Lesson video

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Hello, my name is Miss Charatan.

I'm really excited to be teaching you today on how can chords be used to compose a melody.

We're going to start by standing up because we want a bit of energy, and we need to use our feet.

Stand up now.

Make sure you've got a space around you, so you can move around a little bit.


We're going to start off by just stomping out a pulse, four beats in a bar.

One, two, three and go.

One, two, three, four.

Lovely, keep going.


We need to have that in our heads all of the time.

We're now going to learn a body percussion pattern, and we'll play a game with it afterwards.

So the first part of the pattern is the first two beats.

One, two, three, four.

One, two, three, four.

Join in now.

One, two, three, four.

One, two, three, four.


We're now going to learn the last two beats of the pattern.

So beats three and four.

It sounds like this.



One more time.


We're now going to make it even harder, and you're going to miss out some beats.

Let's first count the beats as we clap, so we know exactly what claps and what sounds happen on what beats.

So, it's going to sound like this.

Join in with me.

One, two, three, four.

One, two, three, four.

Miss out one.



Can we miss out four? One, two, three, four.


I would like you, if you have time, to pause the video, and have a go at missing out beats two and three.

That's going to be a really good challenge and gain for you, which you might need a little bit more time for.

If you don't have time, let's move on and get started with today's lesson.

Well done so far.

In this lesson, you will need the following items of equipment.

You will need a piece of paper or something to write on, a pencil or pen or something to write with, an instrument or app.

I really like virtual piano, you can find on iPhone and a similar thing on Android devices, as well as a digital audio workstation.

Don't worry if you're not quite sure what that is, but if you have access to something like GarageBand or BandLab, that would be absolutely fine.

Pause the video, get the things that you need, don't worry about the digital audio workstation for now, if you don't have that ready yet.

Resume the video when you are ready.


We're now all ready.

So, we're going to begin with recapping our knowledge of chords in Pachelbel's Canon.

We will explore how these chords and melodies fit together, and using this knowledge, we will create a melody using notes from the chords and input that onto a digital audio workstation.

You will finally share your melodies with the people around you.

Let's begin by recapping our knowledge of chords in Pachelbel's Canon.

Let's begin by having a quick recap.

Firstly, what is a chord? Tell me the answer now.

Let's check your answer.

If you said a chord is more than one note played at the same time, you are correct.

Well done.

So, therefore, what is a triad? How many notes are in a triad? If you said three, you are correct.

So, a chord with three notes, a root, a third, and a fifth.

That is a triad.

We've got a D major triad here.

So, we can see the root is D, the third is an F sharp, and the fifth is an A.

So, how do we label the pitches on a scale? You can see here, I've got a D major scale.

How would I order these pitches, and how would I label these pitches? Okay.

So, they are ordered in a correct way, and we label them from one to eight.

So, one is the root, three is the third, five is the fifth, eight is an octave, and together, these make up our chords.

So, our D major triad is made up of root, third, and fifth, and that's the same with all other triads.

So, it's really, really important that we have these labels in our head so that we know what pitches we are referring to.

We are now going to recap our chords.

This table might look a bit scary at first, but don't worry.

I'm going to explain what it means.

So, our chords are built on the notes of the D major scale.

At the bottom, our chord name and our root are the same.

This is because they are the D major scale.

So, you've got D, E, F sharp, G.

You can see, these are the same.

There'll be A here, B minor, and C sharp.

So, to build the triads, remember we need three notes.

We need the root, which will be the same as the chord.

We need the third, which is counting up from the root, and the fifth, counting up from the root.

So can we remember? We've got D , and then we count up two notes to get our third.

So, we have D , E , and F sharp.

So, that's our third.

It's F sharp because, remember, in our D major key signature, we have F sharp and C sharp.

So, we counted up again for F sharp is three , then four is G , five would be.

If you said A, that is correct.

So, let's now have a look at the next one together.

So, it is an E minor triad.

So, what will our first note be? If you said E, that is correct.

We count up to get our third.

So, E , F sharp, G.

That is our third.

And we count up again for our fifth, G, A, and B.

You are now going to pause the video to fill in the gaps of the table.

Resume the video when you are finished.


Let's go through these answers.

So, we've done the first two together, F sharp minor.

So, we have F sharp.

We count up two, to find a third, which is A.

G major.

We should have G, B, and D.

This one, so, fairly easy one.

So, we need to look at the root note to tell us what chord it is.

It is A.

You could have played it to hear whether it was major or minor.

That was major.

So A major.

Then we have B minor, B, D, and F sharp.

And this one was a C sharp diminished.

That was tricky.

But all you need to do is count up to find a third, and that is E.

Well done.

If you've got all of these correct, if you weren't quite sure about some of them, make sure you can revisit the video.

Just rewind it to my explanation again.

So, let's have another quick recap.

What is a melody? Think about it now.

If you said the main idea or ideas in a piece of music, you were correct.

So, therefore, what is a countermelody? Say it out loud now.

A countermelody is a secondary melody, and we studied them back in lesson two.

So, we had a lot of great recapping.

We've recapped the knowledge of the chords in Pachelbel's canon, and we're now going to explore how chords and melodies fit together.

So, let's have a recap.

What are the four questions we ask ourselves when we analyse a melody? Pause the video, write down your four key questions, and then you will check them with my answers.

Okay, your four key questions should've looked like this.

So, steps and leaps.

How does it move? What direction? Ascending or descending? What pitches does it start and end on? And how long is the melody, or how long are the notes? There's one extra question that we're going to be thinking about now.

So, when we're looking at pitches, we're not just going to look at what the melody starts on and ends on.

We're actually going to be looking at what pitches does it use? So, we're going to analyse melody one, using our four key questions.

So, if you need a reminder of these, they were on the previous slide, so you can rewind the video or look on your worksheet.

So, here was the melody, and I'm just going to put the note names underneath for you to make this a little bit quicker.

Using our four key questions, pause the video, analyse the melody, and then you will check your answers.

I'm going to play it to you once.

You can rewind me to hear it one more time.

Pause the video now.


Let's now check our answers.

So, our first question, moves by step completely.

Second question is descending.

Third question, we're going to miss that one out for now about pitches.

We're going to look at the length.

So, it's four bars long.

The notes are all minims. So, let's now have a look at the notes.

So, obviously I've labelled the notes now.


It starts on a third.

It ends on a seventh.

But where are these notes from? These notes are all from the chords that are used.

So, looking at the bottom, we have the ground base.

We have D , A, B, F sharp.

On top of the ground base, we have chords that I used.

And melody one's notes are all from these chords.

So, in chord one, the very first chord is taking the F sharp from it.

Then, as we look down to the second chord in our sequence, whoops, we have an E for that chord.

We have D, C sharp, B, A, B, B, and C sharp.

So, these are all from the chords.

There actually.

You might have also spotted, then, not any of the root notes.

So, I've used the third and a fifth from the chords, roughly in this pattern.

Three, five, three, five, three, five, three, three.

I'm not quite sure whether that was intentional, but Pachelbel clearly thought it worked well.

So, we can see that these melodies come from the chords.

Let's now do the same thing with melody two.

So, you're going to look at the chords underneath and think, how does this melody relate to the chords? We can see already that the first note is in the first chord, which is the D major chord.

Pause the video, analyse the melody using those four questions, and look particularly carefully about how it relates to the chords.

Resume the video when you are ready.


Let's now check our answers.

So, again, like melody one, moves by step.

The notes are minims. It is four bars long.

It's mostly descending with a slight ascending bit here.

Let's now think, though, about where it fits in with these chords.

So, we have the D which is here in the root of that first chord.

The C sharp is here.

The B is here.

And we have a very similar thing.

It uses the notes from the chords.

In this case, mostly the roots and the third from the chord.

So, we have seen how these chords and melodies fit together.

The melodies use the notes from the chord.

Let's now try and create our own melody in the same way using notes from the chords.

You are now going to create your own melody in the style of Pachelbel using a very similar method.

So, you can see here, we have got our chords at the bottom of the screen.

These chords in a correct order to fit in with the ground base, as we know, which is D, A, B, F sharp, G, D, G, and A.

So, that means if you're choosing notes from the right chord at the right time, your melody is going to sound really good.

So, your melody should only use the notes of the chord being played at that time, and it should be made entirely of minims. There are a variety of ways you can do this, and you're going to do this with a combination of logic, using the table, and using your musical ear.

So, I could circle at random some notes from the chord, or I could use my ear to work out which sounds best.

So, I'm going to start with the note D.

I could choose to go down to A in a leap.

I could choose to go down by a very small, and by a step, to C sharp , or up to E.

I'm going to choose to go down to C sharp.

So, it will sound like this.

So, quite similar to melody two, but then I'm going to decide to go up to D, because I think that's going to sound better.

Rather than going up to F sharp.

Can we hear it sounds a bit jagged? So, we need to have a nice combination of steps and leaps.

My next one, I am actually going to do a leap.

Then, I probably don't want to do another leap straight away after a leap.

That sounds a bit funny.

So, I'm going to make sure I moved by step.

So, I have D, C sharp, D, A, B.

Then, I can have a think about which one I could do.

Might move to D, might stay on D.

So, my melody sounds like this, and I did a combination of playing and thinking what sounded good, a little bit of just trying each one, thinking does it move by step or leap? I don't want to have leap, leap, leap, leap, 'cause that's not going to sound great, but also I don't want to all the way by step, like melody one.

I want to do my own thing.

So my melody, when played together with the ground base, I'm going to go play it with a ground base and think about does it fit? Does it sound good? I might want to change the last two, 'cause it moves in the same way as the ground base, or I might keep it the same.

You will have much more time than me to be thinking really carefully about your melody.

If you are using the worksheet that goes with this lesson, you may want to write down your melody as you're going along.

You might want to write it down using musical notation, if you're comfortable with that down here, or you might want to play it along with the ground base.

There's a recording of it on the worksheet for you to use.

You are now going to pause the video to complete this task.

Create your own melody in the style of Pachelbel.

So, your melody should only use the notes of the chord being played, like as melody one and two, and be made entirely from minims. So, you should use the table on a worksheet or the previous slides to help you do this.

And if you're finding it too easy, you can think about varying the rhythms of the notes, so something like this.

So repeating that note, but in a different rhythm.

Pause the video now, and resume when you're ready to move on.


So, let's have a checklist for your melody.

So, what note values did you use and why? How did you choose your pitches, and what did you choose? And how do you know your melody fits in with the ground base? Pause the video.

Think about the answer to those questions, and then we will move on.


So, you now need to check and notate your melody.

So, you can see here, you have got a grid where you should be writing down your final melody.

But before you do that, you might want to make some changes.

I'm going to now play for you the ground base.

You're going to play your melody along with the ground base.

If you don't like how it fits or you don't like how it sounds, go back to your previous step, and revisit and rework your melody.

It might be that you need to use more stepwise movement or less stepwise movement.

Make sure you are always using the notes from the right chord at the right time.

Here's the ground base for you to check your work against.

One, two, three, four.

I've ended mine on D, the ground base on D, 'cause that's going to make it sound finished.

If you want to check your melody again, just rewind the video and practise again with this ground-based track.

You can also find it on the worksheet.

So, we have now created a melody using notes from the chords.

And we're going to explore how to input this melody onto a digital audio workstation.

The next part of the lesson is on a digital audio workstation.

We're going to use this because that means you'll have a lot more freedom to manipulate your melody, and you can also save it for next time.

You can use the digital audio workstations on the list below.

You might be familiar with them already.

Today, we will be using BandLab for Education.

The demo you about to see uses a free music software programme called BandLab for Education.

You can use this programme if you're under 13, but you must get permission from a parent or carer first.

You should also ask your parents or carer for help in setting up the programme or speak to your school.

You should now be in BandLab for Education.

You're going to click on "My Library," and then you will have something that says "Start Personal Project, and you're going to click on "Mix Editor." If your teacher has set this for you, they might already have something there for you to use.

You're going to then press "Instruments," and here you will get your virtual, your instrument keyboard, which can be on your.

using your keyboard on the computer like this.

And you can see all the controls you've got here.

The first thing we're going to to do is choose what instruments you're going to be recording your melody on.

I might do something, which sounds more baroque.

So, I'm going to do a string orchestra.

And that means if I play the keyboard, it will sound like a string orchestra.

So, you should have written your melody down.

And you're now going to record it in.

You will need to turn the tempo down to around 80.

Make sure the match name is on, so it's in time.

And you're going to then practise your melody along with metronome before you record it in, because that's going to be the easiest.

I'm just going to press play.

So, that's the melody I practised.

Yours might sound different.

That's absolutely fine.

But the most important thing is each one is two beats.

Each pitch lasts for two beats.

So, you need to count to two clicks of the metronome for each one.

You're then going to record the melody, and when you are ready, you're going to press this record button.

It will count you in, and then you will play.

So, you might have heard, I made a bit of a mistake in there.

For some mistakes, you might want to just delete it, just by clicking on it and pressing backspace, until you start again.

But this mistake wasn't serious.

So, I'm going to double-click on the area, and you can see here, I accidentally pressed another note.

So, I'm going to click on it , delete it.

The next thing I need to do is to quantize it to make it in time.

So, I'm going to select all my notes by doing Ctrl + A, or you can drag over them all and that will select them.

I will quantize by one over two, and I will press quantize.

And you can see they've just moved, so they're all exactly in time.

We can see here, this one is a little bit longer.

It overlaps a bit.

So, I'm just going to decrease that one.

Here we go.

So, you are going to do the following things.

You will change the tempo to 80, or maybe slightly slower.

Put the metronome on.

Practise your melody.

Record it in.

Quantize afterwards.

If you want to change instrument afterwards, that's absolutely fine.

You just click on it, "instrument," and you can change it to something else.

Read the instructions really carefully on this slide to make sure you know what to do.

If this is too easy, record in the basso continuo, the ground bass and the chords, to add more parts, and you can even create a second melody to work in counterpoint with the first.

Resume the video once you are finished.


Let's now go through this checklist.

In a moment, pause the video and answer these questions.

Think about what instrument did you choose and why, how did you make sure your melody was in time? And how do you know whether your melody fits with the ground base? Pause the video, and resume when you're ready.

So, we're now going to move on to thinking about how we can manipulate our melody so it is played in canon.

What is a canon, and how do you play one? And how would you create one on a digital audio workstation? Pause the video, think about these answers, and resume when you're ready.


So, a canon is when exactly the same part comes in later, creating a polyphonic texture.

So, back in previous lessons ago, we did "Row, Row, Row the Boat," "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," and one part came in later that created a canon.

Pachelbel's Canon has many parts, all the same, coming in one after another, that crazy canon.

A canon looks a bit like this, if we're representing it in colours with they're all playing the same thing.

So, pink followed by teal, followed by purple, but they're all coming in at different times.

I'm now going to show you how to create a canon on the digital audio workstation, so you can check your answer to that one against mine then.

You are now going to manipulate your project so that you have your melody playing in canon.

So, to do this, you'll first need to just focus in on the melody that you have created.

So, if you've got other tracks with the ground base in the chords, press the M button on them to mute them, because we're not going to be needing those right now.

So, to create a new track, you either do "Add Track," or if you want to have exactly the same instrument as the one that you've got already, you right-click "Duplicate Track," and here you go, you got "Instrument Copy." So, I'm going to relabel these now.

So I've got my melody and relabel it to my melody in canon.

This is basically got the same melody, exactly the same just below.

I'm then going to move the melody, so it is in canon.

So, I can decide whether to do it two or four beats afterwards or eight beats afterwards.

Let's see what it sounds like.

And I can even try moving it later as well.

So, experiment with different ways of having your canon.

You might be able to notice which ones work, which ones don't work.

And then when you're happy, loop your melodies, like this.

So, you grab the top half of it, and you loop it, like this.

Okay? If you didn't duplicate your track and instead just created a new track, using instruments and maybe choosing "Change the Instrument," you'll need to copy over your melody.

You do this by pressing on it, holding out, and dragging it down, and that will copy it for you.

You could otherwise do a right-click copy, and then paste here.

Read the instructions really carefully to make sure you know exactly what to do.

You will be creating a polyphonic texture with your melody, melodies by creating a canon.

If this is too easy and you do this very, very quickly, you can then think about making more sections so that your work is and the texture is more varied.

You can also experiment with having multiple canons, so maybe more parts playing the canon, Pause the video, and resume once you're finished.

Read the checklist, and answer the questions below.

Pause the video, and resume it when you're ready to move on.


Let's now think about that last question.

How would you end your canon? I'm going to now show you how to share your work with others and how to maybe end your melody and your piece so it sounds finished.

Let's remind ourselves, what key are we writing in? If you said D major, you're correct.

Therefore, what note or chord do we need to end on to make the music sound finished? If you said D or D major, you're correct.

'Cause at the moment, I've got kind of three parts, a three-part canon.

It wants to end.

It doesn't sound finished at the moment.

So, to make it sound finished, I can just record in one note, which is a D.

I can then copy and paste that to the other parts 'cause they could join in at the end.



I need to find my D on my instrument.

So, I know my D is a U on my keyboard.

I'm going to find the one just below the last notes.

The last note was actually E, so the I.

But I'm going to do the one nearest it, the D nearest, which is a U.

So, I'm going to do exactly the same.


So, I've got my D here, and then I can copy and paste it.


Down here.

Never wanted to, I might actually want to change the notes.

So, I have all the notes in the D chord.

So, I could have a D, F sharp, and an A.

I'm not going to do that now, but it's a stretch for you.

So, my finished canon is in three parts.

So, you might want to experiment with adding another part or two onto your canon as well.

I'm going to turn off the metronome, so I can hear it, press play.

So, if I'm happy with it, and I'm pretty happy, I might want to change some of the instruments, but let's say I'm happy and I want to save and share this.

So, I'm going to save using this button up here.

And then to share it, I just need to go to file, download, mixdown as.

It will take a little while to do this.

You just need to be really patient.

And by doing this, it means that you can share it with some other people, which will be very exciting.

In a moment, there's going to be a window that'll pop up, and it'll give you an option.

Will it give you an option of what to download it as? So, when it happens, it hasn't done that today, it should give you an option to do an MP3 or an MP4, or another file.

You will need to choose an MP3 file, 'cause that will give you the most freedom to be able to share it to people.

You might want to send it into your school so they can see what you have been doing.

Here we go.

So, you'll do medium quality MP3, and then press download, and it will download for you.

Make sure you save this work, 'cause you might be needing it in future weeks, when we are doing more work on BandLab.

You have done so much hard work today, and we're now going to move on to the exciting bit where we can share our melodies with others.

I have shown you how to already finish your work, so it sounds complete, by adding that D on the end, and how to you save and download it.

So, you could show it to somebody at home.

You could send it to a friend or family member for feedback, or share it with your school.

As long as you download it to an MP3, that should be able to be played by many different people.

Pause the video, play your arrangement to someone at home, or share it with somebody else, and resume when you are ready.


I really hope you had a good time play using BandLab and created a really interesting melody and put it in canon.

Well done.

We're now going to go back to our key question.

How can chords be used to create a melody? Below, there are various sentences.

Some of them are not correct.

Pause the video, choose the correct sentences to answer this question, and resume when you are ready.

Let's now go over these answers.

So, the ones you should have got rid of are the melody is usually the root note of the chord is not correct because we use the third and fifth as well.

Melodies must always move by step.

Not correct.

Oh, I did the wrong one.

The chords and the melody will use a different key and scale.

No, that's not correct because they need to use the same scale.

Melodies must always move by step.

And that's not correct 'cause we can move by step and leaps.

And lastly, the melody must have the same rhythm as the chords.

Not correct, because even though our melodies did have the same rhythm and chords using minims, we didn't have to do that.

We just did that to make it easier to compose.

So, the correct answers were you can use notes from the chords to make a melody, they will use the same key and scale, the melody's based on the chords, and melodies can move in a combination of steps and leaps.

Well done if you've got those correct.

You have done such great work today on a variety of platforms, playing as well as inputting onto a digital audio workstation.

You should feel really, really proud of yourselves.

So, all that's left for me to say is if you'd like to share your work with Oak National, please ask your parents or carer to do so on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, tagging Oak National and using the hashtag #LearnwithOak.

Well done for your hard work today.

Take care.

Don't forget to do the quiz at the end of this lesson to show how much you have learnt, and see you next time.

Have a good rest of the day.