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ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons: Singing Harmony 101 -NEW!

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Many singers grow
up singing the lead or
the melody of the song.
Fewer singers grow up singing harmonies.
For those who grew up, those of you who
have grown up singing harmonies,
it may be very easy for you, because
you're very familiar with
being able to pick out a part and follow
that along.
For those of you who are new to it or
wanna get new tips on how to sing harmony
We'll investigate, explore, take apart and
look at each of the different elements
that go into harmony.
Singing harmony, of course starts off with
a melody line.
Then the harmony is going to either be
above, below or
in both places if you have say, a three
part harmony.
Underneath the melody as you may know,
there are chords.
That's called the harmonic structure of a
[SOUND] So in this case, I'm going to show
using a C chord, which is called a triad.
Tri meaning three.
So there's three notes.
And with a C triad, it's C, E, G.
[SOUND] This is the we can call it
like the home structure, C, E, G.
[SOUND] Now we can have a harmony that
stays that way,
pretty much depending on the melody.
Or you can take the G, which normally is
on the top and put it on bottom.
[SOUND] So, it sounds that way.
[SOUND] So you got this.
And then you have this.
[SOUND] You can take [SOUND] the middle
which is an E and also put it below.
[SOUND] Giving it a whole other sense, a
So we've got [SOUND] or you could take
that E and put it all the way up here.
[SOUND] There's all these different
So you, you got, there's three basic notes
to the chord and
you can put them in different placements.
So here's another one.
[SOUND] In this case, it's C, G, E and
that's what's called a spread voicing.
A voicing is a, a, tends to be used as a
term in Jazz and
it basically means how are you putting the
chord tones?
Are they, in this case spread out.
And that gives you a spread voicing,
[SOUND] just spreads it out.
[LAUGH] So again, now what I've just done
is I'm still playing C as the bottom and
G [SOUND] at it's normal place, but I've
taken that middle one and
I've put it on top.
[SOUND] For certain kinds of music that
works beautifully.
Now, a harmony can follow note by note the
So let's say, this is the relationship and
it just walks up and down with the with
the tune melody.
Or it can stay stagnant and that depends,
stagnant meaning the same note,
which creates what's called a counter
But all of this really depends on what is
the melody of the song,
what is the style of the song.
Is it classical?
Is it a folk tune?
Is it a madrigal something, you know, more
church like.
Is it rock?
Is is pop?
Is it blues?
So, all of these different styles can tend
to have, you know?
Obviously, they have their own tone to
the, to the song.
And that determines a lot of the harmony,
as well as what is the chord movement.
Are we going from.
In this case, I'll show you
a moving melody with a stagnant or
a counter melody using this voicing.
[SOUND] [COUGH] [SOUND] So we have.
Notice that the bottom and
the top are moving.
The middle can stay the same.
Like this, I'll sing the top.
Now, I'll sing the middle.
Now sing the bottom.
Singing harmony
takes getting used to it,
getting familiar with it.
When I was coming up as they say, a young
spring chicken.
[LAUGH] Starting at a really early age, I
was surrounded by musicians,
a lot of jamming, a lot of folk music and
Irish sea shanties.
And Bluegrass and a lot of ethnic types of
music all of
which were very rich in harmony and then
Motown came along where
you really can hear those harmonies, so
crystal clear.
I was always looking for something that I
could sing that nobody else was singing,
so I would have my own part.
So, I would find harmonies.
But first, what I did was I studied the
songs and I listened to different parts.
I'd pick out a part and try to stay
constant with that through the whole song.
And of course, in the beginning, it was
rough and then it got easier and easier,
cuz you tune your ear to the part.
Now as I mentioned, there are harmonies on
top, harmonies on bottom.
There's two part, there's three part
harmony and
usually not too much more than that, but
there can be.
And I am putting up a PDF of some songs
samples that
are pretty well known, some of them at
least to you.
And you'll be able to find this PDF in the
study materials.
And I give you like what the song is and
where the melody is.
Is it on top, is it on bottom, that kind
of thing.
And then you can listen to those songs on
the internet and pick it out for yourself.
Maybe sing along and get familiar with it.
The big thing though is learning the
of what goes into harmony, practicing it.
Learning your melody and
being able to stay constant with what your
part is.
Now, as we go further in lessons of this
I'll address staying on your pitch,
finding your note and how to stay true to
your part.
One thing I would like to say right now is
that if you consider
that the harmony part you're singing is,
it's own melody.
That really, really helps.
The other thing, so that you don't drift
into someone's part and
then you start going flat and lose the
harmony of course is to really
stay focused on what your melody is, even
if it's the same note.
And that way you stay on track and each of
the other singers stay on track.
We'll get into exercises that have to do
with blend and rhythm and
things like that, but there's some tips
for you right away.