Harmony: 5 Ways To Harmonize The Same Melody

Harmony and chords are all about color! They provide emotional context and set the mood for a melody. Since a melody is composed of single notes, they can be harmonized in numerous ways, from the most obvious to the downright bizarre! In this article, we will take the melody of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and harmonize it in 5 different ways! We hope you enjoy diving into this mini lesson!


Firstly, here are the standard chords for this classic melody, providing a strong foundation and sense of balance.

Same Function, Different Chords

This example uses a bit of theory! While there are 7 chords in each major scale, there are only 3 possible functions we can use them for: tonic, subdominant, and dominant. Chords I, iii, and vi are tonic; chords ii and IV are subdominant; and chords V and vii are dominant. In this example each chord has the same function as the original, but is substituted for some subtle variation!


A great way to implement some emotion into a piece of music is by creating a descending chord line.


Comparatively, turning this classical melody into a jazz tune can be achieved by using chord theory. Using chord theory, any harmony can work, provided that the melody note derives from the same scale as the chord. This is a bit technical, but basically, there are tons and tons of options for each melody note in any given song!


Here, we simply stay on the I chord for the entire phrase! This is a common method for creating a sense of stasis. This is also a short example of an ostinato, which means a repeating musical figure that plays while other elements change around it.

Closing Notes

We hope you enjoyed learning about the possibilities of harmony! The techniques used to become confident in chord substitutions can be challenging. Thankfully, our school boasts some of Toronto’s best music teachers! Contact us today to start your composing journey!

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