I am just a beginner playing the piano and been studying the scales, progressions, triads. Just the basic theory. So when i play a song i can play the chords but i don't know how to find notes to play between them so that the melody doesn't sound like a hammer with different sounds.

Can you point me in the proper direction about what should i study for this?

thank you very much to read this newbie question

  • Can you explain the problem a bit more, maybe an example of what you mean by the hammer thing? Are you making up your own melodies or playing existing song melodies? Is this accompaniment for a singer, or solo piano or what? Commented Aug 31, 2019 at 17:01

3 Answers 3


This seems to be a question about chord-scale theory. This theory states that each chord has a scale that it belongs to. If the song is relevively simple, all of the chords will belong to the same key, mealing that if you play any notes from that scale, the melody will sound "good".

Looking deeper, if we assign each note in a scale a number or degree we can learn more about chord progressions. For example, the scale degrees of C major would be:
C  D  E  F  G  A  B  C.
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  1
Each chord from a chord progression is build off of a scale degree.
For example, for a song in the key of C major, a C major triad would be made from the 1st, 3rd, and 5rd degrees of the C major scale: C, E, G. If, in the same song, the progression calls for the IV chord, or F major, the chord will be build from the 4th scale degree(4th, 6th, 1st) - F, A, C. Through the whole chord progression, any notes from C major will suit.

Hope this helps


A song is in a certain key. There is a scale of that key. If the key is C major, the scale is C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. We can form chords from those notes. The most common ones are triads - the ones fingered 1, 3, 5.

That's C major - C, E, G.

D minor - D, F, A.

E minor - E, G, B etc.

For 'in-between' notes stick to the notes of the basic scale.

But be warned. Those 'rules' might help you to string together notes that don't sound WRONG. But you'll find an awful lot of songs that go beyond that basic framework. Just about all of them in fact!

For a start, as 'rules' they tell you the blues is wrong. Chromatic chords are wrong. (Songs in C major frequently use C7, F7, F minor, B♭ major chords and many more, without ever departing from a C major framework.)

So don't treat them as rules. Just as a description of the most basic framework of a musical key.

PLEASE don't try to work outward from 'theory'. Look at real music and ask 'what's happening here?' If it breaks a 'rule' - well, we're not in black-and-white any more. We've left Kansas, the 'Summer Holiday' bus is on the road. Glorious Technicolor! And remember the vast majority of movies ARE in colour. Film students might sometimes choose to work in monochrome as an exercise, but they aren't expected to do so for years before graduating to colour. (Actually, this analogy is going a bit wrong, maybe they should...)


If you're talking about left hand notes in between playing the chords, there are a couple of things you can try:

1) Arpeggiate the chords as you play them--play the notes of the chords in various order in a faster rhythm than the melody rather than playing them all at once.

2) As long as you stay in the same key, going up or down the scale stepwise from one chord tone to the next can also work to fill in. For example, instead of just playing the chord tones above, you could play C/D/E/G successively or C/E/F/G successively and it would still sound fine.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.