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Below is a paragraph that attempts to explain what happens when non-diatonic tones are introduced into a melody. I'm copying it word for word:

While the key signature does establish the rules we must use when playing a melody, strange things happen when we begin to improvise. Writers and arrangers frequently incorporate non-diatonic tones, accidentals (sharps-flats) in order to move a melody along in a desired direction. This in turn can create chords out side the original scale. This occurs because individual chords appear in more than one key. The use of accidentals also creates non-diatonic harmony which in turn requires non-diatonic chords to be used. The chords are created by adding a note not within the scale specified by the key signature.

I'm confused about what the sentence: "This occurs because individual chords appear in more than one key" has to do with the rest of the paragraph. I'm unable to see the connection between this sentence and the rest of the paragraph. I'm hoping someone can show me what I'm missing here. Anyone?

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    I also felt that sentence didn't make much sense, even before you mentioned it later in your post. My guess would be that the sentence is a leftover from an older draft of the original article, which was not carefully edited before it was published. – MMazzon Jul 16 at 0:31
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    Where is this from? It seems like several disjointed sentences that were pasted together from different sources. – John Belzaguy Jul 16 at 2:01
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    It would be useful in trying to translate this into something coherent to know the source. Please provide it. Just because it's on the 'net... – Tim Jul 16 at 6:30
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    @John Belzaguy- It's all one source- a kind of method book to introduce guitar players into improvisation, titled "Scales over Chords" by Randy Lee Vradenburg and Wilbur M. Savidge. It was brought to me by a student who wishes to work this book. I'm wondering if it might be more confusing than helpful. – skinny peacock Jul 16 at 14:43
  • @Tim- Please see my comment addressed to John Belzaguy – skinny peacock Jul 16 at 14:46
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„This occurs because individual chords appear in more than one key" ...

I think this sentence is referring to secondary dominants and borrowed chords that are introduced by improvisation, ornamentation or melodic and harmonic variations.

Such chords are often used as links to modulate from key to key.

Ex. Bruckner Symph. 7

enter image description here

2nd theme (piano and rhythm reduction):

enter image description here

L = lead tone, P = parallel chord, R = relative chord (source: Bruckner’s Symphonies - Julian Horton)

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  • Perhaps you're right, but there is no mention of this in the text and I get the feeling we are just left guessing. Even so, I'll look into your idea and see if it makes sense with the rest of the text. Thanks. – skinny peacock Jul 16 at 14:59
  • What else than borrowed chords and secondary dominants do you think could be meant by this: Writers and arrangers frequently incorporate non-diatonic tones, accidentals (sharps-flats) in order to move a melody along in a desired direction. This in turn can create chords out side the original scale. ??? – Albrecht Hügli Jul 16 at 18:55
  • Hugli- I can see your point, but how does this fit with "This occurs because individual chords appear in more than one key. I read this to mean that because individual chords appear in more than one key, this causes the creation of chords outside the original key, and I don't see how that works, do you? – skinny peacock Jul 16 at 22:40
  • I‘m analyzing the opening theme of Bruckner‘s 7. I‘ll post you the piano reduction. You can see how he modulates by relative and parallel chords through the 12 keys just by doing what you’re citing. – Albrecht Hügli Jul 17 at 3:17
  • Hugli- Are you saying that because individual chords appear in more than one key those chords may be used as stepping stones from one key to the next? I can understand that idea. But the authors should have hired you to help us understand what they were trying to explain. If this is indeed what you've been trying to explain to me, please edit your answer to clarify that point and I'll select it as best. – skinny peacock Jul 17 at 14:13
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While the key signature does establish the rules we must use when playing a melody, strange things happen when we begin to improvise. Writers and arrangers frequently incorporate non-diatonic tones, accidentals (sharps-flats) in order to move a melody along in a desired direction. This in turn can create chords out side the original scale

It might be possible to debate some of those points, but so far, that basically sounds coherent.

This occurs because individual chords appear in more than one key.

That reasoning makes little sense to me either. It might make sense if the author was talking previously about chords that bridge two keys, but they aren't - they're already talking about being out of key at that point.

I agree with the comments that it might be a result of badly editing a longer original text. As it is, it's too damaged to learn much from. Ignore it and move on!

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