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Melody and Harmony

What are some good ways to get students to know the difference between melody and harmony. What kind of technique can I use to help them recognize the difference while reading sheet music and while listening.
Replies (5): Threaded | Chronological
on May 31, 2015 9:33am
What age/grade level students?
 
Matthew Jenkins
 
on May 31, 2015 11:27am
12-18 age wise. I'm a church youth director and there's a possiblity for me to be over adults, so even a way for adults would help.
on June 3, 2015 5:27pm
The easiest way to teach them the difference is to teach everyone the melody to a given song. If they're not singing it, they've got harmony. Of course, if you do that, there's every possibility that no one will really learn the harmony parts. 
 
To me the general traits of melody are:
* It moves around more than it stays the same
* it is the part that would sound really good if it were sung all by itself
 
I think a better question is, what do you want them to do when they have the melody/harmony. That depends on what your choir is or isn't doing.
 
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on June 4, 2015 6:00am
Melody is the tune.
Harmony is the other part(s). 
 
Play "America" with melody only. Then play the 4-part version. The other three parts are harmony. Play just the ATB parts. In most choral music, the harmony parts are more than a support for the melody. They are an integral part of the piece. 
 
With sheet music, play Find Me. Sing any part on any page. The choir members try to identify which measure you started (or stopped) and which part you were sinigng. You can probably think of a more clever name, but Find Me works for me.
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on June 4, 2015 7:37am
I hope this doesn't post twice.  But I would use a larger visual for all on the board or white board of one line of the music, preferably as they see it on the page.   You can do this as a rehearsal technique and a part-learning tool.  Sort of like the old time "follow the bouncing ball" if you are old enough to remember.  
 
Follow slowly the melody, everyone sing the melody note for note and then as a line.  
Follow slowly the harmony, everyone sing the harmony same way note for note and then the whole line. 
I would highlight with color or circle the major chords and movement of the music so singers can zero in on those notes when they are lost to keep things moving forward. 
 
They should all be cognizant of each others parts eventually anyway and be listening for them.   Making games out of it is training too as in, " Who knows the harmony for this line?  What two singers want to take the challenge and sing at this point?"  If I play this note on the piano here, what is the harmony (and vice versa).    
 
I think they will beome not just singers but a team.
 
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