#1
Hey all. this is basically my first post here asking for help, so i'll try and make it as clear as possible.

I'm writing a guitar\piano duet for me and my friend to learn and play together. So far I have a blend where it switches between me playing the chords and him playing the melody, and vice versa.

I wanted to add some harmony parts for some of the melody passages, to add drama.

But I'm having trouble figuring out how to harmonize it.


I have some basic theory knowledge. for example, the song is in the key of E minor, and the chord progression (right now) is Em, G, D, C.

where my theory comes to a dead end is how to harmonize.

See I understand that harmonizing is just dividing a melody into playing something higher and something lower to create the effect in between that you want (in layman's terms I guess) But I'm not sure the rules.

Do all of the notes have to be in the same scale?


For example.. the melody goes like this on guitar

g------------------2-5~-
d----------2-4-5--------
a--2-3-5---------------
e------------------------

Which is in the e minor scale.. and I want the harmony to be minor thirds (I Think, that would sound good, right?
So what exactly do I do. just play the same thing on the piano but 2 frets up? (which would create a lot of out of key notes) --- edit. tried that, sounds AWFUL. what the heck..

Thanks in advance
Last edited by trashbeast at Feb 27, 2008,
#2
take the third of whatever note you are playing.

edit:

b------------------1-5~-
g----------0-2-4--------
d--0-2-3---------------
a------------------------

thats the harmony of what you've wirtten there.
Last edited by Devil In Jersey at Feb 27, 2008,
#3
Quote by Devil In Jersey
take the third of whatever note you are playing.


I just tried that and it sounds absolutely horrid. any idea why? maybe i'm just playing the wrong interval.
Last edited by trashbeast at Feb 27, 2008,
#5
Quote by trashbeast
I just tried that and it sounds absolutely horrid. any idea why? maybe i'm just playing the wrong interval.


the interval is a third.
#6
Quote by Devil In Jersey
the interval is a third.



Wait, i'm sorry, where are you getting that from?

a "third" is also known as a major third, right?

I know I said I was going to try minor third, but it sounded really bad. I tried major third, it also sounded bad.

So when you're saying harmonize with a third, that means take each note in the melody, and make a second melody, each note being a third up from it's original note? i'm not getting good results doing that. maybe i don't understand the harmonizing thing at all.
#9
Quote by GoDrex
You can do a third, but make sure you stay within the same scale - - otherwise it will sound weird. You want to keep the major and minor tonality happening. I'd also recommend trying it an octave higher.


isn't that somewhat impossible?

and yes, i'm writing it in guitar pro
#10
no it's not impossible at all.

if you start from each note in your melody and go up a third from each, IN THE SCALE - you will automatically create major and minor 3rds. This is the same way that chords are built from a scale.

If you don't believe me, listen to some my on my myspace page - I record harmony lines all the time.
#11
Quote by trashbeast
Wait, i'm sorry, where are you getting that from?

a "third" is also known as a major third, right?

I know I said I was going to try minor third, but it sounded really bad. I tried major third, it also sounded bad.

So when you're saying harmonize with a third, that means take each note in the melody, and make a second melody, each note being a third up from it's original note? i'm not getting good results doing that. maybe i don't understand the harmonizing thing at all.



Some notes will require a minor 3rd to harmonize correctly, others will require a major 3rd. It just depends on the scale. For simple harmony like the one you're trying, all of the notes will be in the same scale (diatonic).

Think of it this way - within the scale, start from your original (melody) note and move up two notes (it will either be halfstep+wholestep, wholestep+halfstep, or two wholesteps. Whatever you land on will be the 3rd that you want to play, whether or not it happens to be major/minor with respect to the original (melody) note.

That was either the most clarivoyant explanation I've ever made, or horribly confusing. If it was the latter, please disregard.
#12
here's an example using the notes in the tab you posted:
Of course I don't know the rhythm of it...

Melody line

harmony line - 3rds an octave up

both parts combined


of course this isn't the only way to do it. You can use 7ths or 5ths, 4ths or octaves and combinations. Whatever sounds good to you. You can have a line going down while another goes up. You can change direction. You can get very complex if you want to. I just did a simple harmony that stays in the key and goes in the same direction. It would sound nice with a higher octave on top of it too.
#13
Quote by GoDrex
here's an example using the notes in the tab you posted:
Of course I don't know the rhythm of it...

Melody line

harmony line - 3rds an octave up

both parts combined


of course this isn't the only way to do it. You can use 7ths or 5ths, 4ths or octaves and combinations. Whatever sounds good to you. You can have a line going down while another goes up. You can change direction. You can get very complex if you want to. I just did a simple harmony that stays in the key and goes in the same direction. It would sound nice with a higher octave on top of it too.


sounds good man. the octave thing really helps it sound better, yeah.. thanks I think i understand it better now. but not completely.
#14
Quote by GoDrex
here's an example using the notes in the tab you posted:
Of course I don't know the rhythm of it...

Melody line

harmony line - 3rds an octave up

both parts combined


of course this isn't the only way to do it. You can use 7ths or 5ths, 4ths or octaves and combinations. Whatever sounds good to you. You can have a line going down while another goes up. You can change direction. You can get very complex if you want to. I just did a simple harmony that stays in the key and goes in the same direction. It would sound nice with a higher octave on top of it too.



that is basically what I wrote an octave higher, right?
sounds good.
#16
Quote by Devil In Jersey
that is basically what I wrote an octave higher, right?
sounds good.


what you wrote isn't exact the same as what I'm playing (an octave higher)

thirds in the scale would look like this:

b------------------1-5~-
g----------0-2-4--------
d--0-2-4---------------
a------------------------

you only had that one note off. That 3 (F) isn't a part of the E minor scale. Other than that it's the same.
#18
Well, I kind of use 3rds, 4th, 5ths, and sometimes octaves for harmonies. I mostly use 3rd since it is easier. So when I play a C I then play a higher E for the harmonized riff. He is a quick comparison chart:
C to E
C# to F
D to F#
D# to G
E to G#
F to A
F# to A#
G to B
G# to C
A to C#
A# to D
B to D#

I don't know if I am 100% right since I don't know a lot about theory and stuff, but this seems to work for me. Hope it clears a little bit up for ya.
#19
^Some of those need to be written with enharmonic tones. For instance, C#-->F should be written with an E#. Additionally, diatonic third harmony is more common that straight major third harmony, as diatonic thirds will all fit into the key. However, straight thirds may be the way to go in some cases.
#21
Quote by fedora bora
Well, I kind of use 3rds, 4th, 5ths, and sometimes octaves for harmonies. I mostly use 3rd since it is easier. So when I play a C I then play a higher E for the harmonized riff. He is a quick comparison chart:
C to E
C# to F
D to F#
D# to G
E to G#
F to A
F# to A#
G to B
G# to C
A to C#
A# to D
B to D#

I don't know if I am 100% right since I don't know a lot about theory and stuff, but this seems to work for me. Hope it clears a little bit up for ya.


those are all just major thirds - -this is like what and old harmonizer that isn't aware of keys would do for you. That's not what I am talking about. I'm talking about playing 3rds inside of a scale, so you end up with major and minor 3rds - the way you would create major or minor chords based on what note in the scale you're playing

C major scale

C D E F G A B C

C = Major chord
D = minor chord
E = minor
F = Major
G = Major
A = minor
B = diminished (minor third, flat 5th)

so... the 3rds would look like this:

C -> E - major 3rd
D -> F - minor 3rd
E -> G - minor 3rd
F -> A - major 3rd
G -> B - major 3rd
A -> C - minor 3rd
B -> D - minor 3rd

But if you switch keys, the 3rds change. G major or E minor is very close to C major, but it has a F# instead of the F

So it's 3rds look like this:

G -> B - major 3rd
A -> C - minor 3rd
B -> D - minor 3rd
C -> E - major 3rd
D -> F# major 3rd
E -> G minor 3rd
F# -> A -> minor 3rd
Last edited by GoDrex at Feb 27, 2008,
#22
Quote by GoDrex
It's not C, it's E minor
It could be C Lydian, but it depends on the context. If the last note rings out, it is likely played over a C chord, so C Lydian is an acceptable choice.