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LESSON XXV
Chord-Lines and Intervals
Melodies, as has been said, are constructed of repeti­tions, scale-lines, and chord-lines. Sometimes one of these predominates; sometimes all are mingled together.
The third, chord-lines, must now be studied. .
A consideration of the word arpeggio will here throw light upon the subject. This Italian word refers, of course, to notes played upon a harp, of which instrument the characteristic figure is the broken chord. A com­bination of tones that would be taken by other instruments, or by voices, simultaneously, is, when reproduced upon the harp, broken up. This effect, being in turn tried and found agreeable upon other instruments or with voices, has been borrowed, while retaining its original name. The gen­eral principle involved is that any combination of tones that may be sounded together may also be taken in succession with equally good effect. Hence the familiar arpeggio. From this we may argue the converse, namely, that any succession of leaps that do not harmonize together will not produce a pleasing effect. This is a very important point, and it should be kept steadily in mind. The best chord-lines, or arpeggios, will be those taken from the strongest chords, e.g., from the I, V, V7, IV, II, II7, etc., in this order.
Here are instances of melodies where the chord-line predominates.
It will be noticed that in chord-line melodies there is less need for harmonization than in others, for the line itself suggest harmony to the ear.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III