Music Theory – 00016

We’re continuing today with last time’s Chord Progression. I have provided the entire Bass Line this time so you can just focus on the melody. It would be best if you started a new project to work with this and I’ll have to do a little bit of explaining to show you how to add the sustain pedal effect.

First things first. Here’s the eight-Measure piano piece with only the bass provided. If you did something different yesterday, which you pretty much must have, be happy with what you made and now we are going to do something different with the same chords:



It isn’t necessary to add the “Ped” and “*” which represent pushing the sustain pedal down and then raising it, but it will make things sound better.

What I suggest you do is to first enter the first measure’s bass notes and pedaling and then copy and paste that measure so that measures 1,2,4,5, and 6 are all the same. Then input measure three manually including the pedaling and then paste that measure into measure 7, the second to the last. Finally enter the last measure by hand.

Articulation ToolTo insert the “Ped” and “*” symbols below the bass notes, first input the notes for the measure in question. Select the Articulation Tool from NotePad’s tool palette and then click below the note where you want the “Ped” symbol to appear (the cursor will have a little up arrow when it is positioned properly) and click the “Ped” symbol in the pop-up window and then click “Select” in that same window. Then go to the note where you want the sustain pedal released and do the same thing again except select “*”.

Doing all the notes and pedaling for one measure allows you to then copy and paste without doing any of that again for the measures involved.

Now for the creative part of the assignment.

Add notes to the treble clef. I would suggest half notes and quarter notes. Stick to the notes of the chord for that measure and lean toward the upper part of the treble clef to sing high above what is going on below. If you want to get adventurous, use any notes of the C Major Scale. If you are a novice, and this is for beginners, first populate the measures with notes from the appropriate chord and then edit with connecting notes to smooth things out.

Next time, I will provide notes in the treble clef for you to work between. So what you do today, save so you don’t have to reenter those bass notes and pedaling. You can clear a measure of a staff simply by clicking in it with the Selection Tool (the arrow) and then hitting back space (delete) on your computer keyboard.

See you soon.

2 thoughts on “Music Theory – 00016

  1. Interesting post and the suggestion that pupils use a relatively inactive melody against the background provided is good advice, in the early stages, because of the dangers of undesirable (contrapuntal) correlations between the two.

    I’ve used an instrumental adaptation of this arpeggiated style but using a sustained ‘bell’ effect, where the instrumental layers each take on the attack forms. The interesting thing about the style is that unsuccessful voice leading succeeds when the chord is projected through time ‘melodically’ instead of being played homophonically.

  2. This “bell” effect is rather interesting. I read your most recent blog post where you briefly mention this and I imagine a chorus of actual bell players where each person has one or two literal bells in charge of specific pitches. The coordination to play melodies and harmonies with this group of bell players and to make the result polished and musical must be maddening. I’ve seen it done at Christmastime on TV and it was quite remarkable. I had never thought to use this concept across, say, a string section. I do tend to limit my thinking to be more melodic where essentially single-pitch instruments are concerned. With solid harmonic voice leading I think both can be achieved, albeit some parts would be regularly off the beat.

    Here, with beginners I have fast-tracked through the basics of recognizing music on a score and relating the notes to a music keyboard and we are working, for now, as if a piano solo and the simplest of musical passages is the end all be all. They are understandably finding all this to be powerfully alien and difficult. At this point I am introducing the idea of changing chords and will soon be describing harmonic logic from a classical western mentality. Ti “wants” to go to Do, V tends to I, the tritone demands resolution. I am finding describing these things and other even simpler concepts to laymen to be both challenging and educational for myself. And these articles are turning out to be highly useful for my beginner piano students as well.

    A pleasant melody laid atop a couple simple chords is always a worthy goal. I am a minimalist myself, insisting that each part have interesting melodic content which could stand alone and as such I use few instrument sounds where the whole is, at least to me, a little polyphonic in nature.

    Voice leading and harmony are very important to me, as is giving each part something interesting to do. Strange that I am often concerned with a nonexistent computer bass player and holding its interest by not merely playing the root of the current chord but giving it something amusing to do.

    Please feel free to stop by and comment as you see fit, and please don’t feel insulted if I try to simplify and water down your input for my intended audience here. Community and varied input enriches us all.

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