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Thread: What's harmonizing a scale?

  1. #1
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    What's harmonizing a scale?

    I'm currently reading Eric's Neoclassical article, and was wondering what does it mean to "harmonize" a scale, I'm just reading the article to know how to get that classical sound, but not too interested in shredding yet.

  2. #2
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
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    it's constructing chords upon every scale degree.

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    How is that done?

  4. #4
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Your question ----"what does it mean to "harmonize" a scale,"

    The way I understand it --- harmonizing a scale is a fancy way of saying build a chord progression within the scale. It's what the rhythm guys do all the time.

    If we are talking about the C scale
    C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C

    The harmonizing chords you can pick for your chord progression would be in the key of C.

    C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bm7dim

    For a ii, V, I progression you would use Dm, G, C chords to harmonize the C scale.

    For the classic I, IV, V progression you would use C, F, G chords to harmonize the C scale.

    There is another post in today's Improvisation section named "Chords over Scales?" that you might want to check out.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 06-24-2004 at 01:20 AM.

  5. #5
    some guy Doug McMullen's Avatar
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    Harmonizing a scale means creating chords from the scale by stacking the notes of the scale in thirds:



    -- Thanks JS for telling me how to get the image to show up.

    Doug
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Doug McMullen; 06-24-2004 at 01:00 PM.

  6. #6
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    It seems that the jpeg or gif files only show up if they are the only attachment!
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  7. #7
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szulc
    It seems that the jpeg or gif files only show up if they are the only attachment!
    Yes. It would be really cool if, for each attachment, you could do a checkbox for 'display as image'. BTW, where the hell you been, James? My brain has become putty-like and lazy.
    Pulsing the System with Confirmed Nonsense.

  8. #8
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    On what basis are you choosing the chords, the root is always a note from the major scale, but why are some minor, and some major, and some diminished? I know the difference, but I don't know how you got there.

  9. #9
    Mode Rator Zatz's Avatar
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    Wicked dreams,

    here's another link for you to read:
    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/...ead.php?t=2316

    Note that the notes are not quite "chosen" - but rather taken fron that same good old major scale.

    For.ex - the chord that may have confused you most - Bm7b5.
    It cotains the following notes: <B D F A>
    Otherwise, if you harmonized B with its major chord you'd get <B D# F#> set of notes. In this case D# F# would turn out to be out of the C major scale.

    Zatz.
    Zadd9 -> A6 -> T#9b5 -> Zmaj7

  10. #10
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    GABCDEF
    EFGABCD
    CDEFGAB

    If you Lay the Major scale on top of itself in the above manner (notice how each row is just the notes of C Major starting at 1,3,and 5 from the bottom up), you are creating the harmonized C Major scale. This same formula works for any Major scale (or other diatonic 7 note scale).
    The distance between any two adjacent notes in the stacks is called an interval and the name is based on the distance of note from the root of the major scale.
    If you number the notes 1-7, then the distance from C to E would be called a Major 3rd (M3) and the distance from C to G a Perfect 5th (P5). Notice that these are 4 and 7 half steps, respectively. The distance from D to F is a Minor 3rd (m3) because it is only 3 half steps and the distance from B to F is a Diminished 5th (d5 or b5) because it is only 6 half steps.
    Major intervals become Minor intervals when flatted and Perfect intervals become Diminished when flatted. If you then study this arrangement of notes that make up the chord scale you will notice the chord built on 1, 4 and 5 (I,IV,V)all have the same interval structure(M3,P5). This interval structure is called a Major chord. Similarly the chords built on 2, 3 and 6 (ii,iii,vi) have the same structure(m3,P5). This is called a Minor chord.
    That leaves the chord built on the 7 (viio). This has the interval structure m3,d5. This is called diminished.
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  11. #11
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bongo Boy
    Yes. It would be really cool if, for each attachment, you could do a checkbox for 'display as image'. BTW, where the hell you been, James? My brain has become putty-like and lazy.
    I have been popping in and out here and there but I am mostly getting bored with answering the plethora of reiterated questions like this one.
    The problem is the new guys should search the threads for their questions. Before they post the same question that has been asked here 20+ times. SO I don't post as much as before. When a good interesting topic comes up I post. I have been working on an article about why you should learn scales and patterns but I have lost my steam on it...
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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  12. #12
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Cool Back to the question.....

    --- On what basis are you choosing the chords, the root is always a note from the major scale, but why are some minor, and some major, and some diminished? I know the difference, but I don't know how you got there.

    I'll answer it this way.

    Scales are notes - so the C scale would include the notes C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C
    Now a key is made from the scale but shown in a format like this;
    I major Tonic - C
    ii minor super tonic - Dm
    iii minor mediant - Em
    IV Major subdominant - F
    V Major dominant - G
    vi minor relative minor - Am
    vii minor leading tone diminishsed Bm7b5 that b5 is the diminished part.

    Lets get why out of the way. Because long ago somebody decided to do it this way. Leave it at that and move on.

    Now notice the key has three Majors and 3 minors and one diminished. Those I, ii, iii, etc. are the Nashville numbering system and will help with your chord progression work.

    I just accept somethings and move on without having to know all the nitty gritty. I'm thankful that they, long ago, figured it out and left me the answer. Use which ever way makes since to you.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 06-25-2004 at 03:32 AM.

  13. #13
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    but if you never understand the why of this, you'll be severely crippled.

    he wants to know why some are major and some are minor. thats important to know.

    i'll give a shot at explaining it.

    to harmonize a scale means simply to derive all possible chords from it that are both possible and diatonic--that is, native to this key. you have a set of seven notes in a major scale. you therefore have seven possible root notes for chords. other possible chords that are diatonic to the key are various inversions of these chords. the scale--whichever scale you're working with, whether it's a minor scale or a mode--spawns a set of characteristic chords particular in thier sequence to that scale type. here's how you do it:

    1. you have the major scale, composed of these steps from any root note: whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half.
    2. each one of those notes will serve as the root note for one of the seven chords in the key.
    3. start on your root, and pick every other scale note until you have a triad, or, if you want to take it further, a seventh chord.

    if you do this with the c major scale, your first scale note, and thus your first root note, is C. using every other scale note, you choose E, G, and B. and there's your c major seventh chord, the first chord in the key of C major. another way of saying this is that you're stacking thirds. the scale dictates whether those thirds are major or minor. the reason has to do with the number of non-scale notes that exist between the scale notes. you can see this easily on a piano. for harmonizing a scale, i find it's easier to think of it as "taking every other scale note."

    your second scale note is D. starting there, choose every other scale note. your chord will be made up of D, F, A, and C. this is a d minor 7th chord. this chord type always occupies the second "slot" in a major key harmonization sequence.

    try it for every note and you'll get the chords in the key of C major. minus the possible inversions.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by szulc View Post
    GABCDEF
    EFGABCD
    CDEFGAB

    If you Lay the Major scale on top of itself in the above manner (notice how each row is just the notes of C Major starting at 1,3,and 5 from the bottom up), you are creating the harmonized C Major scale. This same formula works for any Major scale (or other diatonic 7 note scale).
    The distance between any two adjacent notes in the stacks is called an interval and the name is based on the distance of note from the root of the major scale.
    If you number the notes 1-7, then the distance from C to E would be called a Major 3rd (M3) and the distance from C to G a Perfect 5th (P5). Notice that these are 4 and 7 half steps, respectively. The distance from D to F is a Minor 3rd (m3) because it is only 3 half steps and the distance from B to F is a Diminished 5th (d5 or b5) because it is only 6 half steps.
    Major intervals become Minor intervals when flatted and Perfect intervals become Diminished when flatted. If you then study this arrangement of notes that make up the chord scale you will notice the chord built on 1, 4 and 5 (I,IV,V)all have the same interval structure(M3,P5). This interval structure is called a Major chord. Similarly the chords built on 2, 3 and 6 (ii,iii,vi) have the same structure(m3,P5). This is called a Minor chord.
    That leaves the chord built on the 7 (viio). This has the interval structure m3,d5. This is called diminished.
    Thank you szulc! this is by far the best and clearest explanation I've come across to a question that has been plaguing me for as long as I care to remember.

  15. #15
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Starting on any root note just start skipping notes. I find that it is a good practice to learn how to play your scales by skipping notes that way your fingers get trained to form triads, chords or extentions easily.
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