#1
Hi everyone,

I've been reading about harmony for the past couple of days. Unfortunately, this has caused some confusion. I decided to learn more about it after learning (here on UG) that the Foo Fighters use this in a lot of their guitar parts. Since they're one of my favorite bands, I decided to emulate their techniques in the piece I'm writing. Anyway on to my question.

In the song My Hero by the Foo Fighters, there are harmonizing octaves- I'm trying to find out what types of harmonization are being used. For reference, my source indicated that the song is in the key of E major. It has the notes E, F#, G#, A, B C#, and D#. Guitar one is playing F#-G#-D#. Guitar two is playing D#-E-B. All chords are octaves rooted on the A string. I understand that, using a C note in C major, harmonizing thirds would be C and E. For some reason though, I'm not grasping harmonization of non-tonic notes. For the first pair of octaves, if I'm harmonizing F# to D# (starting on F# and going from left to right) this would be harmonizing 6ths. However, if I'm harmonizing D# to F# (again using the scale as shown above and again going left to right), this would be harmonizing 3rds. How do I know which note to use as my "starting point". Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Jake
#2
The tonic doesn't affect those two voices. F# to D# is a minor 3rd or a Major6th.

That interval is a major third. It's three semitones. Three semitones is always a minor third.
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#3
It is traditional to name intervals starting from the lower note. It should also be noted that intervals as a concept are more basic than scales. Any 2 notes will form a particular interval regardless of the scale. So for instance, C to E will always be a major third whether you're playing in C major or G major or whatever. Also you may wanna study up on inverting intervals, because that's what you're seeing when you flip the 2 notes. When you invert an interval 2nds become 7ths, 3rds become 6ths. & 4ths become 5ths.
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#4
Interval is absolute distance between two notes, so it doesn't matter which direction.

You're getting intervals confused with scale degree and chord tone, which are named for function relative to the tonic or root. The 3rd of a chord or scale is the 3rd no matter how many octaves it is above the root.

Example: You can have a chord spelled A E C#, where the C# is more than an octave above the A. The interval between the A and C#, then, is a 10th (octave+major 3rd), but it's still the 3rd of the chord.
#5
Quote by J-Dawg158
It is traditional to name intervals starting from the lower note. It should also be noted that intervals as a concept are more basic than scales. Any 2 notes will form a particular interval regardless of the scale. So for instance, C to E will always be a major third whether you're playing in C major or G major or whatever. Also you may wanna study up on inverting intervals, because that's what you're seeing when you flip the 2 notes. When you invert an interval 2nds become 7ths, 3rds become 6ths. & 4ths become 5ths.


Thanks for the excellent response! It definitely cleared up a few things for me. Just out of curiosity, though, in what situations would inverted intervals be used by a musician/composer rather than non-inverted intervals?
#6
Inverting intervals isn't exactly a technique or anything like that, although I suppose you could use it. It's really just an observation about the nature of intervals. I know it's a very big part of counterpoint, but I'm not very well versed on that topic so if you're interested in that I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will chime in.
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#7
Inverting means moving one of the notes octave (or multiple octaves) so it's on the "other side" of the other note. If you're harmonizing a part on a C chord, you could fill in the chords with E and G. But if that 3rd between E and G sounds too tight, you could move the E up and octave so the interval is a 6th, G and E.


Inversion refers mostly to chords, where it means moving a non-root tone to the bass. C major - C E G - is respelled as E G C in inversion (lowest to highest). Another inversion is G C E.