Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Joy to the World Scale + Harmony Experiment

Practicing Scales & Chord Progressions.... What's the point????

I came up with this little seasonal exercise to help my students practice applying their scale & chord progression knowledge (I, IV, V7) to a familiar Christmas tune.  I like how it helps them to see the practical application of technical exercises in everyday music.
1.  Starting on C play the opening melody to Joy to the World with your Right Hand (Descending C Major scale). "Joy to the World, the Lord is Come"

2. Play again adding a C Major root chord in the left on each note of the melody. Does that sound good to you?

3.Experiment changing the C Major root chords to IV (F) or V7 (G) chords until the left hand chords harmonize well with the melody line.  Hint: To sound like traditional Joy to the World, choose chords that include at least one note from the melody line.  For example if you are playing C in the right hand a C chord (CEG) or F chord  2nd inversion (CFA) will sound better than G7 (BFG).

Additional Challenges:
4. Add your chord choices to the Music Ace Doodle Pad.
5. Once you've finalized your chord choices, try omitting a few of the left hand chords for a more legato sound.
6.  Transpose the opening theme of Joy to the World to the keys of G, D, A, E & F Major.
7.  Improvise the left hand chords.  Try playing open fifths, broken or arpeggiated chords.

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