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What is the music vocabulary for when the composer/musician creates an expectation of what chord or harmony will sound like next?

1 Answer

  • Hello

    First off, for any melody that stays within a key, you have about a 1/7 chance of any random note you guess being the next note.

    Second, there are popular melody patterns and techniques, and sometimes the chords being played will suggest likely places for the melody to go. Depending on the chords and the harmony, you may be instinctively understanding that a chord tone is likely, and that brings the probability of a randomly guessed chord tone being right down to 1/3 or 1/4.

    This is one way that it's possible for people with no knowledge of music theory to make up their own melodies to hum that sound "good" (at least to them). They are basically guessing what the next note could/should be based on their tonal memory of music that they like and the popular melodic patterns and elements used in that music.

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