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I've been self studying Tchaikovsky's harmony textbook and supplementing it with harmonizing melodies from Anton Arensky's "1000 tasks for the practical study of harmony" and I've run into an issue attempting to harmonize this melody.

Specifically, in the red box below, I'm having difficulty figuring out a harmonization that makes sense for the sequence in the three bars. I can see there's a particular pattern but I'm having difficulty figuring out what it is.

Anyone have any ideas/suggestions as to how to harmonize these three bars? Similar question for the two bars in the blue box.

I've included my current harmonization for the melody so far.


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  • I find your use of the D#m chord (e.g. in Bar 2) questionable, as that chord is not found in E Major.
    – Dekkadeci
    Mar 27 at 14:16
  • I believe I made a notational error there. It is meant to be the vii of E.
    – Oliver G
    Mar 27 at 14:45
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Generally, (at least in my opinion), an ornamented melody should be harmonized like the unornamented version. The point is to emphasize the ornamented quality. The rhythmic structure of that harmony may change; if the melody moves more quickly with ornaments (as with division technique), the movement in the harmony may proceed in slower notes. Sixteenth notes may move against quarter or half notes to make sure the melody is emphasized. The harmonic rhythm (location of the changes) is often kept the same as in the unornamented version. The voice leading is still like that of the original but the ornaments can add quite a bit of dissonance.

There are other possibilities in variation that may sound better with modified harmony; but that's a different question.

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"Red" measures

The primary observation is that there is a two-beat pattern moving down in whole steps. So, following your lead from C#7, the chord two beats later would be B7, and then, again two beats later, A7.

From there, a variety of options exist.

  1. Following the C#7, we have a delayed Gx, a Dx, which clearly sounds like a "leading" tone, and a D#. The D# and Gx (plus the A# passing tone in the C#7 note grouping), give a D# chord. This pattern of intervals is continued every other beat, giving C#7 D# B7 C# A7 B.

  2. The final note of the C#7 beat can be heard as a suspension into the next measure, resolving by half-step. The final note of that beat-after-C#7 can be heard as an anticipation of the following chord (B7). This allows for a simple progression of dominant seventh chords, descending by half step: C#7 Bx7 (C7) B7 A#7 A7 G#7.

  3. Taking advantage of the fact that each chordal seventh moves down (the expected resolution in a typical V7 - I cadence; e.g., in the C#7 chord, the B moves down to A#), we could change chords every half-beat to capture that sense of V-I resolution: C#7 F#7 C7 F7 B7 E7 A7 D7 G#7 C#7, which perfectly sets of the final two beats as F#7 and B7.

"Blue" measures

What catches my ear in this passages is the half-step moves into each half beat. I hear this passage, starting on beat 3, as D# G#m C# F#m B Em A# D#m. This makes the last two beats of the measure G#, which leads to C#m and a two-measure final cadence in C# minor.

If you want to get fancy, could could make each beat of the sequence:

1/2 beat: D#
1/4 beat: G#m
1/4 beat: G# half diminished (this accommodates the D natural)

1/2 beat: C#
1/4 beat: F#m
1/4 beat: F# half diminished (accommodating the C natural)

etc.

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