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Beginner BIAB and chords

O.C.V.

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North Lancs
If I write an original melody I have real problems sorting out the chord structure. My theory in general is not strong but working out the chords is quite a blind spot.
Can anyone give me SIMPLE instructions for using BIAB to get to the chords.
I have no problem writing the tune into BIAB, or putting the chord in, if I know them, and making backing tracks. I'd be grateful to anyone who can help me fill this gap in my knowledge. I should add that I am not very computer-literate either.
Thanks
O.C.V.
 

jbtsax

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Wow. That's a tall order. Let me begin by saying that the very basic chords in any given key are constructed using the scale step as the lowest note which is then called the root of the chord. On top of that is the third 3 notes higher counting the root, and the fifth, 5 notes higher counting the root. On the musical staff they will either go space space space, or line line line. These are the simplest 3 note chords which are also called triads.

The most commonly used chords in pop music are the chords based on the first note of the scale designated by the Roman numeral I called "the tonic", the chord built on the fourth note of the scale Roman numeral IV, and the chord built on the fifth note of the scale Roman numeral V. Very often the V chord will have one more note stacked on top which is the 7th making it a V7 or dominant 7th.

These 3 chords are the major chords in each major key. The chords built on the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th steps of the scale, ii, iii, vi are minor chords. The scale built on the 7th step of the scale vii is a diminished chord.

Suppose the song you wrote is in the key of C with no sharps or flats. Your choices to "harmonize" or add harmony to each measure in the key of C would be to type one of the chord symbols below in the measure and see if you like the sound.

C, Dm, Em, F, G (or G7) Am, Bdim, C

To give C or F a more jazzy sound, you could try Cmaj7 or Fmaj7 OR C6 or F6
To give Dm, Em, or Am a more jazzy sound, you could try Dm7, Em7, or Am7

Some tips: Most tunes end on the tonic chord. Many but not all start on the tonic chord. V or V7 generally leads back to I or maybe vi. IV often leads to V, but it can also go back to I. I vi IV V I is a familiar chord progression from the '60's. Good luck with your song.
 

buckg

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North Carolina, USA
Yet another dumb question (maybe I'm out of touch): What's BIAB?:headscratch:
 

kernewegor

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cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
If I write an original melody I have real problems sorting out the chord structure. My theory in general is not strong but working out the chords is quite a blind spot.
Can anyone give me SIMPLE instructions for using BIAB to get to the chords.
I have no problem writing the tune into BIAB, or putting the chord in, if I know them, and making backing tracks. I'd be grateful to anyone who can help me fill this gap in my knowledge. I should add that I am not very computer-literate either.
Thanks
O.C.V.
I think that BIAB will put chords to a melody line, if you know what buttons to press - but I have never tried it. Some clever person on here will know, though...

I fool around on a keyboard and figure it out that way.
 

Colin the Bear

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There is no simple answer to this question. Many times you'll see the same song arranged using a variety of different chord progressions

If you use I IV V , (in key of Cmajor, C F G) and apply the chord which has the note in the melody you'll get a simple accompaniment.

In key of C major , if you use the Cmaj7 Dm7 Em7 Fmaj7 G7 Am7 Bm7b5 (B half diminished) list and similarly apply the chord containing the note in the melody you'll get a more complicated accompaniment, which may or may not be sucessful.

You might consider using the least movement to harmonise the next note in the melody. Which will vary from instrument to instrument.

Some jazz arrangements have the accomaniment in a different key to the melody.

If you find yourself a guitar or banjo book on chord progressions you'll find examples of how you can march from one chord to the next. It's a matter of taste and preference and experiece and practice how you harmonise a song. You might ask a jazz guitarist or pianist and get many many versions for the same piece.

Didn't Sinatra insist on Nelson Riddle to arrange his songs. The arrangement can flatter the soloist, be it voice or instrument. Sometimes that special sound on sax isn't from the sax it's from the accompaniment.

What a minefield.
 

Chris

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OVC, BiaB will put chords to your melody line, that's the good news.

Lets presume it is a 16 bar tune, if you have the melody written out then you know the notes for the first couple of bars, work out what KEY would work for those bars, G if there is only one # or Bb if there a couple of b's. select that for your tune. enter the notation.

Along the top line the is a list of functions click on 'window' 3/4's of the way down the drop down list are the 4 lines you need, 'Chord Sub Dialogue' + 'Auto generate Chord subs' then ''Chord reharmonist Dialogue' + 'Auto Generate Chord reharm'

Clicking on the first of each pair will get you a drop down menu, If you follow the on screen instructions it will give you a chord progression for your melody line. From inside each menu there are a few things that you can alter such as style jazz chords or pop etc. Maj6 and not Maj7.

I would start with a simple 8 bar tune one chorus long in 'C'. Let BiaB generate a melody only then use the instructions above to add the chords to it. That way you will have an idea of what BiaB will give you.

Chris..
 

O.C.V.

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North Lancs
Many thanks to the folks who have responded to my query. I think I should be in a better position to harmonise my tune now.
Best wishes to all.
O.C.V.
 

Pegwill

Member
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56
Hi there is also another way and it may even be easier. Save your melody line as a midi file, easy to do in BIAB then use the import chords from midi file function which you will find under the File tab. If you use this method you can choose the style you want eg swing, bossa,pop etc before you import the melody. BIAB automatically generates chords in your chosen style
Hope this helps
Regards to all
 

Pegwill

Member
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56
Just following up on the BIAB above there is a very easy free scoring programme available from Muscore ( musescore.org) which is easy to use. Many of you may be already using it. It has lots advantages including being able to print out your score , probably in a better format the BIAB. Anyway you can also save your melody to a midi file then load it into BIAB via the import midi chord option desribed above and your chords will be automaticlly generated to accompany your melody.

Muscore is free sofware and is very useful as it can be used to score all instruments including drum parts that are real drum parts including conductor scores of all arangements, but I expect you knew that as its been around for some time.
Hope this helps
Regards
 

kernewegor

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Thanks Pegwell! I thought it could be done somehow. It sounds as though this answers the OP.

Although I have not played around with it for this purpose, I assume that BIAB and musescore (maybe one better or easier than the other) could be used to learn how to write melodic lines, experiment with counterpoint, harmonies and so on, and playback one's attempts.

There could be a market here.

Members who are teachers could design courses using this feature, based on setting tasks and giving suggestions as to how the student might learn through experiment and so on.

An ex girlfriend of mine is an online professor in the USA - in fact she almost created the concept, and earns a good income from it (her field is not music) - so there are possibilities here for the eternal musicians' problem of keeping the wolf from the door...
 

Chris

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I don't think a midi melody line on it's own will trigger harmonist function in BiaB Pegwill. Plus just writing a melody line is just as quick in BiaB as in musescore. Once written the line can be given any style you wish then chords in that style etc etc etc. Once you have a song written in BiaB with the chords intro and end, Musescore will open the BiaB file then you could print a different score to suit your needs
 

O.C.V.

Member
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113
Locality
North Lancs
Thanks for the recent replies re chords and Biab. I have been using Finale Printmusic for writing sheet music and scores. I find it easier than Biab for writing music. I have found that I can write a melody line in Printmusic, save it as an audiofile then import it into Biab and that can provide a chord sequence. Alternatively Printmusic can harmonise the melody but without naming the chords. I can then derive the chord names from the harmonies.
Thanks also for mentioning Musescore, I'll certainly have a look at that.
Best wishes to all,
O.C.V.
 

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