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Problem when creating harmonies

Posted by Rex Hamilton III 
Problem when creating harmonies
April 30, 2017 10:11AM
The interesting thing about harmonies - 3rds, minor 3rds, 4ths etc - is how they don't follow the exact pattern. I expected the melody lines to be exactly the same (ie: same fretboard pattern) just played in a higher/lower position. It was quite mind blowing to see that they include different intervals.

I also find it very confusing in working out my own harmonies.

Let's say I want to harmonise a melody in 4ths and the key is C. I have my initial melody and I now want to harmonise it in 4ths. As I understand it I now have to move up/down in 4ths, as per the C major scale, and play the corresponding notes.

But what I find hard is I have to keep in mind the note I'm wanting to harmonise (eg: G) but also the parent scale (C). I can't do this mentally or whilst playing my guitar. The only way I am able to work out harmonies is to write out the notes of the scale, locate the current note in the melody on the scale I've just written out, and then - literally - count backwards/forwards. As my example is in 4ths, this means counting up/down 3 notes.

Is this normal? Does it get any easier? Is there a better way to go about it?
Re: Problem when creating harmonies
April 30, 2017 09:06PM
You may look at a couple of posts if mine: one is called "Vertical vs.linear" while the other being a reply in a post called "Finding key is just an ilussion" or something like that. Greetings
Re: Problem when creating harmonies
May 01, 2017 01:03AM
If you're a guitarist and mostly play in standard tuning then you should learn all the fretboard interval patterns. As I'm sure you know, octaves follow the 2-up, 2-up rule, meaning an octave above any note on string 6 & 5 can be found two strings higher and 2 frets higher. (for strings 4 & 3 it's 2 up and 3 (frets) up).

The same applies to every interval, Each has a pattern that can be memorised.

For example, Perfect 5ths are 1 up 2 up, so from any note on strings 6, 5 or 4, a perfect 5th above can be found 1 string higher and 2 frets higher. Again, the 'formula' changes for string 3 (1 up - 3 up).

By learning the patterns, you can instantly find the right note even if you don't immediately know what it's called. For example, what note is an augmented 4th. above G on string 6 fret 3? While you're working it out, your finger would immediately follow the memorised aug 4 pattern and move 1 up - 1 up - i.e, string 5 fret 4 (C#). When you're playing, you don't have time to mentally name the required harmony note and then go looking for it. Apply the pattern, to get the required note instantly.

When it comes to keeping it in key, you have to make another adjustment, For example if you want to harmonise in 5ths above a melody in the key of C major, the pattern will be the same for all notes except for the note a 5th above the leading note (B) which will be one fret lower as it needs a diminished 5th (tritone) to stay in key - i.e F, not F#. All the rest are perfect 5ths so the pattern is exactly the same anywhere along the length of the fretboard

If you're interested, I have a webpage app that teaches all the patterns, not only for locating notes of intervals but also chord tones and scale degrees. It shows an unnamed section of fretboard. It's unnamed because the same patterns apply regardless of which section of the fretboard you use. It prevents you from thinking in note name and forces you to think in patterns.

Check it out on a laptop - not a phone as it's Flash-based and won't display on phones. And ask about anything that isn't clear. I'm always interested to know how people use it. The default setting is for chord tones so select the 'intervals' tab under the white text box and click play. If you use TEST MODE, you have to click where you think the required note will be. The app will keep track of your score and time taken to find the note.

Here it is fretsource-guitar.weebly.com/fretboard-navigation-trainer.html



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2017 01:39AM by Fretsource. (view changes)
Re: Problem when creating harmonies
May 01, 2017 05:44AM
Fretsource Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you're a guitarist and mostly play in standard
> tuning then you should learn all the fretboard
> interval patterns. As I'm sure you know, octaves
> follow the 2-up, 2-up rule, meaning an octave
> above any note on string 6 & 5 can be found two
> strings higher and 2 frets higher. (for strings 4
> & 3 it's 2 up and 3 (frets) up).
>
> The same applies to every interval, Each has a
> pattern that can be memorised.


Yes, I do this myself (though I've never had call to do an Aug 4th yet!

I was asking more in the way on dual guitar harmonies - like Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden - rather than on a single guitar That's when the intervals between the notes can change. Eg: in Iron Maiden's The Phantom of the Opera, there's a harmony section where one guitar goes back and forth between 2 frets (a tone) whilst the other alternates between one fret and the next (a semi tone:


-------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------8---------------- -------------------------------------------12----------
-9--7--9-----7--9--7--9--------9----------- --12--11--12----11--12--11--12---------12----
------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------


See? They're not just playing the same shape but different intervals.



> When it comes to keeping it in key, you have to
> make another adjustment, For example if you want
> to harmonise in 5ths above a melody in the key of
> C major, the pattern will be the same for all
> notes except for the note a 5th above the leading
> note (B) which will be one fret lower as it needs
> a diminished 5th (tritone) to stay in key - i.e F,
> not F#. All the rest are perfect 5ths so the
> pattern is exactly the same anywhere along the
> length of the fretboard


Hmm I don't have this problem when I use my 'writing-the-scale-out' method. A 5th is C > G 5th is 7 frets up and 4 notes apart (5 if you include the start note) when you count from C (D, E, F, G). So when I look at the scale as per below, and start on the B and count up the intervals I get:

1 step up = C
2 steps up = D
3 steps up = E
4 steps = F

In other words, the 4th interval of B is F.
I can see that it's only 6 frets apart and not seven - hence your explanation of needing to flatten the F# to F - but when counting steps of the scale, that problem is eradicated:

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

No matter which note I start on - when I count up 4 intervals I get a 5th: C > G, D > A, F > C, G D, A > E and B > F.



> If you're interested, I have a webpage app that
> teaches all the patterns, not only for locating
> notes of intervals but also chord tones and scale
> degrees. It shows an unnamed section of fretboard.
> It's unnamed because the same patterns apply
> regardless of which section of the fretboard you
> use. It prevents you from thinking in note name
> and forces you to think in patterns.
>
> Check it out on a laptop - not a phone as it's
> Flash-based and won't display on phones. And ask
> about anything that isn't clear. I'm always
> interested to know how people use it. The default
> setting is for chord tones so select the
> 'intervals' tab under the white text box and click
> play. If you use TEST MODE, you have to click
> where you think the required note will be. The app
> will keep track of your score and time taken to
> find the note.
>
> Here it is
> fretsource-guitar.weebly.com/fretboard-navigation-
> trainer.html

Thanks! I will check it out when I am home! Thanks!
Re: Problem when creating harmonies
May 01, 2017 09:16AM
Ah - ok, I thought you meant harmonising on the same guitar, - so patterns won't help. Ok, here's another way. Standard notation. If you can write the melody in notation then you can write a parallel harmony by following the shape exactly above or below for whichever interval you choose. In the key of C major or A minor, that's all you need to do. The lines and spaces of the notation staff take care of the different sized intervals (of the same type). In any other key, you need a key signature to ensure the intervals stay in key.
Viz
Re: Problem when creating harmonies
May 08, 2017 12:03AM
This is all best demonstrated by harmonising the major scale. That means playing the triads (1, 3, 5 notes) starting on each degree of a major scale. For example, in C major, the triads would be

C: C E G
Dm: D F A
Em: E G B
F: F A C
G: G B D
Am: A C E
Bdim: B D E
C.

As you can see, the triads are sometimes major, sometimes minor. You can really see this on the intro to Brown Eyed Girl - you have to change the interval. That is the reason why your Iron Maiden melodies aren't identical - if you start on the root and play a melody, and then shift the melody up a third, the intervals will be different. If you use a Boss pitch shifter, it can't do this intelligently, it transposes everything up by a specified interval; but if you use an intelligent pitch shifter like a Harmoniser, it knows the notes of the key and accounts for the major/minor intervals.
Re: Problem when creating harmonies
May 08, 2017 10:23AM
Thanks Viz. Harmonising with different intervals is easy enough when you're going up and down sequentially but not when you're trying to craft an actual melody. You can jump up 4 notes and then down 2 and then up 7 and then down 1 etc and this is where it gets hard because your other melody won't be identical and it's as if you're working with two separate scales.
Viz
Re: Problem when creating harmonies
May 08, 2017 11:38AM
Yes, I agree but you tend to get familiar with the intervals in time don't you. Blackbird is another good one.
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