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Harmony singing

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Harmony singing

Postby fiddlewood » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:15 pm

Oldhat had a few questions about harmonies and I thought this would be the place to have this discussion. the italics are quotes form Oldhat's post on another thread. I'll try to answer to the best of my ability but I certainly don't know all there is to know about singing.

To ones "ear" in harmony can they really tell when two share the same notes when they are on an off beat?

I'm not sure what an off beat has to do with it but I can always tell when someone is on the same note as I am singing.


What is wrong with singing a straight 3rd or 5th above the lead and then following identical intervals when possible? Is this "doubling" or is this harmony?

I'm not sure what you mean by "following identical intervals" 1) doing a 3rd above the 3rd? 2) half steps and whole steps relatiIve to the distance from the lead or somewhere else?

"doubling" to me would be two people singing the exact same note(s).


When one sings harmony and has no place to go with the next note, can you simply hold that note you are on until you get a chance to get off it or something else becomes available?

You have to listen carefully when you sing. Many times I refer to the Tenor part as a 3rd above the lead. this is an absolutely straght tenor and can most always be sung that way. However, listen to duets like the Louvin Bros, or other old brother type acts and you will hear the tenor jumping to 5th above in spots. they can do this because there are only Two singers. The lead may also jump to the tenors part which drives the tenor to either cross over and sing the lead note below the lead singer or go up higher. Going higher is the most used move historically.

On holding a note: again it comes down to listening. If it sounds like the correct note it probably is. If it sounds off for some reason there must be another place to go.

As a rule, the more voices you have singing the more constricted each part is on being able to move around trying to add "feeling" for lack of a better term.
Probably the first move a baritone singer learns is the "minor" move (my term). you'll here this in some JD Crowe or Doyle stuff best probably. to hear it your self use a guitar or banjo. play a G triad on the 2nd-3rd fret, 3rd-4th fret & 4th-5th fret . Only the Baritone (4th string) would move down a half step and you create a Bm chord. quite a few endings and middle movements in songs have been recorded this way.

Now if the Baritone (4th string) moves a whole step down form the original note you end up with a diminished chord.

so you can already make a major, minor, and diminished change just by moving the baritone while the other two voices stay on the same note. cool huh?




I was thinking that just adding in an octave below you with a bass would be the way to go but I think Larry hits a lot of those bass notes in his singing and they'd only stack on top of each other.

A base part shouldn't hit the baritone. Baritone is only a third below the lead. Bass would be lower (but that would be quite low in the key of F).

Example: First sung note of chorus on You'll never forget me

T = C
L = A
B = F
Bass = F octave below baritone

Bass can get really different - I've played bass a long time and still don't completely understand all the cool things you can jdo with a Bass part when singing.

how about taking the time to throw up a few individual tracks of you singing harmony parts so we can listen to them?

I think it might work better to write them out for guitar so you could see and understand the triads and how the singing goes right along with the playing.
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Re: Harmony singing

Postby Oldhat » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:24 pm

On singing the same intervals at a 3rd or 5th above....I meant sing the same intervals that the lead is singing but simply sing a 3rd higher to start then follow the intervals...is this solely reserved for the most part for the Tenor?

Good post above by-the-way. I think harmony is "cool" and want to understand it better. I have only ran into a handful of folks that could pull off singing harmony on the "fly" and I kind of admire these folks in the same sense that I admire musicians who can follow a melody line the first time they hear a song and take a comprehensive break over it while keeping the melody intact.

So in harmony singing, I am staying withing the chords of the major, and creating the triad on what ever note you are on to complement it and am trying to finish making a chord associated to that note you are singing?

Since "You'll Wish" is the song we are working on now then how about we study it for reference..study it by notes that are in the lead and what each note the harmony part should be on in reference to the lead.

EDIT/ADD:

Now since you started on "A" in your lead, would it not be considered a "bass" at the octave to be starting on the A verses on the F? I mean doesn't bass part sing the same notes as the lead but an octave lower?
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Re: Harmony singing

Postby Oldhat » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:38 pm

Now if the Baritone (4th string) moves a whole step down form the original note you end up with a diminished chord.

so you can already make a major, minor, and diminished change just by moving the baritone while the other two voices stay on the same note. cool huh?


Ok I worked through that on the guitar and have actually made that move before in singing but did not realize what it was "theory wise" but instead said "that sounds cool" and "I have heard that used before"...now I will expect Larry to add some "bling" in his baritone part if its available:D :D
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Re: Harmony singing

Postby fiddlewood » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:18 am

Oldhat wrote:Now since you started on "A" in your lead, would it not be considered a "bass" at the octave to be starting on the A verses on the F? I mean doesn't bass part sing the same notes as the lead but an octave lower?



A and f would both be in the Bass range. neither is more correct than the other. As I stated earlier, the bass part can do may things to create different sounds.
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Re:tabs/music

Postby fiddlewood » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:11 am

After reading Larry's 'mando tabs I'd like to suggest either useing guitar tabs as everyone plays guitar, or better yet notation with all parts on the same page. this might give a better idea of the chords being built and ease of reading the whole thing.

I tried re-writing what Larry did but am on the wrong computer; my PC only has tefview. I might attempt another re-write when I get back home on my mac.
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