SMG Guitar Lesson #8: How to Harmonize a Scale

Just for your listening pleasure, here’s an example of notes that are too close together and sound awful:

Even within a major scale, neighboring notes don’t typically tend to be all that harmonious. For example, take the neighboring notes C, D, and B from the C Major scale.

Notice how neighboring notes within a key still sound a bit awkward together:


In order to avoid disharmony, we need to space the notes out just far enough so that each pitch helps to balance and compliment the others. Luckily, there is a simple formula used to help you do this to construct all types of basic three and four-part harmony chords. I like to refer to it as the “skipping” pattern. And the best part is, you don’t necessarily need to be able to read music, and it doesn’t require years of music classes in order to understand. So if you want to learn how in the next five minutes, just draw out the notes of the scale vertically like this:

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