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Harmonizing  Harmonizing in 3rds   Harmonizing with triads

Guitar Chords and Guitar Scale Harmonizing

Most harmonized lines, whether guitars, horns, strings, tuned percussion playing them or sung by a vocalist, are built on notes known as chord tones. Chord tones are the root, 3rd, 5th and the 7th of any given scale. In the illustrations to follow, we will learn how to harmonize in thirds in the A major and A harmonic minor scales. We will stay within the diatonic structure of each scale and cover up to 3 octaves. Recall that diatonic means to stay within the scale, or use just the notes of a particular scale.

The illustration below outlines the notes of the A major scale. The red line shows where the 2nd octave begins and the first ends. From the (Root A to the next A 7th fret would be the 1st octave. Look below and notice the first A note and second A note, this is the first octave. By playing the 2nd A note to the third A note would be within the 2nd Octave, etc….  

Look at the illustration once again, this time notice the notes that make up the A major scale. The notes are from the (Root A), B, C#, D, E, F#, G#. The diatonic major scale has 7 notes, with the 8th note the same as the 1st and repeating in sequence. Each note following the root goes higher than the next. The root note is the lowest note in the key. For Example, the A note is the root note for the key of A major, but the lowest note can only be the root note. The C would be the root note in the key of C major, but it would be the lowest C note.

The two illustrations below will illustrate the key of A major covering two octaves. The bottom illustration is the same major key, but is shown in tablature.

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