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ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons: Exercise: Singing Harmony & Blend -NEW!

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[MUSIC]
Here's an exercise that
you can do with two other singers.
We're going to use the same chords as the
earlier exercise where it was just you and
the piano, picking different parts.
But in this case because I'm going to
bring on two other singers and
I'll be one of them as well, so we'll have
three parts.
There are a number of elements that we're
going to go through step by step.
Now, you may think wow, there's a lot of
steps to it, and
the fact of the matter is there are.
But I'm gonna break them down so that it's
very simple,
because a lot of things can happen when
you start adding voices.
And it can feel a little random, so it's
important to
have the tools of course that you know how
to apply in a step
by step manner that very quickly unites
all the voices.
And you of course feel good, sound good,
and you can vent, put your heart and
soul into singing this song.
In this case, like I said, we're going to
break it down, and
I'll show you each step to take.
I'm gonna bring on my singers, Michael and
Perry.
And in this case, because we have a male
voice,
I'm going to have him sing an octave lower
on the starting pitch here.
[MUSIC]
We're going to use ooh, ooh.
And then we'll do it with words also, so
you can see how blend works with words.
So first you establish the notes that are
gonna be sung.
[MUSIC]
Here's yours on an ooh.
[MUSIC].
>> [MUSIC].
>> Good.
Here's yours.
[MUSIC].
>> [MUSIC].
>> Perfect.
And I'll be in the middle.
[MUSIC]
Now, let's do it together.
Here's yours.
[MUSIC]
You hold it.
>> [MUSIC].
>> Good.
Go.
>> [MUSIC].
>> [MUSIC]
Good, it's nice to have one of you
there's you and two other singers.
One of you needs to be the director.
Otherwise again, it gets too random so
let's say it's you.
Whoever you may be that I'm speaking to
here.
But you start the singers and then stop
them.
[MUSIC]
You're gonna have a little flag.
[MUSIC]
Okay, again.
You do the ooh.
Go.
>> [MUSIC].
>> Good.
You?
>> [MUSIC].
>> [MUSIC]
Good.
Now we're gonna practice starting at the
same time, so you need a lead in.
And this is true when you're starting a
song also, you learn to count it in.
We're gonna use a beat of this, so it's
kind of slow so
everybody can tune ears to the harmony.
So, now I'll count them in.
We're go one one, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Let's do it again.
You practice it.
[MUSIC]
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now, you'll notice, I didn't cut you off.
But you'll notice that we were pretty
close in starting at the same time.
In this case, because we're using an ooh,
although this can
apply with other sounds, the ooh has a bit
of a W shape of the lips.
Now a W is a consonant, not a vowel.
And as I go over in earlier lessons,
the vocal sound is the vowel, not the
consonant.
So if, unwittingly,
you would start, try to start the sound
with your lips, you'll be late.
In this case, it's actually using an oo
sound,
which you can think of more inside your
mouth.
And if you go for that at the start, you
will be on time.
So let's go for that.
Okay.
Notes established.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Pretty good.
Let's do it again.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Yes.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Now,
next step will have
the chord change.
[MUSIC]
So, we're gonna go from an ooh,
to an back to an ooh.
This works on several points.
It works on blend in terms of rhythm,
note change, vowel precision, and holding
your own in a melody.
It's easier when you hear a piano, but
a lot of times, harmonies are done without
having such guidance.
But the first step when you're learning
harmony is to
try to use some kind of instrument that
gives
each of the singers their notes until
they're well enough practiced.
That a person can just know the sound, and
stay on it.
We'll get more in to that element as we
move forward in the lessons.
So here we go with this one.
[MUSIC]
We've got here, here, here.
With these two chords, cuz it's really
only two.
You go back to the first one.
The first note stays the same.
[SOUND] That's called in music, a Pedal
Tone.
[SOUND] When it's only the same.
Or, it can also be called a counter melody
[SOUND] because the rest of the melody
is moving while this particular harmony is
staying on the same note.
[SOUND] So again, you break it apart
first.
So we're gonna do [SOUND] oh, oh.
I'll count you in.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Beautiful.
Now we're gonna do this.
And it's gonna be
[MUSIC],
okay?
Here we go.
Start.
[MUSIC]
Beautiful.
Okay, now let's put it all together, and
I'll count it down.
Two, three.
[MUSIC]
Nice.
So now we have an exact beginning of all
voices, staying on pitch,
changing vowel sounds, which increases
some dynamic,
and brings it back down, and ending at the
same moment,
which is what creates a very clean unison
of voices.
And is so important in vocal blend.
[MUSIC]
Now that we've established those things,
we're gonna move up and down the scale a
bit in this exercise.
As you listen, you can choose whichever
note you'd like to,
cuz of course you can rewind it.
And do this over and over again, using one
of the notes in the harmony, up and down.
Then changing to one of the other ones, up
and down.
Then start again, choose the third
harmony, and do that over and over again.
As a solo exercise, as well as bringing in
other singers to practice the blend part.
[SOUND] All right, here we go.
[SOUND] So you're here.
[SOUND] All right?
[SOUND] Okay.
[SOUND] One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good.
[SOUND] Wait.
[MUSIC]
Here we go.
[MUSIC]
Good now, I hear,
I'm gonna interrupt the flow here.
On the top harmony, it can be easy to
drift a little what's called flat.
[SOUND] Holding your own note becomes very
important that you're really listening
to what you, yourself are doing.
And don't try to go and, don't try to
listen so
much to what everybody else is doing.
[MUSIC]
So let's go for that, alright?
Here we go and [SOUND] one other thing to
know is that [SOUND] I play a chord in
between [SOUND] that gives it kind of a
rhythm, so you have an expectation and
a prediction of when [SOUND] we're gonna
do the next.
[MUSIC]
All right, here we go.
Counting in.
[MUSIC]
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good,
we'll
do it
again.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Listen just to what you're doing.
[MUSIC]
Good.
[MUSIC]
Good.
[MUSIC]
Now you can also
practice group breathing.
[SOUND] So breathe.
[MUSIC]
So everybody breathes at the same moment.
[SOUND] Now, breathe.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Breathe.
[MUSIC]
And again, breath.
[MUSIC]
Good, breathe.
[MUSIC]
Good,
breath.
[MUSIC]
Do it again.
[MUSIC]
And we'll do 2 more, breathe.
[MUSIC]
That's your
lesson.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Obviously, most words
have vowels and consonants.
So we're adding this other element some of
which I've
gone over already, in an earlier section
of lessons,
we put it together using vocal blend, and
harmonies.
[SOUND] So there will be a number of
different aspects that I will pe,
present to you with, point out, coach, and
show you.
The first word we're going to use is love,
it tends to be a prominent word in songs,
[LAUGH] as you may have noticed.
[SOUND] And so we're gonna use the same
chords as a result the same harmony parts.
And as always, the first thing you do is
you establish the notes for
yourself and any singers that you're doing
this with.
[SOUND] So you're here on the word love.
Let's hear that.
[SOUND] Sustain.
[MUSIC]
Good.
And now you're here.
[SOUND].
[MUSIC].
Good.
[SOUND] And I'm, in the middle, so I'll
give you this, and
we're going to sustain it for a little bit
okay?
[MUSIC]
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good, let's do it again.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now, I'm gonna show you how this could be
done in a not so pleasant way.
[SOUND] Which would be something like this
[MUSIC].
I'm kind of strangling my voice, or
another way of saying,
it is I am strangling my vowel, which is
my voice.
[SOUND] And l is really a silent
consonant,
it's just the tongue going up behind the
top teeth,
or at least to the front of the gum line,
if you don't have any teeth.
No, [LAUGH], up here.
So it's just this position, it's not a
sound.
Resultantly, and in, oh, in an earlier
lesson, in the warm ups,
there's the La Ga series.
That exercise is more important than you
may have realized.
I'm sure that you've already gotten a lot
out of it, but you get to practice
flipping your tongue into different silent
consonant positions,
and not making sound at the same time,
because it pulls your tongue.
And pulls the muscles of your voice, and
so you, it's easy to strain that way.
So, if you go
[MUSIC]
is the vowel.
Not the
[MUSIC].
And then you've got the [SOUND] which if
you sing it,
[MUSIC]
[LAUGH] would be lovely.
[LAUGH] But usually not wanted.
So we're gonna go for the [SOUND] sound.
One other thing that I point out in an
earlier lesson that I
wanna bring into this one, is the fact
that L-O-V-E [LAUGH] in
this case the O doesn't sound like [SOUND]
it's an [SOUND].
As a result we have vowel names, as
opposed to vowel sounds.
When you're singing a song, and it's, and
even more importantly in a different way.
Working on vocal blended harmony,
knowing the actual sound of the vowel
becomes very important, and
we'll get into that in more depth, as we
move forward in these harmony lessons.
This case, cuz we're using love, all three
of us, it's an [SOUND] love.
Now people's pronunciations can be
different.
But that's the one I'm gonna call on right
now, in order to blend all of our voices.
It would be like a U, rather than an O
sound.
[MUSIC]
And
not an [SOUND] what's not gonna be love,
it's gonna be love.
All right, great.
So here we go.
We're just going to do the first note, and
sustain, knowing that it's the [SOUND].
Right, you ready?
Okay.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC].
Nice.
See?
We blended beautifully.
[SOUND] Okay.
Now we're going to work on the change, but
we're gonna stay with the same word.
So, it will be, for example,
[MUSIC].
Okay?
Your note of course stays, the same.
[SOUND] Mine moves.
[SOUND] Here we go.
[SOUND] One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good, again.
[MUSIC]
Good.
[SOUND] Now we're gonna move it.
[SOUND] Mm-hm.
[SOUND] Ready?
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now, because two of us are changing notes,
we get into real nit-picky refinement of
rhythm.
So, if the singers that you're working
with
don't know the timing of the note changes.
No matter how perfectly, you'll be singing
the notes and the, the vowel sound,
it won't blend and it'll sound like
somebody's off somehow
because the notes start bumping against
each other.
So it makes one person sound like they're
singing flat or sharp when they're not.
It's just the timing is off.
So we're gonna work on that.
You can isolate it like this.
[SOUND] Say, okay, we've got this one
singer who's staying on the same note,
but we're moving together.
So I'm gonna adjust to us two.
And then, we'll add the third.
[SOUND] Okay, here we go.
[MUSIC]
one, I'll count it sorry [LAUGH].
>> Okay.
[LAUGH].
>> One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good, again.
[MUSIC]
Notice,
you can rewind this if you want.
Notice how we both started, especially
that last one,
we started the [SOUND] exactly, the same
time.
We stayed with each other rhythmically.
We came back, and we sustained that
[SOUND] exactly,
the same length of time, and then we
gently ended the V,
rather than trying to put tone of the
voice into the V,
[SOUND] it was [SOUND] like a little
feather.
When you're singing songs, that becomes
really important.
That you are letting the ending consonants
not have a lot of juice we'll say,
of your voice.
It can depending on the consonant that's
at the end of the word that you're
singing, or sustaining.
It can end up making you sound strained,
or throwing your pitch off.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
Okay, now we're going
to do it with all three.
So you're here, here, whichever note you
wanna sing.
One, two.
Three.
[MUSIC]
Good.
We'll do it again.
[MUSIC]
Got it?
'Kay, your note, whichever you're
choosing.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC].
Good.
One, two, three, breathe.
[MUSIC].
See, that's right on, awesome.
Okay, we'll do it again.
One, two.
Three, breathe.
[MUSIC]
Good.
[MUSIC]
One, two, three, breathe.
[MUSIC].
Okay.
Now it's not unusual for
a person to have a bit of uncertainty of
their note.
This becomes like a pitch memory thing.
I believe that perfect pitch really,
ultimately is just pitch memory.
And the more you practice, the more you
tune your ear.
And you pre-hear what the note is going to
be.
It's a pre-hear and then you intend it.
So you can't, like, start the note and
then hope that and listen to yourself and
tweak it.
I mean, you can, but to be right on your
note.
You learn it.
You drill it through.
That's how you learn it.
You drill it, drill it,
drill it but, recognize that you're
memorizing the notes.
You're memorizing the sounds of your voice
and then you.
Pre hear it and you intend to do it, then
the body will know what to do and
give you the note.
[MUSIC]
So we're drilling.
[MUSIC]
Good, again.
[MUSIC]
Good, notice that it's the.
Yay, all right and you're here.
[MUSIC]
Good again.
[MUSIC]
Good.
See what happened there.
First, he just kind of scooped from under
the note.
And got to it.
Then he knew it.
And went right on to it.
That rhymed.
[LAUGH] Okay.
All right.
Here we go.
With love.
You got it?
You got it?
Beautiful.
[MUSIC]
One, two, three, breathe.
[MUSIC]
Good, and we'll drill it.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good, again.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
That's right.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
I'm a firm believer that once you actually
get something totally right on, you repeat
it.
Three times and at each time, it needs to
be just so
right on, right on, right on.
Then that builds your certainty that you
can do it again cuz,
you know, sometimes you can be singing a
song and go wow, that sounded really good.
It felt really good, but.
What about the next time I sing this song?
Will I be able to do it again?
So, the drilling and the repetition of
doing it the way
you really want it to be is what helps
build your confidence.
[MUSIC]
Okay.
Now, what we're going to do is change the
word.
And we'll use [SOUND] the word say.
All right.
I'm using this word because the vowel A
has a lot of different important aspects.
We've used it in.
Earlier exercises and I've spoken about it
in various ways.
We're gonna see how it works with within
the context of a word and
vocal blend and harmony.
So first of all, same chords, same parts.
Let me hear you do say.
[MUSIC]
Okay, that's fine, no you're here.
[LAUGH].
>> Say.
>> Right on, do it again.
>> Say.
>> Good, now on this first one he ended
the word right.
At the time that the note actually ended.
On the second one, if you wanna rewind it
a little bit and listen to his,
the example, he ended the word before he
actually ended the sound.
In other words, you're, say you're
sustaining a word, in this case say,.
Say this is my lowest note, [LAUGH] I"ll
do it here.
Say.
Versus say.
So it happens.
So if all singers involved.
Decide they're going to end the word like
that.
Then it's unified.
However, if one singer is ending, say and
the other is ending, say it won't blend.
And again, this is an element we will
address more
in an upcoming lesson in the section on
harmony and blend.
But we get to work on it now too.
So okay.
So it's gonna be.
[MUSIC]
That y is silent.
And I have to say this can take some
practice.
Most singers have I've worked with,
no matter how professional often find this
tricky.
So if it takes you some time, that's okay.
All right, now for your part, you're gonna
be.
[MUSIC].
Right?
[MUSIC]
Here we go.
[SOUND] Just her.
One, two, three, breathe.
>> [MUSIC].
>> Good, let's do it again.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Okay, so now here's an example.
The first time she did it, she slid to the
notes.
But she was getting familiar with them as
you, I'm sure are.
And as you practice it of course you will.
Second time, she knew them better.
So, it was much more precise, right?
>> Mm-hm.
>> Nice.
[MUSIC]
Okay, so we'll do that again.
One, two, three, breathe.
[MUSIC].
>> Say.
>> Good.
Now, I'm going to have you practice it.
Holding your last note on that vowel,
and putting the y after you've ended the
note.
>> Okay.
>> [MUSIC]
Say, rather than, say.
>> Okay.
>> Cool, let's try it.
One, two, three, breathe.
>> [MUSIC]
Say.
>> Much better.
You were checking it out as you did it,
like, oh, yeah.
>> Yeah.
>> Okay, cool.
Let's do it again.
>> Okay.
>> One, two, three, breathe.
>> [MUSIC].
>> Yes.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
So now let's do with
all three together, okay.
All right, and you.
That makes four, maybe six.
[SOUND] All right, word is say, I'll count
us in.
Say breathe, and we're in.
[SOUND] Here we go.
[SOUND] One, two, three, breath.
[MUSIC]
Good, perfect.
Let's do it again.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Yeah.
[SOUND] Next.
[SOUND] One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good, one, the same one.
One, two, three, breathe.
[MUSIC]
Good.
[SOUND] Next.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good, let's do it again so
we all end on time.
I'm sorry, I didn't conduct you.
[LAUGH] One, two, three, breath.
[MUSIC]
Nice.
[SOUND] Just as a extra note,
remember you can always drill fine points.
If something is off, say you're working
first on just knowing your note, don't
worry about having everything all unified,
and the right vowel sound and everything.
Just learn the note first, or notes.
Then, pay attention to your vowel sound.
Whatever it may be, even if you're just
doing an [SOUND]
then work on fine point, starting at the
right moment.
How long are you gonna sustain, or aren't
you?
In other words, how long is the note going
to be, and then how to end it?
So, they it, you do it systematically that
way.
You get it really fast.
If it's too random, you'll be banging your
head against a wall and
feeling like you're not making fast
progress.
[SOUND] Here we go.
We're gonna do this, ready?
[MUSIC]
One, two, three breath.
[MUSIC]
Good.
One, two, three, breath.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Now, in this case, the top harmony part
needs to intonate.
It needs to come up on pitch just a little
bit more.
[SOUND] And this is where an A becomes
very cool.
Because an A has a little peak to the
resonance of it.
So when you're going.
[MUSIC].
>> [MUSIC].
>> Good.
Now I'm gonna add a little element here.
This is something that I introduced
everybody to a bunch
earlier in the school, in the singing
songs better section.
It has to do with letting the note and
letting the vowel sound
resonate where it needs to, to pick up the
rest
of the actual pitch and be 100% on target.
In this case, the A needs to come a little
bit through the roof of your mouth.
Think of sound as being something that can
pervade the material
of your body, not just stay in the hollow
of your mouth.
Kinda like sun rays goes through.
So, when you go,
[MUSIC]
it'll kinda sit about mid way on the hard
palette and go through a little bit.
[MUSIC]
Try it.
>> [MUSIC].
>> Good.
Now do it again, and don't push on it.
>> Okay.
>> Do it again.
>> [MUSIC].
>> Yeah, you're finding it.
Do it again.
>> [MUSIC].
>> Good.
Now, let's say that it's constantly there
instead of going from below it up to it.
[MUSIC].
>> [MUSIC].
>> Mm-hm.
Hear the difference?
On pitch, no extra effort and it had that
little peak.
So you don't have to slide to it and come
down.
It is its own sound.
Nice.
[MUSIC]
Okay, put it back in.
[SOUND] All right, here we go.
And, you're here, you're here, you know
it.
[SOUND] One, two, three, breath.
[MUSIC]
Good.
Do it again.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Good.
One, two, three.
[MUSIC]
Enjoy working with this.
There's so many things to explore and it
just really makes your singing so
much better whether in fact you're singing
with other singers or not.
[MUSIC]