Chord Melody Guitar 1 & 2

I just finished Chord Melody Guitar 1 and am just starting Chord Melody Guitar 2. I am progressing well and am able to make many beautiful sounds. What I do not understand is how it connects to songs. If a song for example is a 1/4/5 chord progression and is in the key of C … you are playing a C chord / F chord / and a G chord. When you play those chords you are going to play the 1/3/5 notes of those chords. When would you add those other “singer” notes as they would change the chord. You would not add the 7th note of any of those chords for example as that would make it a 7th chord and if the song had a regular major chord it would sound different then the song. Can someone give me an example of a simple 1/4/5 chord progression song and show me what “singer” notes they would add. Thanks

I’m sure that David Reed @ImproviseForReal can provide a proper answer, but I’ll have a go at explaining my take on it. If I have the wrong idea, I’m more than happy to learn a better take, so here goes.

One way to look at it could be that you’re fulfilling several roles. Your providing the ‘bass’ (the root, which is probably the lowest, & thus defining, note) , harmony from the ‘choir’ with other chord tones in the middle, and melody with the highest note as the ‘singer’.

The ‘bass’ & ‘choir’ are holding the progression together. The ‘singer’, as with a real singer, can make interesting explorations above that.

A bass player I know is fond of saying ‘It’s not a C chord till I say it is’. He’s holding the ‘rudder’ because he has control of the low end. :wink:

Does that make any sense?

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I understand what you detailed and it is the same as I understand it. I just don’t have any examples how it would apply to play an existing song. When a singer is singing a song and for example a C chord is playing, would the singer change notes that they are singing different than the chord? If a C chord is playing and the singer is for example singing a F note would that not fit in that well with the C chord being played as the triad of a C chord does not have an F note in it. Has anyone taken this course?? If so do you have any song examples you could post. Any help would be appreciated.

Hi Randy. I’m just at the beginning of the chord melody 1 course, but I can tell you as a singer, if I’m singing over a C chord, I’m not only singing the 1, 3, and 5 notes. I am singing other notes that are in the song’s melody that work in the key of C (and sometimes even notes that are outside the key).

For example, in the song The Rose, I start out playing the C chord (the I chord). While playing the C, and before I switch to the G chord (the V) in the 2nd measure, I’m singing the notes - c d c e f e. These are the 1-2-1-3-4-3 notes. Then I switch to the G chord where I’m singing - e f, which are the 6 and 7 of the G chord, and the 3 and 4 of the C chord. Over an F chord (IV) a bit later on I’m singing d and c.

I hope this makes sense and helps to answer your question.

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Hi @Randy, thanks for sharing the question here. And thank you to @DavidW and @ShelleyHaiken for sharing their perspectives. I think that all of this will make much more sense when we look at a song together, which I know we still have to do. (My apologies for not getting back to you with a song suggestion yet. I’ll try to get to that in the next couple of days.)

But what Shelley said is exactly right. What you can do with chord melody isn’t to simply replace the guitar part that you hear on a record. It’s an approach to the guitar that allows you to recreate the entire song all by yourself. This includes the melody to the song, which of course uses notes outside the chord notes. This is the whole point of the “singer” role in the chord melody method that you’re learning. It allows you to express any melody note you want with complete freedom, while simultaneously accompanying that note by any chord you want. The “bass player” and the “choir” are the parts that are providing the chord in the background, and the “singer” role is the part that’s free to express any melody you like.

Shelley mentioned a great example with that song “The Rose”, but this is how EVERY song works. So you could literally pick any song in the world, learn to play the melody, and then use our chord melody method to create a more complete arrangement of that song in which you would combine the melody with chords in the background.

Again, I think it will help you to see an example with a real song, and we’ll do that together soon. But it also might help to go to back to lesson 9 of Chord Melody Guitar 1 which is where I introduced the concept of the singer for the first time. My explanation in that video lesson is about the best I can explain it. Melodies to songs aren’t limited to just the chord notes. So we need to have the ability to play any melody note we want while simultaneously accompanying that melody note by any chord we want. This is what the “singer/choir/bass” method allows us to begin doing.

Incidentally, another one of my tasks for this summer is to begin a free series of videos on YouTube for everyone who has taken my chord melody course. In the YouTube series, we’ll create a few song arrangements together note-for-note. So you’ll get to see how you can apply everything you learned in the video course to familiar songs, and we’ll talk about different ideas and techniques for arranging the songs. The purpose isn’t to replace the video course, so I won’t go into all of the underlying skills and concepts. But the YouTube series will be a nice complement to the video course because it will give you concrete examples with note-for-note arrangements. So that will be another way that we can make all of these ideas more clear.



Off topic, but great song. I was at university when the movie came out & one of my house mates was a movie buff, going to the cinema several times a week. One day he can back from a matinee (afternoon, if that doesn’t translate to US) performance & said you just have to come to see & hear this one, so we both went that same evening[1]. Stunning performance. I got the album & have listened many times since. :slight_smile:

[1] I only recall one other movie he went right back to see straight away (IIRC with that one he never left the theatre, just staying where he was). That was Alien; he wanted to watch again straight away specifically to watch the audience reaction at one moment.

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I’m playing with chord/melody as well. I’m finding that a song melody line with bass notes marking the chord changes, is a great place to start.

Thanks for that nostalgic post @DavidW. Yes we do call afternoon performances (movies and plays) matinees here as well. The movie was wonderful and I’m going to try to find a streaming version of it since I haven’t seen it in forever.

While I enjoyed Alien, it’s not a movie I want to see again LOL

I didn’t take up his suggestion to go see that one (yes, he did go back again, even after seeing it twice already).

I link SF/Fantasy, but am not big on ‘shock’ as entertainment. :wink:

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I don’t understand this forum at all. I was trying to get some help with the chord Melody guitar course and I keep getting emails about this movie alien. Lol

An example of what a friend on another forum calls ‘banter’? :smiley:

I hope you feel you’ve got ‘value’ from the ‘on topic’ feedback too?

Actually I was hoping to get an example of somebody who’s redone a song with chord melody showing the different singer notes and choir and bass notes they used

I hope you’ve noticed the new topic about The Rose @Randy ?

@Randy, I love that idea. I think that sharing videos of our practicing would be one of the most exciting and beneficial uses of this forum. Maybe you can I could start the trend? Now that we’ve begun looking at “Blowin’ in the Wind”, maybe that process could eventually lead to creating an arrangement that you or I could share in this forum. I can’t publish an arrangement of that particular song on YouTube because of the copyright, but here in the forum I think it’s fine for students to share their practicing with each other, as long as the video is clearly not intended as a performance.

@Randy, I also want to second what @DavidW just suggested. (Thanks for that, David!) In that thread on “The Rose” we’ve begun to talk a little about arranging that song, and @mem has already laid out a beautiful approach to the arrangement, choosing a key that works very nicely for that song on the guitar. So that’s another conversation that you could follow in parallel with our discussion about “Blowin’ in the Wind”, and after seeing a couple of different songs I think you’ll see how you could make some of these same choices yourself.

I will look at that thanks

I will work on that and upload it

By the way @ShelleyHaiken and @DavidW, I don’t know if Randy was being tongue-in-cheek about the Alien comment, but I just wanted to let you both know how deeply I appreciate your kindness and how you both contribute to such a safe and friendly atmosphere in our forum.

One of the challenges with any forum is that at some point its mission begins to splinter into different paths. Members who have contributed consistently since the beginning form friendships and are able to communicate in a more more agile way because they have so much shared experience and connection from past conversations. But as the forum grows, new musicians will come to it looking for more of a knowledgebase where they can find quick answers to their questions.

This isn’t anyone’s fault or responsibility to fix. It’s just not possible to be Facebook and Wikipedia simultaneously. My only requirement for keeping this forum open is that we maintain our culture of zero tolerance for any kind of personal attacks or abuse, that we address each other with love and politeness, and that we try to stay somewhat focused on music since that’s the common interest that we all share. But I personally believe that bringing in related experiences like watching movies is an integral part of really understanding each other, and figuring out who we really are as musical artists. So I hope that we’ll continue sharing ideas freely, exchanging stories and memories, and enriching each other’s lives with these perspectives. Thank you both for everything you add to our community!


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Thanks for your comment & understanding @ImproviseForReal . I took the ‘LOL’ at the end of his post as an indicator that while his prime interest is in a proper answer he wasn’t too put off by the ‘banter’. I hope I judged correctly?

I am not that used to forums and am trying to get more familiar. I was not put off at all about the banter I just did’nt know that conversations in a topic could go in different directions not related to the post.