Advanced Harmonizing For 2 Guitars

This lesson covers harmonizing on an advanced level. It covers harmonizing tapping and sweep arpeggios, harmonizing chromatic and changing harmonic intervals in a duet. Learn to play harmonies like Avenged Sevenfold and Trivium.

17
This lesson is for guitarists who want to bring their harmony playing to the next level. A knowledge of harmony is assumed already, however, we'll get started with a bit of a crash course. In a scale there are 7 degrees in an octave. In Dm theses degrees are:
DROOT
E2
F3
G4
A5
Bb6
C7
The most common harmonic intervals are:
Thirds
ex:
DF
BbD
GBb
 
Fifths
ex:
DA
GD
CG
 
Fourths
ex:
DG
AD
GC
 
Sixths
ex:
DBb
AF
BbG
The reason that I listed them in that order is that in thirds and fifths, the note on the left(the lower note) is the tonic note, the note that lends its sound the most when the two notes are sounded together. When harmonizing in fourths, however, the note on the right(the higher note) lends its sound more. Sixths are interesting tools to add to your harmonic arsenal, but unlike fifths and thirds, sixths do not resolve (similar to fourths), meaning that it will have an unfinished sound, much like a leading note. Keeping all of this in mind is important for the next section of the lesson. Harmonizing a melody. When you have a melody that you want to harmonize without changing the sound, you will most likely want to use thirds and fifths and stay away from fourths. The reason being, if you stick to using only third or using only fifths, your harmony will be boring and pretty generic. But, if you use fourths, your melody will be altered because harmonizing in fourths inverts the tonic note, and depending on what chords you are using, will not sound very good. So, here is an example of a melody and its corresponding harmony:
gt. 1
e|---------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------|
G|-7~-------5-7~--------5----------------------|
D|----5-7-8------5-7-8----5~-3-2---------------|
A|-------------------------------3-5-5ZYABLA~HUYABLA-------|
E|---------------------------------------------|
 
gt.2
e|---------------------------------------------|
B|-6~-------5-6~--------8-5~-------------------|
G|------5-7------7-9-10------------------------|
D|----8----------------------7-5---------------|
A|-------------------------------7-8-8ZYABLA~HUYABLA-------|
E|---------------------------------------------|
 
   3  3 3 3 3 3  5 5 5  5 6  3 3 3 3 3 <---intervals
Notice how the sixth being thrown in there adds that extra flavor without drastically changing the basic melody. That extra flavor is what makes changing intervals while harmonizing so interesting. Harmonizing in Sixths I used a sixth in the example above. A sixth is an inverted third. Meaning, you take a third, say, D and F, and you invert the higher note and make it the lower note. Here is an example:
e|------------------10--10---------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------|
G|----10---10----10-----10---------------------|
D|-12------12----------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------|
   D  F    3rd   F  D   6th
Remember that sixths have an "'unresolved' sound" when writing your melody lines and use it to your advantage. For instance, since it yearns for resolution, it would sound good before a root harmonized with a third to ease the tension. For example:
gt.1
e|---------------------------------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------|
G|-10----------------10------------------------|
D|----14-12-10-12-14----12-10-12~--------------|
A|---------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------|
 
gt.2
e|-10----------------10------------------------|
B|----13-11-10-11-13----11-10------------------|
G|----------------------------10~--------------|
D|---------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------|
   6  6  6  6  6  6  6  6  6  3
Notice how the 3rds make it sound like it is complete or at rest. Harmonizing Chromatics Harmony follows rules set according to diatonic scales. The chromatic scale, however, is not diatonic. That doesn't mean that it can't be harmonized though. Here is an example of harmonized chromatics:
gt.1
e|-22-21-20-19-------------------------------------|
B|-------------22-21-20-19-------------------------|
G|-------------------------22-21-20-19-------------|
D|-------------------------------------22-21-20-19-|
A|-------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------|
 
gt.2
e|-15-14-13-12-------------------------------------|
B|-------------15-14-13-12-------------------------|
G|-------------------------15-14-13-12-------------|
D|-------------------------------------15-14-13-12-|
A|-------------------------------------------------|
E|-------------------------------------------------|
   gt.1 plays a perfect fifth higher than gt.2
This example is from Avenged Sevenfold's Beast and the Harlot In any diatonic scale, a root note of the scale a perfect fourth is 5 frets away and a perfect fifth is 7 frets away. Since fourths and fifths are both intervals that harmonize, a chromatic scale can be harmonized by playing a perfect fourth or perfect fifth away. Harmonizing Arpeggios Harmonizing arpeggios follow rules similar to the rules of diatonic harmony. The difference, however, is when harmonizing arps, you must stay within the chord. That means using inversions. Inversions are the same as playing the same chord in a different place on the fretboard. For simplicity, we will use triads from the Dm scale. Dm triad inversions
e|-----5--------10--------13---------------------|
B|---6-------10--------15------------------------|
G|-7------10--------14---------------------------|
   D F A  F  A  D   A  D  F
Notice how all the notes are the same, but in different order. That's exactly what and inversion is. Now that we know what an inversion is, let's apply that to our harmonizing. We will take a sweep arpeggio and add a harmony to it using inversions.
gt.1
e|-17-13----------------13-17------------------|
B|-------15----------15------------------------|
G|----------14----14---------------------------|
D|-------------15------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------|
   A  F  D  A  F  A  D  F  A
 
gt.2
e|-13-10----------------10-13------------------|
B|-------10----------10------------------------|
G|----------10----10---------------------------|
D|-------------12------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------|
   F  D  A  F  D  F  A  D  A
   3  3  4  3  3  3  4  3  3
Note that the example contains the same notes in different order, much like the inversion of a 3rd to make a 6th. The rule of inversions can also be applied to tapping riffs and licks.
gt.1
   L   R         L   R (L means tap with left hand)
e|-h22-p17p13h17-h22-p17p13s10-----------------|
B|---------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------|
   D    A  F  A   D   A  F  D
gt.2

e|-h17-p13p10h13-h17-p13p10s5------------------|
B|---------------------------------------------|
G|---------------------------------------------|
D|---------------------------------------------|
A|---------------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------------|
    A   F  D  F   A   F  D  A
Any style of harmonizing arpeggios follows the same rule: Stay within the Chord. Conclusion Now with all of these ways to harmonize at your disposal, you can go ahead and get together with another guitarist, or record yourself playing one part and then rerecord yourself playing the second part, and get harmonized! I hope this lesson was helpful. Please message me if you have any questions. Also, here is a list of solos to learn that have great harmonies written within them. Learn them and apply the techniques you learned here to your write your own, original harmonies. -A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation (Trivium) -Bat Country (Avenged Sevenfold) -Mr. Crowley (Ozzy Ozbourne)

21 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    krypticguitar87
    I feel that this has been your best lesson yet (at least of the ones I've read). glad to see that you are proof reading, and being more comprehensive. keep up the good work man!
    Ben2908
    Check out my band!!! www.myspace.com/october.cr​isis www.facebook.com/octobercr​isis
    Pilao
    THANK YOU BROOOOOWWWWW You dont know how much you helped me now =)
    suddhachittabtl
    Nice. But I would also suggest those intrstd to check out Black Star by Malmsteen for parallel motion harmonizing, it's pretty simple stuff but in the harmonic minor scale so sounds really mysterious. And if you can read staff notation and can listen to classical music look into Bach's contrapunct inventions and simfionas, the invention no 9 in F minor is my favourite.
    Woffelz
    Read the comment above Ben's ^. Oh wait - you can't. Good lesson though!
    AeolianWolf
    good lesson. but why are people under the impression that you always have to use parallel harmony? i haven't heard any good examples of tasteful harmonization - everything is always just parallel thirds, fifths, sixths, etc. also, you say sixths don't resolve. not true - who says you can't have the third of the chord at the end of the bottom voice? you'll likely have a bass below that, so it won't even necessarily be in inversion. other than that, great lesson.
    firewind420
    really helpful lesson, especially the part on harmonizing arps (i had good knowledge of inversions already but knowing how to use them in harmony is something ive never had ease with now im def gonna try it out) thanks!
    M15T3RJACK
    if you know a thing or two about species counterpoint (or just counterpoint in general), and you made a basic lesson about harmonization using things like contrary/similar/oblique motion in addition to parallel motion, it'd be a hit.
    OKAY.... Just started working on it... The concept is simple enough once you get it, but trying to explain it in a simple, condensed manner is gonna take some time. I'll get it done though, that's for sure! I might post it here on UG or I might post it on myguitarworkshop.com; I'm not sure yet. Just keep checking back here; I'll post a link when I am done.
    LeoKisomma
    Thanks for the lesson man, this was a big help to me. I already know about the diatonics and most aspects of lead playing, but your view of harmonizing is nothing short of a beautiful breath of fresh air to me. Nice one mate!
    M15T3RJACK
    sadly, i do not know anything about counterpoint lead, but i will look into it. (I have heard the term in a Protest the Hero lesson, I will see what i can find.)
    AeolianWolf
    M15T3RJACK wrote: That was one of the main focuses of my lesson. I've noticed that the parallel harmonies are WAY to popular in the lessons. Thanks for pointing that out.
    i tell you, man - if you know a thing or two about species counterpoint (or just counterpoint in general), and you made a basic lesson about harmonization using things like contrary/similar/oblique motion in addition to parallel motion, it'd be a hit. i'd do it, but i'm actually far too lazy.
    slowlybilly
    Freaking great lesson man...I knew most of this, but you explained it so well, and it is important information....10.
    M15T3RJACK
    AeolianWolf wrote: good lesson. but why are people under the impression that you always have to use parallel harmony? i haven't heard any good examples of tasteful harmonization - everything is always just parallel thirds, fifths, sixths, etc. also, you say sixths don't resolve. not true - who says you can't have the third of the chord at the end of the bottom voice? you'll likely have a bass below that, so it won't even necessarily be in inversion. other than that, great lesson.
    That was one of the main focuses of my lesson. I've noticed that the parallel harmonies are WAY to popular in the lessons. Thanks for pointing that out. The sixths thing was... the best way I could explain it. I saw it worded that way in another lesson (not on UG) and it was the best way I could describe The sound and tonality of ending on a sixth. Thanks for the feedback and keep rating and commenting!
    ninjainvader
    Cool lesson, just wish there was more. Like it'd be awesome if you did a lesson on how/when to change the intervals you're harmonizing with.