#1
hi all

i've been looking at ways to make twin leads more interesting rather than just harmonising in thirds, so, i've been harmonising a lick using 3rds then 4ths then 5ths

But i've hit a slight snag, using d minor, e clashes with a# but fits with b which is'nt in the scale, so whats the standard procedure with this?
#2
There isn't really a "standard procedure"...just use a different note.
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#5
It's because if you're playing in D minor, then E is the second note of the scale. You're adding on the fifth, relative to the E, from the D Minor scale, & you end up with a flattened fifth. This is because the second chord from a minor scale is a diminished chord (I'm referring to the the E as a chord because when you add that A# from the second guitar you're playing a chord between both parts). Basically, if you're playing in a minor key then if you want to add a fifth to the second note of the scale, then raise that fifth up a semitone to make it a perfect fifth. The same applies for playing the seventh note of the major scale - you have to raise the fifth to avoid having a flattened fifth which you would get seeing as it derives from a diminished chord.
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#6
Quote by razorback91
(...) using d minor, e clashes with a# but fits with b which is'nt in the scale(...)
Where you say A#, you should be saying Bb. Innocent mistake, but this shows me your somewhat limlited knowledge in theory.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but when you say "harmonising in thirds" I suspect you're having the second guitar play every note exactly a third lower, kind of like setting a harmonising pedal to the third setting. The same when you try harmonising in fourths and fifths.

Unfortunately it doesn't work like that. Not just any two chords can be played one after the other. And certain notes in a chord need to be followed by certain other notes to sound good. So both your guitars, and every other voice in the band, would be playing seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths and octaves all the time to sound in true harmony. And not just randomly either.

You see, in D minor, E and Bb are part of the second chord (ii). So, why do they clash? Well, to create the correct feel of ii you need to add the G. Maybe have the bass play the E and both guitars play a G and a Bb and the singer sing a high E. This would get you the classic ii-chord, which would sound great followed by the V-chord (bass plays A a fifth above the E, guitar 1 plays E a third below the G, guitar 2 plays A a second below the Bb and the singer sings C# a third below the E. That way there is a fourth between your guitars in your V where there was a third in the previous chord.

If it's not totally clear, don't hesitate to ask.
#7
Harmonizing in thirds is generally the most accepted because you really don't get classing notes. Using 4ths and 5ths, you can encounter the diminshed fifth/augmented 4th, which are very dissonant. Now that shouldn't limit you to only using thirds, because that little dissonance can sound good once you've figured out how to fit it into your sound. In your example, I'm assuming you use'd 5ths. Try to avoid the dim5/aug4 if you dont like how it sounds

The Bb(A#) to E is a Aug4th, a Dim 5th if you named it A#, so that is why it sounds ugly to you
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Last edited by Zinnie at Sep 21, 2010,
#8
Quote by Withakay
Where you say A#, you should be saying Bb. Innocent mistake, but this shows me your somewhat limlited knowledge in theory.
I don't see that. If anything, his question shows us that.

Unfortunately it doesn't work like that. Not just any two chords can be played one after the other. And certain notes in a chord need to be followed by certain other notes to sound good. So both your guitars, and every other voice in the band, would be playing seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths and octaves all the time to sound in true harmony. And not just randomly either.

But it does. Remember, consonance is different for everyone. And constant thirds start to sound ugly after awhile; as do constant any other interval.

You see, in D minor, E and Bb are part of the second chord (ii). So, why do they clash? Well, to create the correct feel of ii you need to add the G. Maybe have the bass play the E and both guitars play a G and a Bb and the singer sing a high E. This would get you the classic ii-chord, which would sound great followed by the V-chord (bass plays A a fifth above the E, guitar 1 plays E a third below the G, guitar 2 plays A a second below the Bb and the singer sings C# a third below the E. That way there is a fourth between your guitars in your V where there was a third in the previous chord.

If it's not totally clear, don't hesitate to ask.

While that's a nice explanation... it's wrong. You don't need the third of a chord for the chord to sound good. I mean really... that's how power chords are! But the reason it clashes is because E to A#/Bb is wither an Aug.4th or Dim. 5.

To TS, just play it anyways. Or change notes. It's up to you.
#9
Quote by DiminishedFifth
I don't see that. If anything, his question shows us that.
Come on. Once you understand how key signatures work, you never make that mistake again.
But it does. Remember, consonance is different for everyone.
That may be, but you aim to play for everyone. If some people don't like certain clashing sounds, why not avoid these by applying tried and tested rules? Look, I don't mind people writing songs from their guts. But don't be surprised then when it sounds off once in a while.
While that's a nice explanation... it's wrong. You don't need the third of a chord for the chord to sound good.
Without the third your basic chord is incomplete. And while you can get away with it at times, in the ii-chord it is essential.
I mean really... that's how power chords are!
Powerchords are for lazy guitarists. There is always a better solution. Maybe not as easy to play for beginners...

People accept different kinds of dissonance (like paralel fifths) because they got used to it, just as you get used to the smell of car exhaust in the city and the taste of burgers at McDonald's. And while I don't mind a burger once in a while, I'll take a Christmas dinner over it any time, thank you very much.
#10
Quote by Withakay
Come on. Once you understand how key signatures work, you never make that mistake again.
That may be, but you aim to play for everyone. If some people don't like certain clashing sounds, why not avoid these by applying tried and tested rules? Look, I don't mind people writing songs from their guts. But don't be surprised then when it sounds off once in a while.
Without the third your basic chord is incomplete. And while you can get away with it at times, in the ii-chord it is essential.
Powerchords are for lazy guitarists. There is always a better solution. Maybe not as easy to play for beginners...

People accept different kinds of dissonance (like paralel fifths) because they got used to it, just as you get used to the smell of car exhaust in the city and the taste of burgers at McDonald's. And while I don't mind a burger once in a while, I'll take a Christmas dinner over it any time, thank you very much.

with answers like these its hard to not accuse you of being an elitist. power chords are for lazy guitarists? tell that to dave mustaine, marty friedman, paul gilbert and a million other apparently lazy guitarists. you aim to play for everyone? not everyone does that. anyways onto the actual question....

to the TS - harmony is just that. without going into too much analysis, the ii chord of the key of d minor is an E diminished which would contain the notes E, G, Bb. the E + Bb combination should sound good as long as you continue going into another chord. such as E diim to D min or E dim to F. theres an underlying harmony in the movement between chords. the E dim might sound off to your ears until you finish the song (or at least write out the chord that comes after)

IF you've written out the whole piece and the only thing that doesn't seem to fit is the E dim then thats usually an easy fix. find the chords before and after it, find the notes in those chords and use some basic harmony and process of deduction to find out the chord that needs to fill in the blank.

and use 5ths if you want to
#11
Quote by Withakay

Powerchords are for lazy guitarists. There is always a better solution. Maybe not as easy to play for beginners...

WHAAAAAT!? Geez this is news to me, I seriously need to reconsider my work ethic.
But seriously not every player or song calls for Freddie Green chords. Plenty of music sounds fine with or even requires powerchords.
Also harmonizing fifths isn't that uncommon at all, it can sound really neat, especially if the harmony line alternates what chord tones it uses.
#12
Quote by Withakay
People accept different kinds of dissonance (like paralel fifths) because they got used to it, just as you get used to the smell of car exhaust in the city and the taste of burgers at McDonald's. And while I don't mind a burger once in a while, I'll take a Christmas dinner over it any time, thank you very much.


A Parallel fifth is not a form of dissonance. Do you even know what a parallel fifth is? It's when a chord with a fifth above it is followed by another chord with the fifth being above it in exactly the same place. That's not dissonant. Dissonance is things like appoggiaturas, suspensions & clashing notes.
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#13
Quote by Withakay
You see, in D minor, E and Bb are part of the second chord (ii). So, why do they clash? Well, to create the correct feel of ii you need to add the G. Maybe have the bass play the E and both guitars play a G and a Bb and the singer sing a high E. This would get you the classic ii-chord, which would sound great followed by the V-chord (bass plays A a fifth above the E, guitar 1 plays E a third below the G, guitar 2 plays A a second below the Bb and the singer sings C# a third below the E. That way there is a fourth between your guitars in your V where there was a third in the previous chord.


No, it's because chord ii is a diminished chord which has a flattened fifth! He was talking about harmonizing fifths. Adding the third isn't going to make it sound any less dissonant.
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#14
Quote by z4twenny
with answers like these its hard to not accuse you of being an elitist. power chords are for lazy guitarists? tell that to dave mustaine, marty friedman, paul gilbert and a million other apparently lazy guitarists.
I guess I had that coming. Let me explain. I am lazy in many things. I don't see it as a negative quality. There are things I couldn't be bothered spending much energy and thought to.

Paralel fifths (as in successive power chords) to me are a missed potential. By changing just one little finger, you can avoid the paralel fifth. It's not as easy as sliding your entire hand up a few frets. But it causes a subtle improvement that fills the same role as the power chord. Only better.

I agree that most people won't even hear the difference, especially if played by a drunk stoner who's tech forgot to tune the instrument, and covered by the muddy sound of a way too loud bass. But when it comes out, it separates the average from the superb. And all that is required is to change a few notes.

Now, I'm not much of a guitarist myself. I would never reach you guys' level, let alone rock legends' as Mustaine and Friedman. But what annoys me is the missed potential.

I hate excuses the like of "Oh, it's only rock. People are used to paralel fifths. Nobody cares whether the PA guy balanced the sound right. And so what if the guitar is out of tune.". Think about it, how hard is it to care for these matters? Do you have to be an elitist to demand the same quality as any mediocre classic ensemble would be deeply ashamed of not to reach?
you aim to play for everyone? not everyone does that.
Do people make deliberate little mistakes so that so-called elitists would go away? Or is it that they just think it isn't worth the energy?
to the TS - harmony is (...)
Despite our little quarrel, we seem to agree on the core of the issue. :-)
Quote by SKAtastic7770
But seriously not every player or song calls for Freddie Green chords. Plenty of music sounds fine with or even requires powerchords.
I am possitive, it does sound better. Even if you want the heavy support of power chords, it would sound better with the proper harmonies. At least to some people. And it would never make it worse.
Also harmonizing fifths isn't that uncommon at all, it can sound really neat, especially if the harmony line alternates what chord tones it uses.
Exactly. Where a fifth is called for, it serves a great purpose. But used wrongly, it causes trouble.
#15
Quote by Withakay
Without the third your basic chord is incomplete.
Without the third, it's just a fifth dyad. Sure it's not a triad, but it is a dyad. It doesn't just cease to exist.

Quote by Withakay
And while you can get away with it at times, in the ii-chord it is essential.
I beg to differ. Sure it's no longer a minor triad, but like I said, it still has its place. Perfect fifth dyads are used all the time (in fact, probably on the 2 in plenty of places).

Quote by Withakay
Powerchords are for lazy guitarists.
While this is the case in some situations, in others it's a completely absurd generalization. For example, the singer for my band came up with a song in which the piano plays the following progression: A5 D5 F#5 E5 D5. Now, the guitarists play some as triads later in the song, but the piano lays out the basic chord structure with only "power chords." Is it because she's lazy? No. It's because the piano part doesn't call for triads. In fact, triads would begin to sound too full in this case. The purpose of the song is to sound open and free. Besides, almost anyone makes them triads in their head, especially with what the melody/harmony and bass are doing. You hear the progression as A D F#m E D, even though the 3s aren't played explicitly as part of the chords.
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#16
Quote by Jiimmyyy
A Parallel fifth is not a form of dissonance.

(...)

No, it's because chord ii is a diminished chord which has a flattened fifth! He was talking about harmonizing fifths. Adding the third isn't going to make it sound any less dissonant.
You're right on both counts. I was arguing against harmonising stricktly in thirds and fifths.

Sorry for the mistakes.
#17
Quote by Withakay
I guess I had that coming. Let me explain. I am lazy in many things. I don't see it as a negative quality. There are things I couldn't be bothered spending much energy and thought to.

you miss the point entirely, its not lazy, its just a way of writing and presenting. 5/power chords can be used to imply harmony, present harmony, fill space between the bass and upper registers or the 5 can simply act as a "filler" to thicken the sound of the root note. in a musical context it can be used for a lot of things other than just being lazy.
Quote by Withakay

Paralel fifths (as in successive power chords) to me are a missed potential. By changing just one little finger, you can avoid the paralel fifth. It's not as easy as sliding your entire hand up a few frets. But it causes a subtle improvement that fills the same role as the power chord. Only better.I agree that most people won't even hear the difference, especially if played by a drunk stoner who's tech forgot to tune the instrument, and covered by the muddy sound of a way too loud bass. But when it comes out, it separates the average from the superb. And all that is required is to change a few notes.

Now, I'm not much of a guitarist myself. I would never reach you guys' level, let alone rock legends' as Mustaine and Friedman. But what annoys me is the missed potential.

I hate excuses the like of "Oh, it's only rock. People are used to paralel fifths. Nobody cares whether the PA guy balanced the sound right. And so what if the guitar is out of tune.". Think about it, how hard is it to care for these matters? Do you have to be an elitist to demand the same quality as any mediocre classic ensemble would be deeply ashamed of not to reach?
Do people make deliberate little mistakes so that so-called elitists would go away? Or is it that they just think it isn't worth the energy?
Despite our little quarrel, we seem to agree on the core of the issue. :-)
I am possitive, it does sound better. Even if you want the heavy support of power chords, it would sound better with the proper harmonies. At least to some people. And it would never make it worse.
Exactly. Where a fifth is called for, it serves a great purpose. But used wrongly, it causes trouble.


you seem to be missing, its subtle differences, not necessarily improvements. music is subjective, it might sound better to you or worse to someone else. i personally write my music with the "big picture" in mind so that even though there might be lots of powerchords theres a bit of music behind it. i think part of what you're missing is that artists shouldn't be told "you have to make it sound like this" as music is subjective you have to let the musician create the music they like and hear in their heads. i have lots of stuff that a bit dissonant (most of it not on here ) but it still sounds awesome to me
#18
For example, the singer for my band came up with a song in which the piano plays the following progression: A5 D5 F#5 E5 D5. Now, the guitarists play some as triads later in the song, but the piano lays out the basic chord structure with only "power chords." Is it because she's lazy? No. It's because the piano part doesn't call for triads. In fact, triads would begin to sound too full in this case. The purpose of the song is to sound open and free.
I'd love to hear this song.

Incidentally, I currenly study a piece by Debussy in which a whole passage has parallel octaves. Wrong you would think in classic harmony. Other than the fact that the piece is impressionistic, the parallel octaves can be overlooked because the rest of the score builds interesting chords. The octaves are just producing a fuller voice. In essence, creating stronger undertones.

Still, with fifths I wouldn't do it. I'm sure there must be a solution to avoid it (even if I'm probably not able to come up with one). If it's too subtle to cause troubles, maybe it's ok. But maybe it would have been enough just to play the bass notes or the root notes on the piano?

I don't know. I shouldn't have used the term lazy. I didn't mean it in the biblical sense.

Do you guys hate me now?
#19
Quote by Withakay
I'd love to hear this song.

Incidentally, I currenly study a piece by Debussy in which a whole passage has parallel octaves. Wrong you would think in classic harmony. Other than the fact that the piece is impressionistic, the parallel octaves can be overlooked because the rest of the score builds interesting chords. The octaves are just producing a fuller voice. In essence, creating stronger undertones.


Which is exactly what parallel 5ths does/power chords. If anything, parallel octaves should be MORE avoided than parallel 5ths since octaves are actually the same note and some people can't hear the two octaves playing at the same time.

Still, with fifths I wouldn't do it. I'm sure there must be a solution to avoid it (even if I'm probably not able to come up with one). If it's too subtle to cause troubles, maybe it's ok. But maybe it would have been enough just to play the bass notes or the root notes on the piano?

There almost always is a solution to avoid it... but why do those solutions if you don't want to or if it doesn't fit what you're hearing/want?

You have to remember though, guitars are built different and have a different timbre than any typical classical instrument. Especially with the added distortion. Sometimes if you add the 3rd the chord gets muddy, or it sounds funny, or any number of other things could happen.

Everything has a time and a place.

Do you guys hate me now?

No, I just really disagree with you
#20
Back to the original question - if you really want to get good at harmonizing, learn partwriting aka voice leading in basic theory courses. The reason is that you'll learn how to write 4 parts that go together with independent lines while still forming the right chords. This makes writing just two lines easy.

When I harmonize, I often do 3rds (or their inversion, 6ths), but frequently deviate and even improvise the alternate lines thanks to my education. I highly recommend this.
#21
Quote by Withakay
I'd love to hear this song.
We don't have it recorded, but we do have a song that implies a chord structure with just a bass-line that outlines the roots of the chords and a melody which implies the quality of each chord. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi4y8ALvxT8

Try to tell me that the chord progression is anything other than Am G Dm C.

Edit: The D chord is a bit ambiguous, I will admit. I think I play some F#s in there. Try to argue any of the others though.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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Last edited by food1010 at Sep 22, 2010,
#22
Twin guitar Harmony is much more depend on practice & sense of music rather any technical know how, because when you are able to play a guitar in sound manner it simply means you are learn enough technically to make it attractively produced what you need....
#23
Quote by raar78
Twin guitar Harmony is much more depend on practice & sense of music rather any technical know how, because when you are able to play a guitar in sound manner it simply means you are learn enough technically to make it attractively produced what you need....


That makes no sense. And your first statement is just backwards. Practice has nothing to do with it and technical know-how is everything.
#24
Quote by RandyEllefson
That makes no sense. And your first statement is just backwards. Practice has nothing to do with it and technical know-how is everything.


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#25
I find it more creative to use something else rather than just thirds, usually harmony in thirds with twists and turns where the harmonies change.
I just do whatever sounds good to me.
#26
It's hard to take back what I said about parallel fifths after such a rant, but I realise now I was wrong. I made a big mistake by never wondering why exactly the parallel fifth and octave are not allowed in modern harmony. Now I know this, I have to agree that in many cases there is no reason to avoid it, especially on guitar and piano.

I'm still not a big fan of powerchords, but it has nothing to do with dissonance I confused it with. So my apologies for the last few posts. And thanks for argumenting your cases.
Quote by food1010
We don't have it recorded, but we do have a song that implies a chord structure with just a bass-line that outlines the roots of the chords and a melody which implies the quality of each chord. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gi4y8ALvxT8
Very nice indeed. A very few of the bass notes I would try to change, but I can't tell you by ear what is wrong. Actually not wrong, but what would be better choices.

Are you guys rehearsing a written song or is this a jam session? I also checked out some of the other songs. Good stuff.
#27
Quote by Withakay
Are you guys rehearsing a written song or is this a jam session? I also checked out some of the other songs. Good stuff.
Thanks man, this is just a jam. Most of our stuff is still in the "jam" stage. We recently joined up with our drummer's sister (vocalist) and her keyboard player, and she is a lot better at writing "songs" than we are, haha. We basically just write jams.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
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#28
Back to the original question - "But i've hit a slight snag, using d minor, e clashes with a# but fits with b which is'nt in the scale, so whats the standard procedure with this?"

The answer is what I said in the first place. The reason is because it's a flattened fifth, as adding a fifth from the second note of a minor scale comes from a diminished chord. Diminished chords have flattened fifths, & this is why it doesn't sound right. You can solve this by raising the fifth one semitone, to a B, which makes it a perfect fifth, & will sounds much more pleasant. It's as simple as that.
Rock [James] Roll