#1
Hello, as said in the title I have a question/topic for discussion regarding what options one has for harmonizing two guitars as so many Metal bands have done (e.g. Iron Maiden). The most obvious, and aesthetically pleasing in my opinion, is to have to have one guitar play 3rds, 5ths, or an octave higher, relative to the guitar playing the standard lead. I have been curious how it sounds to try to harmonize with 2nds, 4ths, 6ths, and 7ths. I have experimented with this idea and I have not been able to come up with anything that I thought was worth a damn, so I thought I would ask if anyone could refer me to something or someone that has produced good sounding harmonies outside of the 3rds, 5ths, and 8ths. Anyone?
#2
Start thinking about harmonies as separate lines both hitting chords tones, rather than two guitar lines moving in parallel motion.

Harmonizing in completely parallel intervals isn't going to sound good if it's not something like 3rd/8va...but when you have other intervals that make sense against the chord moving in the right ways...you can get some cool sounds.

Have you ever done 4 part writing? Studied counterpoint? Look up a bach piece and analyze the chords in 4 bars. Look at how the melodies are harmonizing each other.
Last edited by chronowarp at Feb 26, 2012,
#3
Define "good" sounding... There's a lot of harmonization of more dissonant intervals but it won't sound "good" in the sense of being harmonically easy on the ears and it likely won't appear in any sort of popular music. Dissonance used sparingly against consonance can sound great though.
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#4
Quote by Artemis Entreri
Define "good" sounding... There's a lot of harmonization of more dissonant intervals but it won't sound "good" in the sense of being harmonically easy on the ears and it likely won't appear in any sort of popular music. Dissonance used sparingly against consonance can sound great though.

There's nothing wrong with harmonizing with dissonant intervals. I'm talking purely parallel motion with intervals besides 3/8va...you think playing a line harmonized in parallel 2nds is a "good" sound? Meh...

Stick with basic counterpoint rules and you'll most likely end up with something you like. And if he's playing metal/rock and trying to do harmonized guitars...that approach is going to land him in the right place.
#5
What has worked for me so far (besides the usual thirds and fifths) is taking the notes that make the melody and then making a chord progression using them as roots. When you get a chord progression that you're satisfied with, have the one guitar still play the roots while the other guitar plays the other notes of the chords. This can be used to make even triple or quadruple harmonies, but that would be unfeasible live, and pretty would get pretty messy during the recording.
Besides that, I had some success with fourths but only on few occasions.
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#6
Quote by chronowarp
There's nothing wrong with harmonizing with dissonant intervals. I'm talking purely parallel motion with intervals besides 3/8va...you think playing a line harmonized in parallel 2nds is a "good" sound? Meh...

Stick with basic counterpoint rules and you'll most likely end up with something you like. And if he's playing metal/rock and trying to do harmonized guitars...that approach is going to land him in the right place.



What? Why are you directing this at me? I didn't say anything like that. He was asking about other harmonizations however.
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#7
Quote by Artemis Entreri
What? Why are you directing this at me? I didn't say anything like that. He was asking about other harmonizations however.

I thought you were responding to me, my bad.
#8
Quote by Artemis Entreri
Define "good" sounding... There's a lot of harmonization of more dissonant intervals but it won't sound "good" in the sense of being harmonically easy on the ears and it likely won't appear in any sort of popular music. Dissonance used sparingly against consonance can sound great though.


Must I define "good sounding"? I assumed that it would be a given that such a statement is simply referring to what one finds pleasing to the ear. This will obviously differ for everyone and it very well may include dissonance.
#9
Quote by Jackelton
Must I define "good sounding"? I assumed that it would be a given that such a statement is simply referring to what one finds pleasing to the ear. This will obviously differ for everyone and it very well may include dissonance.


I mean, what sounds good to you? I think Milton Babbit sounds good but the general public hates him. I meant define what sounds good to you.
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#10
Ah. I think it would be too difficult to define what I find good sounding, since my tastes are quite varied. I am more interested in what uncommon guitar harmonies those that reply to this post find good sounding.
#11
I think chronowarp has the right idea. If you knew what scale or key you're using, then you could have both parts using that same scale (with the same basic motion), but starting on different notes.

You could then adjust this so that both lines fit the chord tones when they need to. I'm not sure anything like "constant major thirds" or "constant perfect fifths" would sound as interesting as having both lines fit the chords and key, even if that means the interval you're using changes every now and then.