Harmony is the
musical environment (or lack of it) in which a melody
exists. For the pianist, harmony means two things:
1. Notes in the right hand under the melody
(used to support the melody.)
2. Notes or chords in the left hand.
If a pianist plays any two notes,
he has created an interval. If the notes are
sounded together, it is called an harmonic interval:
If the notes are sounded
individually, it is termed a melodic interval:
It is obvious, then, that every
melody contains an implied harmony, because a melody is
a string of melodic intervals.
Here are the basic intervals of use
to a pianist:
The most useful intervals are 3rds,
5ths, 7ths, octaves (8ths), and 10ths, and as we proceed
through the various styles covered in this book, you
will understand why.
Intervals may be altered through
the use of sharps and flats, so we can have a 7th or a
flat 7th, a 5th or a sharp 5th, and so on.
If a pianist plays three or more
notes together, he has created a chord. Three
note chords are called triads; four notes or more
are termed extended chords (because the intervals
of the chord are extended past the triad.)
There are six basic chord types:
1. Major. Composed of a root, 3rd, and 5th.
2. Minor. Composed of a root, flat 3rd, and 5th.
3. Augmented. Composed of a root, 3rd, and sharp
4. Diminished. Composed of a root, flat 3rd,
flat 5th, and double-flat 7th. (Double-flat
7th is formal music language for the 6th.)
5. Half-Diminished. Composed of a root, flat
3rd, flat 5th, and flat 7th.
6. Dominant Seventh. Composed of a root, 3rd, 5th, and
a flat 7th.
Here is how these six chord types
look on the keyboard, all built on C:
Other notes can be added to these basic triads,
creating an extension, or extended chord.
The six basic extensions are:
1. 6th. The 6th scale note.
2. 7th. The 7th scale note flatted.
3. Major 7th. The 7th scale note.
4. 9th. One octave higher than the 2nd scale note.
5. 11th. One octave higher than the 4th scale note.
6. 13th. One octave higher than the 6th scale note.
For more about harmony and chords, you are invited to
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