The SeeChord pilot scheme is available in two forms. The first is a concise introduction to SeeChord over two lessons, the second is a more extensive six lesson plan covering a large range of harmony topics and looking at set works and compositions. At the moment, pilot schemes are aimed at ‘A’ level music students. Here is an outline of the two options.
Option 1-Two lesson plan.
- Lesson 1 – An introduction to SeeChord. basic harmonic concepts such as perfect cadences and modulation.
- Lesson 2 – A comparison of two pieces from the set works using SeeChord to highlight harmonic sequence, cadence structure, establishment of key, major/minor tonality and any other points of specific interest.
Option 2 – Six lessons plan.
- Lesson 1 – Establishing a firm knowledge or the circle of fifths, Roman Numerals and chords, cadences and modulation introducing the basic concepts of SeeChord.
- Lesson 2 – Major/minor tonality, cadence structure, harmonization and some composition techniques using SeeChord.
- Lesson 3 – Examination of the use of harmony through music history from Bach – modernism and then jazz and popular music.
- Lesson 4 – In depth analysis of two set works using SeeChord to highlight harmonic sequence, cadence structure, establishment of key, major/minor tonality and any other points of specific interest.
- Lesson 5 – Analysis of chord structure of students’ own compositions and how they could be enhanced using SeeChord with reference to other works.
- Lesson 6 – Advanced analysis – substitution, variations and ambiguous chords. Feedback and general discussion.
If you are interested in running a SeeChord pilot scheme in your school, please contact us.
Below is a description of the pilot scheme that was tried in St.Paul’s Catholic College in Burgess Hill, West Sussex.
- To explain the SeeChord system and some basic harmonic rules in one lesson (55 mins)
- To use SeeChord charts with two “set works” at ‘A’ level standard to increase students’ understanding of the use of harmony within the pieces in one lesson.
- To increase students’ understanding of harmonic principles in general using SeeChord.
- Students were guided through the basic principles of the SeeChord system using a laptop connected to an interactive whiteboard and a regular whiteboard and marker pen.
- They were shown how the charts are set up, the chord symbols and the connectors and how a pice of music is displayed in its entirety.
- Example pieces were shown and played simultaneously to increase awareness of the concepts being explained.
- Cadences, modulation, sequences in fifths and use of major and minor tonality were demonstrated.
- Questions were taken
- A quick revision and question and answer session took place.
- The first piece, “Thy hand, Belinda” and “When I am laid in Earth” from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas was played and the chart shown.
- Students were guided through issues of major and minor tonality, ground bass, chord substitution, phrasing and cadence structure with the help of the chart and open questions.
- The second piece, “Sonata pian’ e forte” by Gabrielli was played and the chart shown.
- Students were guided through similar topics including use of major and minor, harmonic sequence and imitation, unusual cadences (specifically I-V-V-I followed by IV-I-I-IV) and the use of harmony to contrast between the two ensembles and the sections when both ensembles were playing together.
- Questions were taken
- Feedback forms were filled in.
It was found that students picked up the SeeChord system with ease. The main area of tutoring was found to be the recognition of the basic chord symbols and the significance of connectors (especially for relative majors and minors). There were many moments of “revelation” such as the explaination of the tendency of music to fall in fifths and the structure of cadences within a piece (eg. perfect, interrupted, perfect).
Students were interested to see where the passages of increased harmonic development tended to occur, namely 1/2 to 2/3rds of the way through a piece, this correlating with Sonata Form structure that they had previously studied. Students discovered for themselves that Purcell used major and minor tonalities with the same tonic to create a feeling of “despair”. Students also commented on the fact that the end of each ground bass passage contained the same chords each time, whereas other chords had been substituted or rearranged.
Students commented in the Gabrielli piece that he used harmonic sequences to increase the interplay between the two ensembles. They could easily identify many creative uses of harmonic sequence and were surprised that this was so easy to see in the SeeChord chart, but so hard to see in the score.
“SeeChord was easy to follow and made much more sense than just being told what chords are used.”
“The charts made it much easier to see and understand harmonic sequences or motifs used in a piece.”
“SeeChord allowed modulations to become clear. It uses a simple idea to describe complex theories.”
“SeeChord helped very much. I could see clear chord progressions and odd “quirks” that composers have.”
“SeeChord is very visual and very easy to see how it plots the harmony.”
“You can see how harmony has a pattern to it and the charts help you hear harmonic progressions that you have found difficult before like a circle of fifths.”
“SeeChord shows chord progressions and how chords relate to eachother in a simple graphic form.”
“The charts showed how chords in music move around the circle of fifths and how this creates different effects and atmospheres.”