Take A Minute To Sing Episode 16: SInging Harmony
“I want to learn to sing harmony” is a common request I get. Of course, knowing how to sing a melody on pitch is an important prerequisite. Assuming you already know that, let’s explore the next step.
Harmony is a note different from the melody and usually derived from the accompanying chord. Once in a while in a choral arrangement it will be the same as the melody, but usually not. It adds richness, variety, and helps bring out the overtones (another discussion) in the music. The harmony will either be above or below the melody and will usually stay there and not cross voices.
A common problem for beginning harmony singers is gravitating to the same note as the person singing melody. This takes practice knowing your part and its relationship to the melody. Start by knowing if your harmony part is above or below the melody. If the melody is high in your range, then a harmony note above will be more difficult.
Changing the key or singing below the melody is a good choice in this instance. I have found it is easier to learn harmony by sliding up than by sliding down, so the exercise in this video will concentrate on sliding up from the melody to the next harmony note.
How do you know if it is a harmony note?
Play a chord and sing the first note you hear, then play the chord again and sing the same note but slide up to the next note in that chord. Don’t overthink this. As you slide up the notes in between will sound irritating (because the sound waves are conflicting with each other). The second you hit the harmony note you can feel it. Trust that feeling. Trust your ear. Then practice starting by singing the melody and quickly sliding up to the harmony note. Follow the contour of the melodic line.
Stay at it and have fun singing harmony!
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