Tip #75 – Doing Some Diatonic Harmonization on Passing Tones

For the instance that you want to harmonize a non-harmonic passing tone in a jazz/commercial style 4-way close, here is a tip for you:

Using a process of diatonic harmonization, you can make some smooth and boldly beautiful harmonized lines without interfering with the harmonic make-up, or relying on dissonance.

First, analyze the passage. Does the non-harmonic passing tone occur between two chord tones? It should.

Next, analyze the harmony. Is the melody taking place over an acting I, ii, or V chord?

If so, harmonize the chord tones properly with the passing tone remaining.

To harmonize the passing tone, choose from one of the remaining chords (I, ii, or V) and do so. Meaning, if it was a I chord, harmonize the passing tone with a ii or V. If it was a ii chord, harmonize the passing tone with a I or V chord. And if it was a V chord, harmonize the passing tone with a I (more common) or a ii (rare).

Below are some examples with some rough and basic harmonization:

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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