melody and everyone else plays chord accompaniment.

Now lead sheet music will list the lyrics, chords and treble clef. The chords will give you the harmony and the treble clef will give you the melody notes. So if you want to play melody use lead sheet music which has the treble clef in standard notation. OR.... using the fake chord sheet music play the melody by ear.

Here is fake chord on Happy Birthday:

(C) Happy birthday to (G) you
Happy Birthday to (C) you
Happy Birthday deal (F)__________
Happy (C) birthday (G) to (C) you.

Here is how to use fake chord sheet music:

Your voice sings the melody.
Then on your guitar you provide the harmony by making a C chord and then strum it while singing the lyrics. Normally one strum (up or down) to each lyric word. Hap-py will take two strums perhaps one down and one up strum. Same with birthday. The word "to" gets only one strum and then for the lyric word "you" change to the G chord. Keep going.

Sorry just noticed this is in the piano section. Still talking of using fake chord sheet music. Instead of on your guitar on your keyboard make a frozen hand C chord - C, E, G, Now I probably would use a two handed chord pattern of pinky thumb with the left hand and a frozen hand C chord with the right hand and then left hand thumb. Pinky-thumb-chord-thumb. Hope that makes since. At any rate with fake chord you will have to fake the melody as melody notes are not shown on the sheet music.

A good book on how to play piano from a fake book. http://www.amazon.com/How-Play-Fake-Book-Keyboard/dp/0634002066

Have fun.

Color of Music
10-09-2012, 07:11 AM
You PMed me, but I'll answer it here.

Well, before you go finding the song itself, the general idea when finding the melody amongst a string of chords is to look at the chord's top note:

Malcolm misinterpreted what you asked, but he is on the right track. Of you know Happy Birthday, but if you didn't and the chords were:

C-G(7)-G(7)-C / C(7)-F / C-G7-C

Spell out the chords:

For every C chord you have a CEG

For every G(7), you have a GBD(F)

For every F, you have an FAC.

Pull out any of those notes and see which ones fit best.

G-G on a G7; A-G-C on C; B-G-G-A-G-D on a G7; C on C; G-G-*G-E-C on a C

B-A on an F (the B is a passing tone, still on F) F-F / E-C - on a C - D on a G7 end on C (in the melody and chord)

Now, having done that, I hope you can see that every note used is in the entire scale - C Major in this case. Being that this tune is the classic I-IV-V, this is a spot on truth!

Look: CEG (I) FAC (IV) GBD (V) - C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C

So, first off, determine the key - it's A Major. What nootes make up the A major scale? A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A. Therefore, those are the seven diatonic notes to choose from.

Now, let's look at the chords: A Em7 A7 D D6 D9

Just looking at the roots, what's the progression? I-v7-IV-IV-IV9

Let's spell out the chords:

A-C#-E, E-G-B-D, A-C#-E-G, D-F#-A, D-F#-A-B, (D)-F#-A-C#-E.

The melody could come from any one of these notes in the chords and passing tones may be used, too.

Most people are accustomed to hear melodies first, that they don't think that they can extract them out of a harmonic progression. That's what I did with Happy Birthday. Yet, if there's a melodic structure within the harmony, then a melody can be sussed out whether it's an established tune, something arranged or improvised or thought up from scratch.

Now, if I put up this progression (slight variation):

F-Em7-A7-Dm9-Dm-Bb-C7-Fsus-F-Dm7-G7-Bb-F. (Here's the tune on piano: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUzyrRQX7pQ)

Most would recognize this as "Yesterday" from The Beatles. No melody line needed because it's in the song and people know it. Therefore, there's no need to see the melody at all - don't even look at it if it's in front of you (unless you're playing piano in fornt of an audience or observer)

As WalterNewton said, you can find sheet music online; however, your ear should grab the melody first.

Notice what he's doing by playing and singing. The melody consists of notes either in the chords in the key or both (either diatonic or borrowed)

In F: F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F - F-Gm-Am-Bb-C-Dm-Edim-F.

Now, are you looking for the specific song you gave in the example or just a song in general?

I'm sorry if I wasn't much help. Your question seemed kinda vague to say the least.

BubberC
10-09-2012, 02:09 PM
Thank you, Malcolm.

I think I understand what you are saying, but some things don't square with my experience.

<< Fake chord sheet music will list the lyrics and the chord used in the song. That's all.>>

I have lots of fake books and enjoy playing from them, but every one of my fake books provides the melody line, on a G staff (along with song title, lyrics, and chords). Using the fake books I can play any song, whether I have ever heard it or not. I find that is not the case when only the lyrics and chords are provided.

I do have the book 'How to Play a Fake Book.' Thanks.

Bubber
__________________________________________________ ___


What you have pulled up is fake chord sheet music. Fake chord sheet music will list the lyrics and the chord used in the song. That's all. You fake the melody. Long story..... Fake chord does not give you the melody notes, normally when using fake chord our voice or a vocalist will sing the lyrics for the melody and everyone else plays chord accompaniment.

Now lead sheet music will list the lyrics, chords and treble clef. The chords will give you the harmony and the treble clef will give you the melody notes. So if you want to play melody use lead sheet music which has the treble clef in standard notation. OR.... using the fake chord sheet music play the melody by ear.

Here is fake chord on Happy Birthday:

(C) Happy birthday to (G) you
Happy Birthday to (C) you
Happy Birthday deal (F)__________
Happy (C) birthday (G) to (C) you.

Here is how to use fake chord sheet music:

Your voice sings the melody.
Then on your guitar you provide the harmony by making a C chord and then strum it while singing the lyrics. Normally one strum (up or down) to each lyric word. Hap-py will take two strums perhaps one down and one up strum. Same with birthday. The word "to" gets only one strum and then for the lyric word "you" change to the G chord. Keep going.

Sorry just noticed this is in the piano section. Still talking of using fake chord sheet music. Instead of on your guitar on your keyboard make a frozen hand C chord - C, E, G, Now I probably would use a two handed chord pattern of pinky thumb with the left hand and a frozen hand C chord with the right hand and then left hand thumb. Pinky-thumb-chord-thumb. Hope that makes since. At any rate with fake chord you will have to fake the melody as melody notes are not shown on the sheet music.

A good book on how to play piano from a fake book. http://www.amazon.com/How-Play-Fake-Book-Keyboard/dp/0634002066

Have fun.

BubberC
10-09-2012, 02:45 PM
Thank you, Color.

If I understand you correctly, here's what I am discerning from you:

For every syllable of any song, I am supposed to go to the chord indicated for that syllable. Then from that chord I "test" each of the three notes in that chord, to discover (and then "pull out" from that chord) whichever of those three notes is the appropriate one to be sung with that particular syllable.

'Happy Birthday' has 25 syllables, so I have to go through this process 25 times. I start with the syllable No. 1, which is 'Hap,' and I see that the C chord goes with the 'Hap' syllable. So I then hit piano key C, then piano key E, and then piano key G, and select one of those three as the melody note.

OK, let's say I sit down at the piano and hit C, then E, then G. I still don't understand how I would know which of the three to select. However, I do see that, once I got the correct note, it would then be possible to proceed in the selection of the next 24. Somehow, I think if somebody would simply say which of the three notes it was, THEN I could successfully go through the process (slow as it sounds) for the next 24 syllables (-py-birth-day-to-you-hap-py, etc., etc.).

(By the way, yes, I was/am looking for the melody line for 'The Bilbao Song' - and I apologize for misspelling Bilbao.)

Yours gratefully,

Bubber
___________________________________

You PMed me, but I'll answer it here.

Well, before you go finding the song itself, the general idea when finding the melody amongst a string of chords is to look at the chord's top note:

Malcolm misinterpreted what you asked, but he is on the right track. Of you know Happy Birthday, but if you didn't and the chords were:

C-G(7)-G(7)-C / C(7)-F / C-G7-C

Spell out the chords:

For every C chord you have a CEG

For every G(7), you have a GBD(F)

For every F, you have an FAC.

Pull out any of those notes and see which ones fit best.

G-G on a G7; A-G-C on C; B-G-G-A-G-D on a G7; C on C; G-G-*G-E-C on a C

B-A on an F (the B is a passing tone, still on F) F-F / E-C - on a C - D on a G7 end on C (in the melody and chord)

Now, having done that, I hope you can see that every note used is in the entire scale - C Major in this case. Being that this tune is the classic I-IV-V, this is a spot on truth!

Look: CEG (I) FAC (IV) GBD (V) - C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C

So, first off, determine the key - it's A Major. What nootes make up the A major scale? A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A. Therefore, those are the seven diatonic notes to choose from.

Now, let's look at the chords: A Em7 A7 D D6 D9

Just looking at the roots, what's the progression? I-v7-IV-IV-IV9

Let's spell out the chords:

A-C#-E, E-G-B-D, A-C#-E-G, D-F#-A, D-F#-A-B, (D)-F#-A-C#-E.

The melody could come from any one of these notes in the chords and passing tones may be used, too.

Most people are accustomed to hear melodies first, that they don't think that they can extract them out of a harmonic progression. That's what I did with Happy Birthday. Yet, if there's a melodic structure within the harmony, then a melody can be sussed out whether it's an established tune, something arranged or improvised or thought up from scratch.

Now, if I put up this progression (slight variation):

F-Em7-A7-Dm9-Dm-Bb-C7-Fsus-F-Dm7-G7-Bb-F. (Here's the tune on piano: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUzyrRQX7pQ)

Most would recognize this as "Yesterday" from The Beatles. No melody line needed because it's in the song and people know it. Therefore, there's no need to see the melody at all - don't even look at it if it's in front of you (unless you're playing piano in fornt of an audience or observer)

As WalterNewton said, you can find sheet music online; however, your ear should grab the melody first.

Notice what he's doing by playing and singing. The melody consists of notes either in the chords in the key or both (either diatonic or borrowed)

In F: F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F - F-Gm-Am-Bb-C-Dm-Edim-F.

Now, are you looking for the specific song you gave in the example or just a song in general?

I'm sorry if I wasn't much help. Your question seemed kinda vague to say the least.

Malcolm
10-09-2012, 03:00 PM
The accepted melody in C for Happy Birthday is"

C-C-D-C-F-E............

You do not have to play the chord's notes in order and you may throw in some passing notes as fills. The song writer, long ago, decided on C-C-D-C-F-E and that is now the accepted melody for Happy Birthday.

What Color outlined is what you could use IF you were writing an original song. Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893 decided that C-C-D-C-F-E sounded good so that became the accepted melody for Happy Birthday. Notice it has the C and E notes which are notes from the C chord, the others are passing and fill notes.

{edit] Walters post # 9 gets to the meat of the problem.

BubberC
10-09-2012, 03:01 PM
P.S. OK, for that song 'The Bilbao Song' (also know as 'That Old Bilbao Moon'), the chord indicated for the first syllable, which is "That," is the chord of A Major. So I hit piano key A, then key C#, and then key E. Which one do I pick?
_________________________________________

Thank you, Color.

If I understand you correctly, here's what I am discerning from you:

For every syllable of any song, I am supposed to go to the chord indicated for that syllable. Then from that chord I "test" each of the three notes in that chord, to discover (and then "pull out" from that chord) whichever of those three notes is the appropriate one to be sung with that particular syllable.

'Happy Birthday' has 25 syllables, so I have to go through this process 25 times. I start with the syllable No. 1, which is 'Hap,' and I see that the C chord goes with the 'Hap' syllable. So I then hit piano key C, then piano key E, and then piano key G, and select one of those three as the melody note.

OK, let's say I sit down at the piano and hit C, then E, then G. I still don't understand how I would know which of the three to select. However, I do see that, once I got the correct note, it would then be possible to proceed in the selection of the next 24. Somehow, I think if somebody would simply say which of the three notes it was, THEN I could successfully go through the process (slow as it sounds) for the next 24 syllables (-py-birth-day-to-you-hap-py, etc., etc.).

(By the way, yes, I was/am looking for the melody line for 'The Bilbao Song' - and I apologize for misspelling Bilbao.)

Yours gratefully,

Bubber
___________________________________

walternewton
10-09-2012, 03:09 PM
P.S. OK, for that song 'The Bilbao Song' (also know as 'That Old Bilbao Moon'), the chord indicated for the first syllable, which is "That," is the chord of A Major. So I hit piano key A, then key C#, and then key E. Which one do I pick?

Well clearly you're never going to come up with the complete, actual melody that way - it could be any one of those notes, or possibly something else - again you would either need to work it out by ear from a recording (or maybe a strong memory of the tune) or get the sheet music.

Malcolm
10-09-2012, 03:44 PM
The accepted melody in C for Happy Birthday is"

C-C-D-C-F-E............

You do not have to play the chord's notes in order and you may throw in some passing notes as fills. The song writer, long ago, decided on C-C-D-C-F-E and that is now the accepted melody for Happy Birthday.

What Color outlined is what you could use IF you were writing an original song. Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893 decided that C-C-D-C-F-E sounded good so that became the accepted melody for Happy Birthday. Notice it has the C and E notes which are notes from the C chord, the others are passing and fill notes.

{edit] Walters post # 9 gets to the meat of the problem.

You have to be able to sing the melody to duplicate it.
.........

Color of Music
10-09-2012, 05:53 PM
Well clearly you're never going to come up with the complete, actual melody that way - it could be any one of those notes, or possibly something else - again you would either need to work it out by ear from a recording (or maybe a strong memory of the tune) or get the sheet music.

Walter is right. I also said look for the sheet music. My example was more for if you were doing your own song from scratch; it'd harder to do with established songs unless you've heard the tune before. (ie: Yesterday).

BubberC
10-10-2012, 12:30 AM
<< it'd harder to do with established songs unless you've heard the tune before>>

I am grateful. Indeed I have heard the song before many, many times and can sing it.

The chordings for 'Bilbao Moon' that I find online are unlike those for 'Happy Birthday' in a crucial way. The chords for 'Happy Birthday' start with the first syllable ("Hap-"), so you have at least a 1-in-3 chance of selecting the right first note (C or E or G).

But no chord at all is provided for the first syllable of 'Bilbao Moon' ("That"). No chord is provided until the third syllable ("Bil-"), and the chord for that third syllable is A Major.

When I play the chords for 'Bilbao Moon,' (starting with the syllable No. 3, "Bil"), namely...
A Em7 A7 D D6 D9,

I do not discern the obvious melody, even though I know it well. But let's say I am somehow able to discern it, am I then supposed to extrapolate back in order to find the notes for syllables 1 and 2? (The verse part of the song has 48 syllables.)

I could pick out the melody on the piano, but the odds are slim that it would come out in the same key the chordwriters have selected.

I have several books and pamphlets on how to play a fake book, and they do not touch on the problem I am talking about.

Again, thanks for your help.

Bubber

walternewton
10-10-2012, 02:12 AM
I have heard the song before many, many times and can sing it.

OK then - if singing it in the key of A, what note are you singing on that first (or third, or whatever) syllable over the first A chord?

If you don't know, well, you aren't going to easily extract the answer from some chord chart you found online - just *LISTEN TO THE SONG* and work it out from there!

walternewton
10-10-2012, 02:57 AM
Duplicate post

Malcolm
10-10-2012, 02:25 PM
But no chord at all is provided for the first syllable of 'Bilbao Moon' ("That"). No chord is provided until the third syllable ("Bil-"), and the chord for that third syllable is A Major.

When I play the chords for 'Bilbao Moon,' (starting with the syllable No. 3, "Bil"), namely...
A Em7 A7 D D6 D9,

I do not discern the obvious melody, even though I know it well. But let's say I am somehow able to discern it, am I then supposed to extrapolate back in order to find the notes for syllables 1 and 2? (The verse part of the song has 48 syllables.)


Understand not all songs start on the first lyric word. Some have a vocal intro for a few words. I think that is what is throwing you. Right off the top of my head, "Tiger by the tail" is this way. http://www.cowboylyrics.com/tabs/owens-buck/ive-got-a-tiger-by-the-tail-9338.html Vocalist sings; I've.. Got.. A.. and then the musicians come in on Tiger by the tail....... So forget about syllable 1 & 2 the vocalist will take care of them.

Color of Music
10-11-2012, 04:46 PM
<< it'd harder to do with established songs unless you've heard the tune before>>

I am grateful. Indeed I have heard the song before many, many times and can sing it.

The chordings for 'Bilbao Moon' that I find online are unlike those for 'Happy Birthday' in a crucial way. The chords for 'Happy Birthday' start with the first syllable ("Hap-"), so you have at least a 1-in-3 chance of selecting the right first note (C or E or G).

But no chord at all is provided for the first syllable of 'Bilbao Moon' ("That"). No chord is provided until the third syllable ("Bil-"), and the chord for that third syllable is A Major.

When I play the chords for 'Bilbao Moon,' (starting with the syllable No. 3, "Bil"), namely...
A Em7 A7 D D6 D9,

I do not discern the obvious melody, even though I know it well. But let's say I am somehow able to discern it, am I then supposed to extrapolate back in order to find the notes for syllables 1 and 2? (The verse part of the song has 48 syllables.)

I could pick out the melody on the piano, but the odds are slim that it would come out in the same key the chordwriters have selected.

I have several books and pamphlets on how to play a fake book, and they do not touch on the problem I am talking about.

Again, thanks for your help.

Bubber

First off, Fake Books employ the use of improvisation. Usually, you'll see the melody line with a chord symbol written above, but you don't have to play exactly what the chord says to. Fake Books are not as detailed as classical pianist sheet music where you certainly have to play what is there and when.

Is this the tune you're talking about? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXeOjyKZRqU (C Major)

G-A-B-A-E - G7+ is with the G-A-B and C6 is with A-E

G-A-B-A-Eb - F9/C or Cm6 is with A-Eb

G-A-B-A-Eb - G7+ is with this entire phrase played on the A note

G-A-B-A-E - C6 is with A-E

C-D-E-D-A - C7 or C7+ is with C-D-E and F6 is with D-A

C-D-E-D-Ab - Same as above except the D-Ab is with Fm6

C-D-E-D-G - Same as above except the D-G are with C6

A-C-B-A-E - This phrase is with C6

C-B-C-A - F6 is played on the A note

C-B-C-Ab - Fm6 is played on the Ab note

C-B-C-G-E-G - C on this phrase

Gb-G-F-E-G - You could play a G7 on the F note, but a C/C6 follows

Gb-G-E-Eb-G - C/C6, then F9/C or Cm6 on Eb-G

Gb-G-Eb-D-F - G7/9sus on the D-F

A-B-A-C - The G chords carry over until the C in melody. Play a C or C6 chord on that note.

Again, this is just one interpretation. Don't take this as set-in-stone.

Does this help?

BubberC
10-12-2012, 01:27 AM
Thank you, Color. Thank you, all. Yes, that is the song, and I picked it out on the piano today, syllable by syllable, note by note, line by line...

e f# g# f# c# c#
That old Bil - ba - o moon

e f# g# f# c c

e f# g# f# c c

e f# g# f# c# c#

a b c# b f# f#

a b c# b f f

a b c# b e e

f# a g# f# c# c#

a g# a f# a g# a f

a g# a e c# e

d# e c# c# e d# e c# c-natural d#

d-natural d# c b e f# g# f# a
_______________________

The chords I found online are...
(for the first line) A Em7 A7 D D6 D9

They sound discordant when meshed with the notes of the first line of the song, so I figure they must be not in the same key.

So I reckon I need now to get the notes and chords into the same key.

How to do that is not obvious to me.

Bubber

BubberC
10-12-2012, 01:45 AM
Color:

I'm sorry. Ignore my last post. Your post is immensely helpful.

(You sort of threw me a curve ball. You wrote G-A-B-A-E, and I couldn't see what five notes would represent, since those lines each have six syllables. You were implying, but not indicating, that G-A-B-A-E is really a shorthand of G-A-B-A-E-E. Now I get it.)

Thank, you, my friend, for this labor of love. And, yes, I am familiar with all of those chords you indicate. I will work with what you have provided and have this ready for a houseful of guests Saturday night here in Charleston. Do you live near here?

Bubber

Color of Music
10-12-2012, 02:35 AM
Color:

I'm sorry. Ignore my last post. Your post is immensely helpful.

(You sort of threw me a curve ball. You wrote G-A-B-A-E, and I couldn't see what five notes would represent, since those lines each have six syllables. You were implying, but not indicating, that G-A-B-A-E is really a shorthand of G-A-B-A-E-E. Now I get it.)

Thank, you, my friend, for this labor of love. And, yes, I am familiar with all of those chords you indicate. I will work with what you have provided and have this ready for a houseful of guests Saturday night here in Charleston. Do you live near here?

Bubber

When you play that song in A - just transpose the chords down a minor third.

E-F#-G#-F#-C# - E7+ is with the G-A-B and C6 is with A-E

E-F#-G#-F#-C - D9/A or Am6 is with F#-C

E-F#-G#-F#-C# - E7+ is with this entire phrase played on the A note

E-F#-G#-F#-C# - A6 is with A-E

A-B-C#-B-F# - A7 or A7+ is with C-D-E and D6 is with D-A

A-B-C#-B-F - Same as above except the B-F is with Dm6

A-B-C#-B-E - Same as above except the D-G are with A6

A-C-B-A-E - This phrase is with A6

A-G#-A-F# - D6 is played on the A note

A-G#-A-F - Dm6 is played on the F note

A-G#-A-E-C#-E - A on this phrase

Eb-E-D-C#-E - You could play a E7 on the D note, but a A/A6 follows

Eb-E-C#-C-E - A/A6, then D9/A or Am6 on C-E

Eb-E-C-B-D - E7/9sus on the B-D

F#-G#-F#-A - The E chords carry over until the A in melody. Play an A or A6 chord on that note.

Here's a link to work out the transposing or what the chords look like without transposing (of any song):

http://www.looknohands.com/chordhouse/piano/

You're very welcome! Glad I could help. Unfortunately, I do not live near the location you speak of.