Guitar Harmony

author: Deafened date: 07/15/2004 category: guitar techniques
rating: 9.4 / votes: 91 
Harmony is often used in orchestra and classical music, but on guitar it can be used for two or three guitars to play on each other. Many bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax etc use it and so do solo guitarists like Steve Vai. If you ask someone about harmony, they might tell you and it will probably make you think it's hard, in actual fact it's really easy. Harmony is when one instrument plays so many intervals above another eg. one guitar plays a 5th above the other.
Lets say guitar 1 plays this riff 

E----------------------------
B----------------------------
G----------------------------
D----------------------------
A-----7----8-----10----8-7~--
E--0-0--0-0--0-0---0-0-------
If guitar 2 was to harmonize (for example in 5th's) it would play this
E----------------------------
B----------------------------
G----------------------------
D------9---10---12----10-9~--
A----------------------------
E--0-0--0-0--0-0--0-0--------
I find that to harmonize something in 5th's is easy because...
E-----
B-----
G--9-- 
D--9-- 
A--7--
E-----
The chord shown is an E5, the seven in the chord is the root note (the tonic) the first nine (on the D string) is the 5th and the second nine is the octave. If you were to play the the seven in a note sequence, to harmonize it in 5th's, you take the 5th (the first nine) and use that for the harmony part. you can do this for any note if you want to harmonize it. 3rd's. 3rd's are kind of the same except you need to remember what key the note is in if you want to harmonize it, eg in the c major scale:
C D E F G A B C 

C=major D=minor E=Minor F=major G=major A=minor
B=diminished
So if you played C note and harmonized in 3rd's you would play a major 3rd (in this casethe note would E). If we harmonize the first riff we used in 3rd's, this is what we would get:
E--------------------------
B--------------------------
G--------------------------
D----5----7-----8----7-5~--
A--------------------------
E-0-0--0-0--0-0---0-0------
So bascially all you're doing is taking the note and playing whatever the interval is above it. here is a list of different intervals to use. How to use:
5th's.

C D E F G A B C 
G A B C D E F G
On the top row, pick out the notes you are going to harmonize, then take the notes underneath the notes you have picked and those are the notes you would play to harmonize them. eg to harmonize the notes C E G, you would play G B D. List of intervals (5th's listed above)
3rd's

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

7th's

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

4th's

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

2nd's

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

6th's

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

8th's (octaves)

C D E F G A B C
C D E F G A B C
One last thing, if you forget these, this is all you do to work it out. Write down the notes C D E F G A B C on a bit of paper and then if you want to harmonize in sevenths for example, you start on C and count seven along which would give you B and keep doing it, but when you come to the last C in the list you go back to the beginning, but miss out the first C and go onto D. Eg. E harmonized in 7th's would be D because you miss the first C the second time you count the notes well there you go, harmony explained, hope it helps, this is a really cool thing to use in a band if you have 2 guitarists.
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