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Composition: Creating Harmony
In music, harmony refers to the use of several pitches (or notes) that are generally played simultaneously to produce a range of tones to create desired musical effects. The relationship between two pitches in music is called an interval. Harmony is created when various notes and intervals are combined into a chord. The way these harmonic chords are constructed determines whether they create consonant (pleasant) or dissonant (harsh) sounds. Various types of music have specific rules for creating harmony. Typically, harmony in Western music is rooted in consonance, which results in a pleasant balance within musical compositions.
One of the most basic harmonic progressions for all tonal music is the I-V tonic-dominant pattern. This pattern has been used for centuries in millions of compositions and was especially popular during the Classical era. Our ears naturally want to hear the tension of the dominant resolve to the tonic. This tension and resolution lie at the center of Western harmony. While the tonic-dominant relationship has been greatly elaborated upon over the centuries, it is still the organizational force behind all standard harmonic progressions.
In this assignment, you will notate the vocal line of a simple song and add consonant chords using the I-V pattern. You will then have the opportunity to write your own song, complete with a melody line, accompanying chords, and lyrics.