Musical notes may sound one after the other or at the same time.
If the notes sound one after the other with a rhythm, we call it a melody. The melody is the main part of a piece. It consists of pitch, rhythm, timbre, texture, and loudness.
In melody, we use phrases or motifs to carry the ideas that we repeat in a piece. We can make music by just playing notes one after the other. However, most of the time, a piece of music consists more than just a melody.
We can compose a music by just playing musical notes one after the other. However, most of the time, a piece of music consists more than just melodies. It also has an underlying harmonic structure.
If the notes sound at the same time with a pleasant effect, we call it harmony. The term comes from the Greek word ‘Harmonia’ which means joint. To learn about harmony, we should know a few terms.
In music, a chord is three or more notes that sound at the same time with a pleasing effect. Harmony deals with chords.
Consonance and dissonance
When a chord or an interval sounds stable and pleasant, we call it a consonant chord or interval. There are two types of it: perfect or imperfect. Unisons, octaves and perfect fifths are perfect. Minor thirds, major thirds, minor sixths
When a chord or an interval sounds tense, or harsh, we call it a dissonant chord or interval. We need to resolve this tension to a more stable chord or interval. All major and minor seconds and sevenths are dissonant. All augmented and diminished intervals including the tritone are also dissonant.
The perfect fourth interval can be both consonant or dissonant. In Jazz music, the minor ninth is too dissonant. It is the basis of the concept of the avoid notes. The reason for this is that it forms a minor ninth interval with the third note of the scale and it sounds dissonant. Musicians also avoid the minor sixth in Aeolian mode and the minor second in Phrygian mode.
Now let’s start learning about chords.