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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-30-2010, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

Basically I just want some advice on ways to harmonize melodies that go beyond your standard 3rds and stuff like that. Sure it sounds good and really cool, but it's kind of boring when you think of how virtually every harmony uses the same intervals. There's a few guys who actually think outside the box such as Iron Maiden and Black Dahlia Murder (and the list practically dries up right there, lol.), but I have little idea of how they thought of it up.

There's absolutely NO lessons anywhere about this kind of stuff. The only thing you can find is some guy showing you a lick, and then he tosses in the phrase 'now we can harmonize that in thirds', and plays the harmony, end of story. Even when there's a lesson of how to play an iron maiden harmony that isn't completely in thirds, there is no explanation on why it is like that. At best it is some generalized advice about 'following chord tones', etc, but I have no idea of how to do that (Apart from arpeggios ;P). Obviously 3rds are the best particularly for fast shredding where there's not much 'breathing room', but for most melodies they could be improved upon if there was more variation.

Wondering if any of you guys are knowledgeable/ creative enough that actually use different kinds of harmonizing. Probably not, but worth a shot anyways

p.s. I know you can use stuff like 4ths, 6ths, octaves, etc, but I have no idea when, that's another thing.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 12:09 AM
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

Sometimes, I like to do a little harmony bit where the first track of the harmony is ascending, and the harmonizing track is descending. I'll do this in 5ths, and it sounds pretty cool. It does depend on what scale you're piddling with, but just play around with it.



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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 01:13 AM
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

Well, Iron Maiden and The Black Dahlia Murder pretty much use 3rds almost exclusively and may occasionally throw in a riff harmonized in 5ths or 2nd's somewhere. The reason it may not sound like TBDM is using thirds, is because 90 percent of the time they are playing In Harmonic Minor/Phyrigian Dominant. Taking into consideration that these modes are darker and evil sounding, the harmonized thirds also tend to take on a new life.

You can harmonize a scale in 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths.. Whatever scale degree you choose really. The reason most bands resort to using 3rds in a metal context, is simply cause they sound the best.

Try harmonizing a riff first in 3rds, then 5ths, then try throwing another one of the above mentioned harmonies and see why bands don't use them.. they simply don't mesh.

If your unsure as to how to harmonize something, you need to grasp a basic understanding of how harmonies are achieved. A minor third is simply 3 notes away in the scale from the note your wanting to harmonize. So if you want to harmonize an E note (7th fret A string) in a Minor context, then your harmony note would be G (10th fret A string). Now try to harmonize the same E note in 5ths. Take the 5th note of the E minor scale B (7th fret E string) and Harmonize it with the E note. Check out the song "crystal mountain" by the band death. That little harmonic minor lick at the beginning is harmonized in 5th's. Use the same logic when trying other harmonies with each of the notes of E minor: E F# G A B C D.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 09:52 AM
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

Nice lesson sirshredsalot found it very interesting and informative thx.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-01-2010, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

Well, yeah I understand well how harmonies are made and work and all that, and that even those two bands I mentioned mainly still use thirds, they don't always all the time.

E.G. I Will Return by BDM, particularly pay attention to the main tremolo picking riff, the lower harmony is nothing like the upper harmony.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsK-dUYauM4
and here's an amazingly accurate guitar pro tab of the song, if you want to check it out more closely
http://www.911tabs.com/link/?6721304
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 06:14 PM
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

You're kinda picking an idea that just doesnt go very well into metal unless you want to sound very neo-classical. Harmonising is an area of music in which, things need to be done right, or theyll sound wrong. Harmonising with nothing but thirds and fifths is not a bad idea, because a lot more interesting things can go on than you realise with them. Harmonising a melody is less about padding it out and making it sound better than it is creating a background for the melody that flows with it and brings musical character. This is because the real interesting parts of harmonisation is in the movement of chords, rather than the chords themselves. And so in the heavily distorted realm in which you want to pursue this, youre kinda stuck to the consonance and clarity of thirds, and possibly 6ths (inverted 3rds..)
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 07:12 PM
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

English terms are forgotten, but I'll try anyway. Counterparts can be just as good as set interval harmonies, sort of two melodies on top of eachother.

What I do is to first sing the harmony part (in music I write), it often leads to a stranger harmony part that is not always moving when the melody is moving. I feel that adds tension and release (if used correctly), if you transpose one part up or down an octave you can more or less play any note you want, since the frequencies will sound better.

Some other option is to play mirrors. Toss all theory away and create your own rules, only play on frets with fret markers, never play on the B string. There are many things you can do to create unusual harmonies, and some of them may even work. Although many probably won't. I guess it comes down to what music you play and what you want to hear.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-07-2010, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Real_Illusions View Post
You're kinda picking an idea that just doesnt go very well into metal unless you want to sound very neo-classical. Harmonising is an area of music in which, things need to be done right, or theyll sound wrong. Harmonising with nothing but thirds and fifths is not a bad idea, because a lot more interesting things can go on than you realise with them. Harmonising a melody is less about padding it out and making it sound better than it is creating a background for the melody that flows with it and brings musical character. This is because the real interesting parts of harmonisation is in the movement of chords, rather than the chords themselves. And so in the heavily distorted realm in which you want to pursue this, youre kinda stuck to the consonance and clarity of thirds, and possibly 6ths (inverted 3rds..)
Well you're pretty right about most of all that, but metal is an incredibly open-ended genre, as you probably know. You can fit anything in anywhere if you just want it to and work at it enough. And it's nice to have options when it comes to things like this. As MAB says it's better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it. A few other corny phrases that could apply may be 'knowledge is power', 'if it's worth doing it's worth overdoing (also MAB lol)', 'you can never have to much of a good thing', etc.

Nothing wrong with the neo-classical sound either, whether or not you mean post-20th century classical music or the over-the-top, hacked up, simplified and shreddifyed metal attempt either.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 05:40 AM
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

Check out Gradus Ad Parnassum, dude.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magical Muffin View Post
Well you're pretty right about most of all that, but metal is an incredibly open-ended genre, as you probably know. You can fit anything in anywhere if you just want it to and work at it enough. And it's nice to have options when it comes to things like this. As MAB says it's better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it. A few other corny phrases that could apply may be 'knowledge is power', 'if it's worth doing it's worth overdoing (also MAB lol)', 'you can never have to much of a good thing', etc.

Nothing wrong with the neo-classical sound either, whether or not you mean post-20th century classical music or the over-the-top, hacked up, simplified and shreddifyed metal attempt either.
Well if you wish to look into it further, then you can try full on voice-leading type harmony (which will turn out like a chorale type piece of music, which I personally would imagine will sound awesome, but only really if it kept to a relatively slow tempo) However, to get that stuff right can be a challenge and some of the rules would be hard to follow in a metal context (such as the avoidance of parallel octaves and fifths.. something metal obviously thrives on)

Or alternatively, a more contrapuntal approach (such as Paul Gilberts GVRO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQFESc8Br1w ) Which I would think would be easier, as you can construct that with simple chord knowledge and a bit of patience to make it work.

The second you could probably get started on right now, the first has plenty of guides all over the place, but its likely to require you to be able to read music (if you dont already).
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-12-2010, 02:58 PM
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

When I compose harmonies, I record the melody, put it on a loop and just try a bunch of different things over it till I get something I like. I sometimes write down the notes of that melodies scale and try to work out a theoretical harmony and just tweak that till I get something more original than what I could compose using theory. Just trust yours ears and you'll be fine
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-06-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

thumbs up!!!
thanks for the lesson. it was really easy to follow
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 06-14-2010, 06:08 PM
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

It is a difficult question, but that's how I see it...

1. Chords:
If you try to stuck 4ths to create new chords, 3rds will appear again as 10ths, so it's not as cool as it seems. Ex (C chord in 4ths)
C - F - B - E - A : C (tonic), F (fourth), B (major 7th), E (major 10th, that is, major third) and A (major 6th) This have the same notes as a CMaj13 if you respell the 4th as a 11th and the 6th as a 13th.

2.Melodies:
I suppose you don't want to use diatonic notes (like the common harmonization in 3ds). In that case, imagine you create a melody which starts from fret 5. Record it, and now play over that the same melody, but now starting on the Major2th (freet 7). It will sound strange but good. I heard a piece of music which included pairs of instruments doing this technique with different intervals (ej b7, #4, 5th).
Each interval makes the melodies sound very different. Depending on the interval it will be easier or more difficult to harmonize. That is, a melody in CMaj played a 2nd maj away, will produce F# and C# -just add a whole tone to each note- it's like if you were using a major scale with an added b2(C#) and a #4(F#), that is: C-C#-D-E-F-F#-G-A-B. You could add that notes in the chords which CMaj produce.

Sorry if it's a bit messy, but that's how I see it...
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-08-2011, 09:33 PM
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

I harmonize stuff all of the time. Thirds are probably the most common thing people do, though I sometimes will use 6ths if I'm only doing a 2-part harmonization: it's the same harmonic effect, but it takes up a little more sonic space.

Ditto for fourths and fifths: they're essentially creating the same kind of "quartal harmony" effect.

For short runs or guitar or voice, I'll use 3 or 4 part harmonies--sometimes I just do a basic chordal outline, ala 1-3-5s, or sometimes I'll just do a 1-6-octave thing to take up space without filling up too much of a chord. Obviously for 4-part I often wait until a song is harmonically complex enough to need it (having or implying chords with more added tones, 7ths 9ths, etc).
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 09:20 AM
 
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Re: Advice on harmonizing (not lame 3rds and 5ths)

I haven't read through everyone's replies, but i'd suggest looking into the rules of counterpoint:

http://humanities.uchicago.edu/class...i/species.html

Its tough doing it without visual aid, and even more so if you can't read music. I learned how to do it back in high school and figured out how to map it out on a midi piano roll. I use counterpoint instinctively all the time.
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