Tip #151 – Using Fourth Structures in Harmonization

Continuing with a topic discussed the other day, we are going to take a look at how we can harmonize a melody using these fourth structures.

First, start off with a melody:

Then, add the diatonic fourth below the melody (this can either be a P4 or a tritone):

Now, we are going to do a closed fourth voicing, which means that we will add a third below the melody note. However, for the harmony that has a tritone, we are going to add a third ABOVE the bottom note:

If we instead wanted to do open fourths, we would need to stack two intervals of a fourth on top of each other. So, that simply means adding another fourth below the fourth from the previous example:

But, notice how the one with X’s have a tritone in them. Technically, that does not exactly fit the definition of an open fourth structure. To edit this, we use chromatics to adjust the harmonic intervals:

And there you go!

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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