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Harmonizing?

Posted: January 2nd, 2015, 10:21 am
by Nickguitar800
Hello everyone; I am in a band and recently we played our first show. We took a break for Christmas but we've already chosen new songs that we're going to to learn and I've already learned my guitar parts for most of them. We want to improve our sound for our next show and I think that one way we can do that is by harmonizing more and doing more backing vocals. My question is; how do you harmonize? I don't have much experience harmonizing or singing backing vocals so I just need some pointers. For example, should I only harmonize during the chorus, should I try to sing a third down from the melody, and how loud should the harmony be? Thanks in advance!

Re: Harmonizing?

Posted: January 2nd, 2015, 12:15 pm
by Alan Green
If you're going to sing below the melody line, then go an octave down and a third up. When you put in a harmony really depends on what you feel the song deserves.

So far as volume is concerned, singing louder than the lead vocal is a one-way ticket to being fired. Keep it down.

Re: Harmonizing?

Posted: January 3rd, 2015, 8:26 am
by notes_norton
Listen to recordings of the songs you are playing. Listen to the vocal parts and learn to sing each and every one of them. Learning the harmony parts are just like learning the guitar parts, find the notes you are supposed to sing and sing them.

Do this for many songs, even the ones you aren't playing and sooner or later you will develop a knack for it and it will be fairly easy.

Insights and incites by Notes

Re: Harmonizing?

Posted: January 8th, 2015, 10:36 am
by Nickguitar800
Thank you! If there isn't a harmony in the original recording but you feel like it could use one, how would you go about making one? Like would you just sing the same words only an octave lower like you said? Thanks in advance, I don't have much experience with this so I might be kind of slow. Thanks though!

Re: Harmonizing?

Posted: January 8th, 2015, 3:00 pm
by Diceman
Harmonies are chord based . If you wanted to create a harmony part you would start on one of the other notes in the chord that is presently being played behind the singer . From there it is almost a linear relationship . One part goes up or down in frequency the other part follows it in a (kind of) parallel relationship . Think of it like two separate lines on a graph that go up and down together but don't cross each other . The distance between the lines will not always be the same due to the way scales are constructed , unless you want it to sound Japanese . Sometimes one voice will sing the same note through two different chords because the two chords share that note and the harmony voice will go up (or down).
This having been said , it's hard to describe harmony with words the same way it's hard to describe colors with words . I hope this helps a little .

P.S. Singing a part an octave lower is not really harmony although it can be a nice effect . True harmony involves more than lines sung an octave apart .

Re: Harmonizing?

Posted: January 20th, 2015, 10:07 am
by Nickguitar800
Thank you! That helps a lot!