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Improvising musicians need to understand how the harmony of a piece of music is organized, so that they can easily choose pitches at any instant during their improvised melody that will make sense and harmonize with their accompaniment.

Adventurous improvisors learn how to substitute alternate harmony for those that the composer originally wrote to increase harmonic interest as they play. Those who play this game need to know the harmonic construction of a piece so that they can know what substitution devices will work during a performance

Composers need to build a vocabulary of harmony that they can use as they write their own music. A good portion of that vocabulary is acquired by listening to other composer's works and figuring how their harmony works.

To develop your own powers of analysis, it's valuable to have a collection of analyses available that can show you how more experienced musicians have made sense of the harmonies of compositions that you might know.

I (Dave Luebbert, your webmaster) have done a handful of these for SongTrellis (for Beautiful Love, Four, Giant Steps, Lover Man and Milestones). I'd appreciate any feedback that you might be able to offer since I'm still an amateur at this game. If you feel that you are competent at analysis of harmony, please post articles in Song Discussions. I'll promote them to this department.

The Tunetext service on SongTrellis makes it phenomenally fast to create musical illustrations for your analyses. The musical examples for the two Wikipedia articles referenced (All The Things You Are and the Coltrane Changes article) were created using Tunetext

All of the Beatles tunes analyses were done by Alan W. Pollack for the Soundscapes website, who's done this for nearly every piece that the Beatles members composed.


Analysis: All My Loving       
       Listen to the "All My Loving" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: All The Things You Are       
       Listen to the "All The Things You Are" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: And I Love Her       
       Listen to the "And I Love Her" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Beautiful Love       
       Listen to the "Beautiful Love" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Can't Buy Me Love       
       Listen to the "Can't Buy Me Love" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Coltrane changes       
       Listen to the "Countdown" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Day Tripper       
       Listen to the "Day Tripper" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Dolphin Dance       
       Listen to the "Dolphin Dance" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Drive My Car       
       Listen to the "Drive My Car" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Eleanor Rigby       
       Listen to the "Eleanor Rigby" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Fool On The Hill       
       Listen to the "Fool On The Hill" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Four       
       Listen to the "Four" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Giant Steps       
       Listen to the "Giant Steps" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Hey Jude       
       Listen to the "Hey Jude" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: I Feel Fine       
       Listen to the "I Feel Fine" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: I'm Looking Through You       
       Listen to the "I'm Looking Through You" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Lady Madonna       
       Listen to the "Lady Madonna" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Lover Man       
       Listen to the "Lover Man" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Milestones (modal tune)       
       Listen to the "Milestones (modal tune)" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: My Favorite Things (Coltrane's version)       
       Listen to the "My Favorite Things" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Penny Lane       
       Listen to the "Penny Lane" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Something       
       Listen to the "Something" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: Ticket To Ride       
       Listen to the "Ticket To Ride" listing in "The Changes"


Analysis: With A Little Help From My Friends       
       Listen to the "With A Little Help From My Friends" listing in "The Changes"





Last update: Friday, June 27, 2008 at 11:57 PM.