Jump to content
Gsugirl

Melodies & Chords

Recommended Posts

I am new to playing the acoustic guitar and I was wondering if anyone out there could help me understand how to play melodies and chords simultaneously? I can play them each by themselves but when it comes down to playing them both I am very confused! 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gsugirl,

 

There are some very goo lessons on this site to get you started. 

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It begins with the key signature of the song.  Once you've determined the key you are to play in, then you have some idea which chords are most likely used in the progression.  

 

Once you have the chords being used, you can see these are all derived from the scale of the I (one) chord, which will be identical to the key signature.  In other words, if the key is "C", then the I chord will always be C major.  

 

Other chords in the progression will be extracted from the C Major scale.  Let's say you're playing a rather simple I-IV-V (one-four-five) progression you'll see the C Major scale contains the intervals of F and G which correspond to the (IV) F Major and the (V) G Major chord.  A G flat Major chord would not be typical in a song in C.  That also suggests you probably won't play a G flat in the melody.  You occasionally might, but that's a different explanation.  

 

Melodies will (almost always) follow the notes contained in the (chromatic) scale of the chord you are playing.  This makes learning scales fairly important to your progress as a musician.  

 

 

The mechanics of how to play melodies along with chords varies with how you strum the strings of your guitar.  If you use a pick, you might play melody notes by not hitting certain strings, muting strings with your finger(s) or by dropping an unused fretting hand finger onto a string used in the chord shape.

 

Melodies and chords together are more easily accomplished by playing fingerstyle.  Using your fingers rather than a pick allows the freedom to hit selectively on whichever string(s) you choose.  Hybrid picking mixes both a pick and a fingerstyle plucking with your middle and ring finger and occasionally your pinky.   

 

That's basically the how do they get there and the how does the player get to them.  Are you taking lessons from an instructor?   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leonard has been around for a long time.  His books move you forward slowly but you will learn if you stick with the plan as it is laid out.

 

There are several good lessons and explanations on this forum if have a question and you need more information.  

 

I also tend to suggest https://www.justinguitar.com/

 

Do not bounce around between lessons though.  

 

Chasing the next bright shiny things is a waste of your time.  Good lesson plans are laid out to build this week's lesson on what you have learned and mastered the week prior and the week prior to that.  So follow the course work as it is laid out.  

 

You might occasionally even go back a bit in your lessons and try applying what you are learning now to the material you mastered a few weeks back.  Be imaginative and be creative with your embellishments to your older material, that's the thinking of a musician.  

 

So finish the Leonard plan before you move to another.  When you move, start from the start.  Even if you find re-learning material boring, hearing and doing the simple steps taken from a fresh voice is worth the time.  

 

Good luck.

 

Did I answer your question?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes that's what I've been doing. It's just that I got to a section of the book where it wanted me to play the chords and melodies and I got confused on that specific part. Like the book is doing a good job of teaching me I just think it didn't do a good job of explaining step by step on how to play melodies and chords at the same time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm kind of late to this, but I found "Ode to Joy" is a great little piece to start learning how to play chords and melodies at the same time. The chords are just C, F, and G, but playing the melody on top of those chords makes it much trickier. This is something that I teach students who already have basic fundamentals down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just read my first response to the op and to this, "The mechanics of how to play melodies along with chords varies with how you strum the strings of your guitar.  If you use a pick, you might play melody notes by not hitting certain strings, muting strings with your finger(s) or by dropping an unused fretting hand finger onto a string used in the chord shape", I would add, you may also play melody notes with chords by playing chord inversions.  That would typically mean playing up the neck though, so not a technique for newbies in most cases.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry everyone I haven’t been replying. I’ve actually haven’t had time to get back to learning how to play because I’m taking six classes in college right now. But thanks for all of the advice and tips. I will surely apply them when I get back to playing. I think for me one of the most confusing things is playing songs without hesitating between each note. I use a pic to play, I haven’t actually got down the finger picking yet. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×