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Perhaps the best and most creative use of the Harmony Wheel
is quite possibly its use as a songwriting tool and aid for both Student
and professional alike and the place where it reaches its full creative
potential, as it encompasses song construct, the Nashville Number System,
orchestral composition and hints at counterpoint and arrangement as well
as demonstrating melodic Invention as it plays against chordal textures
and hits on every style of music as well as opening doors for just about
every songwriter, pro or novice by opening up new vistas of seeing and as
such even to the good to great songwriter suffering from writer's block
or stuck in a groove and boring himself to tears.
It can bring relief, much like the aspirin for the common
cold. Also, it brings fresh ways of seeing old things by changing perspective
and is a great source of introducing key transposition and other time proven
"tools of the trade"
A quick look around the Harmony Wheel by a professional
songwriter instantly discloses the fact that the Nashville Number System
is quite apparent all around the wheel.
The Greek Modes and their relation as illustrated to our
modern scales further illustrates the fact, and of course the Major Scales
and their relative minor 6th's offers an ideal insight into the deeper elements
of the Nashville Number System showing us how we essentially set up the
larger chord movements within the construct of any song or symphony, and
set up the dramatic and aesthetic of whatever melodic construction has been
invented by the composer.
As for the student, it offers a great, easily digestible,
user friendly insight into song construction, basic common changes such
As I, IV, V. It also includes the proverbial I, VI, II, V or I, IV, IV,
V. With practice & just a bit of patience, consulting his favorite artists'
songbooks, it doesn't take the student all that long to catch onto the fact
that 98% of all popular music is composed of consonant scale tones w/wo
accidentals in chord or melody or both and of course this makes writing
those first songs a whole lot easier, and of course figuring out one's favorite
songs by ear as well.
Transposing is rendered the closest to instantaneous that
it probably will ever be by following the color band, and by realizing that
all melodies come from scale tones, and that improvisation can go on all
day long with a proper understanding of how the scales intertwine harmonically
with the chords without ever playing out of key, but with that being pretty
much self evident to a pro we'd like to take this time to demonstrate that
the Harmony Wheel is much more than a student aid and can go a long way
towards assisting in the creation of music, by anyone, anywhere.
First off, to just hint at some of the insights that will
keep coming out of the wheel the more one uses it, let's take our basic
I, IV, V. Many boring songs have been written using those changes and many
totally exciting songs also. BUT!!! Let's look at our Aeolian connection
and find our relative minor 6th's for the IV, and V! We will see that our
entire major scale is made up of our I (tonic), IV, & V and their relative
minor 6th's!!! Throw in our 7th's (major/dominant) and presto!!! There is
our definitive major scale!!
Now, let's do some exploring and throw an accidental into
our relative minor 6th, saymaking the minor "major" by raising
our 3rd degree of our relative minor chord.For purposes of simple illustration
let's use "C" and "a minor"-key of "C". Of
course, raising our b3rd of our "minor 6th " chord gives us "A
major", as it augments (raises) our b3rd of our 6th chord (making it
major) by raising our "C" to "C#". Of course this leads
to all manner of cool melodic possibilities, one of which is a melodic walk
down from Dm (Dmin, Dm/C, Dm/B, Dm/Bb, A (sus or 7th) maybe go up Bb back
to "C", or possibly F/G/Am. You have many other options experiment!!!
You can go wherever you want to take it, all possibilities
set up by our harmonic relations of one note, its triads and accidentals
along with its relationships to the other notes.
Also, learning all the different relative values our scale
tones play in all the different keys is very cool for songwriting reference
as it gives us so many possibilities, which so many times we would never
think of in the first place being creatures of habit as we are.
Anyway, this is just a miniscule example of the Harmony
Wheel's potential, barely hit on when one realizes that there is not one
note in Western music that is not within the confines of the "wheel".
Everything from Mozart concertos to Beethoven symphonies,
the Beatles, Chicago or the Eagles etc. are essentially contained within
the "wheel"!!! For the pro songwriter, it is the compass to pulling
the melodies out of their "raw state" that the wheel has them
stored in that is the joy and challenge that the Harmony Wheel presents,
once you become familiar with its use.
If any questions remain regarding the Harmony Wheels basic
use, you can contact me, Robert Creveling. I am the Harmony Wheel's creator,
feel free to write me at Robert Creveling c/o Ducks Deluxe - P.O.Box 35677,
Las Vegas, Nevada. 89133 - U.S.A. Thanks for checking it out!! Hope this
helps you understand the immense world of music a little better!! - Remember,
practice makes perfect!! Later ...