Join Julian Velard for an in-depth discussion in this video What is voice leading?, part of Music Theory for Songwriters: The Fundamentals.
- When we hear two or more people…singing together in harmony, what are we hearing?…We hear the melody, which is the leading line of tones…and one or more harmony lines,…which are notes related to the melody…at different intervals.…Voicing refers to how the notes of harmony…are ordered and spaced.…We've discussed this…and how those voices can be spread out…across multiple singers or instruments.…Let's apply these voicings to our songwriting…using a concept called voice leading.…Where we'll treat each note of a harmony…as an individual voice.…
So far, we've looked at harmony vertically.…Stacking notes on top of each other into chords.…However with voice leading,…we look at the harmony notes from a horizontal perspective.…Thinking of each harmony as being its own melody.…And the easier that each melody is to sing,…the better.…Thus, the first basic rule of thumb for voice leading…is to have a note travel up or down in pitch…as little as possible from one chord to the next.…Let me demonstrate this for you with a…I, IV, V progression in G major with triad inversions.…
Professional musician Julian Velard starts the course with the building blocks of harmony: notes, scales, intervals, chords, inversions, and basic chord progressions. He then goes into voice leading—showing how to move from one chord to another by changing just one or two notes—and reviews common song forms, from the familiar verse/chorus/verse of pop to the simple verse of the blues. At the end of each chapter, Julian explains the songwriting techniques shown in the chapter within the context of his own original commercially released songs.
- Understanding scales, intervals, and keys
- Triads or three-note chords
- Triad inversions
- Common major-scale chord progressions and cadences
- Voice leading
- Song form elements such as verse, chorus, bridge, hook, and more
- Using common song forms in songwriting
Skill Level Beginner
1. The Building Blocks of Harmony
2. Triads and Chord Progressions
3. Chord Progressions and Voice Leading
4. Song Forms
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