Put Chords to a Song
Home on the Range
Examples on this page require Noteworthy Player version 1.55 or later. Click on the icon to download your free copy. Click here for further information and troubleshooting .
Home On The Range is a very good song for study because it can be harmonized simply at first, and then have its chord structure spruced up. First, let's deal with the simple I-IV-V harmonization.
Step 1 - Listen to this MIDI file of the song. Only the I, IV and V chords are used to harmonize it.
Step 3 - Try to pick the chords for the song yourself. There are two ways to do this:
a. Play the example, and chord along on a guitar, autoharp or keyboard instrument
The song is in the key of F. Your chords are I (F major), IV (B-flat major) and V (C major or C7)
b. Use Noteworthy Composer to insert the chords in the file. (You must have a registered copy of the program in order to do this)
This example requires a registered ($39.95) copy of Noteworthy Composer. Click on the icon to download your copy. Click here for further information and troubleshooting .
Note the I, IV & V chord examples on the lower staff at the beginning of the song.
Highlight the measure with the chord you want to try, and click the 'copy' icon or "ctrl-C."
Go to the measure where you want to put the chord, and left-click so that the cursor is in the measure. Press "ctrl-V" to insert the notes.
Remove the whole rest from the measure by placing the cursor ahead of it and backspacing.
If you have any questions or problems visit this website's, Noteworthy Composer page or the Jam School Forum on Delphi.
Once you've successfully dealt with this exercise, try chording some other simple songs. More examples will be online soon. Also coming, will be a fancier version of Home on the Range with some extra chord changes.
Fancier Chord Changes to Home on the Range
This example requires Noteworthy Player version 1.55 or later. Click on the icon to download your free copy. Click here for further information and troubleshooting .
In a song like Home on the Range, where each chord change lasts an average of two measures, we can often add in more colorful chords to make the song flow more strongly from chord change to chord change. Having the chords change every measure instead of every two measures makes the song sound smoother and deeper than it did with just the basic I-IV-V.
Here's an example of how a song's chord changes can be dressed up for maximum effect. I'll give you a blow-by-blow of what's happening, but you may not understand it all for a while. That's okay. It's only meant to demonstrate some of the possibilities that are available. I suggest printing out this page so that you can see the comments as you listen to the song.
Download the fancier version of Home On The Range in either the block chord version or the rhythmic version for Noteworthy Composer/Noteworthy Player. If you have trouble with those, here is a MIDI file of the spruced-up version. Listen, watch, read the comments below, and compare it with the MIDI of the I-IV-V version used in the exercise above.
Here is the blow-by-blow of how the chord changes work:
Measures 1-4: F-Bb-C-F provide the normal I-IV-V-I chord introduction to the song.
Measure 5: F major is the normal I chord for this song
Measure 6: F7 is the dominant seventh (V7) chord of Bb, which follows in measure 7. Like most color chords, this F7 was chosen because of its relationshop with the chord coming after it, as opposed to the chord before it.
Measure 7: Bb major is the normal subdominant (IV) chord in the key of F.
Measure 8: Bb minor is the IV chord of F's parallel minor key, F minor. It is borrowed to provide some color.
Measure 9: F major is again the normal tonic (I) chord for this key.
Measure 10: The G chord (the F in the melody makes it actually a G7) is the dominant (V) chord of the C7 which is about to come. It is essentially the same trick that we used in measure 6. Now, understand that I'm not talking about the V chord of the key that we're in. To use this trick, you look at the next chord ahead, pretend that it's a I chord in its own key, and find the V chord that would go along with it. In the key of C (the upcoming chord is a C7), the V chord is G or G7. In measure 6, we saw the Bb chord coming, so we picked F7 (the V chord from the key of Bb) to set us up for that Bb chord.
Measures 11-12: In the I-IV-V version of this song, both of these measures were C7. Almost anytime you have a dominant seventh chord, you can pretend that it's the V chord of a key (in the case, it really is) and put the associated ii minor chord with it. In this case, C or C7 is the V chord in the key of F, and Gm or Gm7 would be the ii minor chord. (built on G, the #2 step in the F scale) Watch out for ii-V's especially if you're into jazz. You're going to see a lot of them.
Measures 13-16: These are a repeat of measures 5-8.
Measures 17-18: F major and C7 are the normal I and V7 chords. Since neither of these chords takes up more than one measure there was neither the need or the opportunity to color them consistent with the rest of the exercise.
Measures 19-20: This was the final F major (I) chord in the basic version of the song. Adding the Bb chord in measure 19 gave us a nice IV-I "Amen" cadence with which to end the song.
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