#1
So I'm recently starting to experiment a bit with guitar harmonies (almost always in 3rds) but I have to ask, is the same process of harmonising notes the same for their respective flat/sharps? For example harmonies of D in 3rds would be:

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


So D harmonises in to F and G (the 3rd interval, basic theory knowledge even for me) but my question is what if the notes are sharp or flat? For example what happens if the note I hit is Ab? Would it be B (Ab > A-Bb-B)? What is the 3rd interval for that note? And for any sharp or flat note for that matter (hell, there's only 5 of 'em).

Any help would be appreciated thanks in advance!

EDIT: I'm a dumbass
Last edited by DarkShot08 at Jul 25, 2013,
#2
Well, you're thinking about it wrong, for a start. D harmonised with A would be a perfect fifth, and with G it would be a perfect fourth, so there are no third there. More to the point, I'd only really say 'thirds' if you are playing in a key, for example, if you're in D Minor, and harmonising the note D in thirds, it'd be assumed that you were playing F over a D, and if you're in D Major, it'd be assumed that you'd be playing F# over D. Rather than think of it as 'What note can harmonise with this one', find your key, and harmonising will be so much easier, as you'll just need to find the third of your current note, which is two notes away.
#3
Oh god yes sorry I put the notes in the wrong order -_- what I meant to put on that bottom line is F G A B C D E F. I think I kind of understand what you mean, but I'll give an example of the area I'm struggling

e|-5--6--8---------------


I found the best sounding harmony for the note on the 5th fret (A) is on the 10th fret which is a D, so therefore 3 intervals (A B>C>D) but for the 6th fret I can't figure it out? Sharps and flats are where I'm lost with harmonies and simply staying in key doesn't seem to help me too much? I'm a bit of a theory noobie :P
#4
Yea, those are all perfect fifths. Look up some lessons on intervals. That will help you a lot probably. If you had D to Ab instead of D to A, that's a diminished 5th.


A to D is a perfect fourth.


Think in semitones, not notes. The 6th fret on the e string is an A# and your last harmony was a perfect fourth. You could move your top voice to a D# to keep the fourth or move to an E# to make a fifth. If you want a major or minor feel, you could move down to C# for a minor third or a Cx (double sharp) for a major third.
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Last edited by BladeSlinger at Jul 25, 2013,
#5
Yes sorry it was just a simple mis typing on my part but I still don't understand how D to G is a 4th? Isn't it D then E F G (the 3rd note after D)?

Unless I'm thinking of it wrong, in that case it would be D E F or B C D? Is that right?
Last edited by DarkShot08 at Jul 25, 2013,
#6
Quote by DarkShot08
Yes sorry it was just a simple mis typing on my part but I still don't understand how D to G is a 4th? Isn't it D then E F G (the 3rd note after D)?

Unless I'm thinking of it wrong, in that case it would be D E F or B C D? Is that right?

D E F G
1 2 3 4



If you're getting into harmony, learn how to build some basic chords and learn intervals a little. It will makes this much more simple.
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Last edited by BladeSlinger at Jul 25, 2013,
#7
Do it the layman's way and start counting out the intervals.

Using your example of minor 3rds: the 6th fret on E is an A#.
A# to B is a minor 2nd.
A# to C is a major 2nd.
A# to C# is a minor 3rd.

To be verbose on the A and D thing:
A to A# is a minor 2nd.
A to B is a major 2nd.
A to C is a minor 3rd.
A to C# is a major 3rd.
A to D is a perfect 4th.
#8
Oh god no it's my fault I didn't know you count the D as an 'interval' so to speak, for example I thought:

D E F G
- 1 2 3


instead of

D E F G
1 2 3 4


It's just a silly mistake of mine now I understand! Maybe that was the problem that I Was harmonising in 4ths rather than 3rds

If anyone can recommend a good in depth 'tutorial' on harmonies It'd be greatly appreciated!
Last edited by DarkShot08 at Jul 25, 2013,
#9
What do the numbers denote? I think it's easier if you think about it as "X note to Y note is a <interval>" than counting out each note as a successive number, because there's still all the accidentals that you have to take into account.

Edit: From D to G, counting out is fine, but if we do it from F to B (which is also 4 notes apart):

F to F# is a minor 2nd.
F to G is a major 2nd.
F to G# is a minor 3rd.
F to A is a major 3rd.
F to A# is a perfect 4th.
F to B is a diminished/flat 5th or augmented 4th.

Hope I'm not getting the intervals wrong. Haven't had practice since forever.

Edit: I'm not sure what you mean by "harmonies", because harmony theory is quite a different thing AFAIK, but you can get started with intervals here: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/the_guide_to/the_ultimate_guide_to_guitar_chapter_ii_1_scales_-_diatonic_scales_in_theory.html. You just need the section on intervals.
Last edited by triface at Jul 25, 2013,
#10
Okay well now that I understand it a little better than what I used to I still don't understand how A# to B is a Minor 2nd and a A# to C is a Major 2nd I need a tutorial
#11
Quote by DarkShot08
Oh god no it's my fault I didn't know you count the D as an 'interval' so to speak, for example I thought:

D E F G
- 1 2 3


instead of

D E F G
1 2 3 4


It's just a silly mistake of mine now I understand! Maybe that was the problem that I Was harmonising in 4ths rather than 3rds

If anyone can recommend a good in depth 'tutorial' on harmonies It'd be greatly appreciated!

Just google interval lessons or how to build triads. Musician Talk may have some good stuff.

1 has to be an interval so you can have a unison. But I see your way of thinking. I had the same problem for a while. That's exactly why you had thirds instead of fourths. Now play your melody with thirds and you'll see why I was confused when I first read your post. Fourths and fifths are your most common intervals for two voice harmony, especially with guitar.


What triface just illustrated is a perfect example of where knowing how intervals work will benefit you. Someone can do guess work and come out with some good stuff. But if you know how everything works then you're always ready.
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Last edited by BladeSlinger at Jul 25, 2013,
#12
OKAY. So I stuck my head in to some articles, tutorials and friends with more theory knowledge than me and I understand use of harmonies on standard notes (A B C D E F G) however I still do not understand how to harmonise their flat/sharp counterparts. For example I am trying to harmonise this in 3rds;

e|-----------------------------
B|-------------------2-3-------
G|--2-3-5-----2-3-5------------
D|--------3-5------------------
A|-----------------------------
E|-----------------------------

e|-----------------------------
B|-----------------------C#-D--
G|--A-a#-C-------A-a#-C--------
D|----------F-G----------------
A|-----------------------------
E|-----------------------------


Obviously, it's easy to harmonise the standard notes (those that are not sharp) but what about the a#? Would the harmony of that be c# (A > C)? And then what about the C#? I have no idea

Sorry if this all sounds a bit noobish but guitar harmonies and such (As you probably guessed) are kind of new to me so any tutorials recommendations will be appreciated
Last edited by DarkShot08 at Jul 26, 2013,
#13
The problem I see is that you seem to be trying to harmonize thirds paralleled, in other words you're just moving the original up 3 or 4 frets & playing it the same which is not how thirds are normally used. There are 2 types of thirds, major & minor & normally you use both of them to harmonize thirds.

In order to do that you have to use a scale for your key. Judging from your last example I would say that A# should really be a Bb & the C# is gonna just be an accidental (because it doesn't fit the F major scale which I'm just kind of assuming from the notes.). Anyway, to do harmony in thirds for F major just do like you did earlier & write the scale out then write it again under it shifted two letters like so:

F - G - A - Bb - C - D - E
A - Bb - C - D - E - F - G


So when you're melody uses a F your harmony should use an A which is a major third(four frets different), but when your melody uses a G then your harmony should use a Bb which is a minor third(three frets different.

That's how thirds are typically used to harmonize. But hey of you change a note & like the way it sounds then use it & don't worry that you didn't use the note you technically "should" have used.

So using that try to write out your harmony part & for the C# just try either holding the E on the harmony or moving to an F & hold it over for the D in the melody & see which way you like better.
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