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When NOT to Play the Melody

There are times that you SHOULD NOT PLAY the melody.

Let me set the scene. It is Great Aunt Bertha’s 90th Birthday Party. The candles are lit – and we better start to sing Quick before the candles set the tablecloth on fire! You hit the intro chord (which by the way will the Dominate 7th Chord Leading to Tonic) and everyone starts to sing. AND YOU GO BLANK about the time of the 3rd Happy Birthday phrase – you know the one – the one that does the large jump. WHAT DO YOU DO?

The Answer:

You should have been playing chords anyway for the entire song. There is absolutely NO REASON to play the melody line to a song everyone is singing to and everyone KNOWS the tune. SO to cover your self – when the melody line gets away from you – block the chord instead. NO ONE WILL NOTICE.

Other times that Melody is NOT NEEDED

  1. When you are performing with other musicians – do not HOG the melody. Take your turn – then wave the melody to another player. Continue with chordal accompaniment – like your “COMPING” practice sessions.
  1. In a pubic performance – when you hit the chorus and the audience starts to sing along – just play the rhythmic chords and encourage them to continue singing. It is a funny thing – when the music backs off and the audience hears themselves singing – they start to sing louder!
  1. In a solo performance – after you have exhausted the shift changes, octave chances – try playing only the chords on the last time through the chorus – run arpeggios, play the 3rd above the melody line, end with a blues scale run – landing on a M7 or M6 Chord!
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