Ear Training Lesson Plan 3

harmonic/melodic relationships


Subject Area: music theory

Grade Level: 9th



What students already know about this topic:

1.                          harmonic possibilities in major keys       

2.                          various cadences and their corresponding Roman numeral chord qualitites

3.                            the functions of various harmonizations (I, IV, V7, etc.)


What students will know/be able to do:

1.                            write a bassline and appropriate harmonization for a given melody

2.                          understand chord substitution and why some chords can be used as substitutes


Important Concepts/Vocabulary

parallel 5ths and 8vas            inner voices (SATB)

direct 5ths and 8vas

chord substitution     


Kick-off Activities

Review the previous lessons by having a melody on the board.  Have the students give chord possibilities for each note in the melody.  Make sure EVERY possibility is exhausted.  Then, using knowledge about progressions, figure out which chord would make the most musical sense as an accompaniment figure in each case.

Also, play some cadential figures on the piano and ask the students what type of cadence they hear.


Developing Activities

Give a melody on a handout:

The students should recognize this melody from their homework assignments.  Provide a second staff below this melody for the bassline.

a.      have the students provide harmonic possibilities like they did on their assignment

b.      have students compose the bassline, starting with an F

c.       explain things to watch out for:

-         parallel and direct 5ths

-         parallel and direct octaves

-         play these on the piano to get the sound of them in the students’ ears

d.      fill in the inner voices, following the same rule for part-writing

e.      play the melody with the harmonization and ask the students what they think of their bassline and/or harmonic accompaniment


Concluding Activities

Give copies of the “Happy Birthday Song” to the students, with the chord symbols included.  Have them use their knowledge of Roman numeral analysis to write the corresponding Roman numerals in under the piano accompaniment.

a.      ask the students if they notice any differences between the introductory 4 measures and the rest of the song

b.      ask them what the Am chord would be in Roman numeral analysis

-         since it would be the ii, what would that lead to in a circle-of-fifths sequence?


c.       have the students find where this melody appears again in the song

d.      play the two different progressions on the piano

                                    - have the students sing it through both times

e.      introduce the concept of chord substitution and how it is used here in the “Happy Birthday Song”

f.        the melody line is a C on beat 3 in both measures 2 and 10

-         the Am and Cm chords include a C in them, so the progression works

-         is it OK to not follow the circle-of-fifths progression?

-         what does substitution add to the song?

                        e.   ask the students for any other possible substitutions for this song

Assessment Notes

A worksheet should be send home and expected to be turned in the next day: