Playing a single melody note can sound a bit boring. So, what are some of the ways to make the melody note sounds more interesting and exciting? Why not consider playing piano chords notes that belong to the left-hand chords?
Knowing your piano chords will help you know what harmony notes to add to the single melody note. For example if you’re playing the basic melody lines of “Ode to Joy” in the key of C. You know you can harmonize the melody lines with the C chord, and the C chord contains of C, E and G. If you add any notes that belong to the C chord into the melody lines, you get that richer sound.
Below is a four-bar melody line of 'Ode to Joy':
Applying the piano chord principle you’ve just learned, you can make the melody notes of this song more complex by adding chord notes that belong to the left-hand chords.
- As you can see on measure 1, you play the C piano chord to harmonize the melody notes. By adding in any notes that belong to the C chord (C, E and G) to the existing melody notes, the melody notes will sound fuller and nicer. It takes a little time to experiment with chord voicing. With this example, I added in a C note below the melody notes to give it a closed voicing.
- On measure 2 - I can choose to play any notes that belong to the G major chords in order to make the melody sound fuller and more interesting. The G major chord has G, B and D notes. In this example, I added in G or D notes below the melody notes.
- On measure 3 - A minor is used to harmonize the melody notes. Using the music theory principle, we can add in any notes that belong to A minor (A, C and E) to layer the “Ode to Joy” melody lines. In this case I picked the A note.
- This last measure of the example is an easier one because you can choose the G note to harmonize all melody notes in this measure.
Knowing your piano chords is fundamental to playing music. If you can play piano chords well, you can harmonize many songs effectively.
If you are thinking about mastering piano chords and improvising, I highly recommend our award winning course - Definitive Piano Improvisation.