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Old 01-14-2013, 05:07 PM   #1
Zan595
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Harmonizing in Thirds

I've always been led to believe that harmonizing notes "in thirds" meant playing a note, and over top of it, having a note played two steps ahead of the first note in the scale. Such as, in the minor scale,

Key of C:
C - D - Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb – C

C and Eb would be thirds, D and F would be thirds, and so on.

However, one of my friends told me today that this is incorrect. He says that harmonizing in major thirds would mean playing notes that are four half steps higher than the original note, and harmonizing in minor thirds is playing a note over the first that's three half steps higher.

Who is correct here? Any other views on this?
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:11 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zan595
I've always been led to believe that harmonizing notes "in thirds" meant playing a note, and over top of it, having a note played two steps ahead of the first note in the scale. Such as, in the minor scale,

Key of C:
C - D - Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb – C

C and Eb would be thirds, D and F would be thirds, and so on.

However, one of my friends told me today that this is incorrect. He says that harmonizing in major thirds would mean playing notes that are four half steps higher than the original note, and harmonizing in minor thirds is playing a note over the first that's three half steps higher.

Who is correct here? Any other views on this?


you're both correct.

i think you need to brush up on your intervals. intervals possessing both three half steps and four half steps are (most often) thirds.

C and Eb are thirds. how many half steps are between C and Eb?
Eb and G are thirds. how many half steps are between Eb and G?
what kind of intervals are these two?

answer these questions and come back.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:34 PM   #3
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I don't see why somebody would harmonize in major thirds only or minor thirds only. It doesn't really sound good. But yeah, both of you are correct but your friend really isn't because he says that you aren't correct. Or then he misunderstood and thought you were talking about harmonizing in minor thirds and not harmonizing the minor scale in thirds.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:37 PM   #4
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^^ Indeed. There is no need to harmonize in exclusively major or exclusively minor thirds, unless you are looking to produce parallelism.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:43 PM   #5
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I definitely do need to brush up on intervals, I've always had a very basic understanding of theory. From what I understand of intervals, it takes 3 half steps to get from C to Eb, and 4 to get from Eb and G. This means that Eb is a minor third of C, and G is a major third of Eb.

Thinking this over, I have a new question. Is there a name difference between the two methods of harmonizing I described above? Using the method I'm familiar with, and harmonizing according to the scale, I run into notes that aren't three or four half steps above the original note. For instance, the first four notes of the Bebop Minor Scale (1, 2, b3, 3). If I were to harmonize the second and fourth note of this scale in "thirds" (using the method I'm familiar with), it would only take two half steps to get from the second to the fourth.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:58 PM   #6
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That's because those notes aren't a 3rd apart. Something that must be understood is that all scales are based upon the basic Major/ Minor system. The Bebop Minor Scale is simply a way to describe consistent chromatic alterations used by jazz musicians. That said, just because two notes in a "scale" are separated by another, doesn't mean they are a 3rd apart.

Think of it this way. Consider the number of the degree. Kind of like a color wheel, you wouldn't mix two notes that occur directly next to one another. To create a interval of a 3rd, you must use notes that skip a number. In this instance you would harmonize two with 4. Or, 1 would harmonize with 3. This is where the term a "3rd" comes from. It simply means that the interval moves to the third diatonic (within the scale) note from the starting point.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:59 PM   #7
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TS, do you understand the term "triad"?
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:09 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone, I've got a much better understanding of this.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:14 PM   #9
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Anytime, friend
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:46 PM   #10
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Harmonizing in Major Thirds = harmonizing each note with a major thirds only

Harmonizing in minor thirds = harmonizing each note using minor thirds only

Harmonizing in diatonic thirds = harmonizing each note using thirds (either major or minor) determined by sticking only to the notes of a diatonic scale (i.e harmonizing using only notes from major scale or harmonizing using only notes from the minor scale)
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zan595
I've always been led to believe that harmonizing notes "in thirds" meant playing a note, and over top of it, having a note played two steps ahead of the first note in the scale. Such as, in the minor scale,

Key of C:
C - D - Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb – C

C and Eb would be thirds, D and F would be thirds, and so on.

However, one of my friends told me today that this is incorrect. He says that harmonizing in major thirds would mean playing notes that are four half steps higher than the original note, and harmonizing in minor thirds is playing a note over the first that's three half steps higher.

Who is correct here? Any other views on this?


That's C minor. So if you were singing a C over a C minor and wanted to harmonise it, you'd sing an Eb.

Yet if it was C major:

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

So it's still the third. Singing the third over a C major chord would be an E. Easy.
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