A song that is effortless to listen to and easy to enjoy is most probably filled with fantastic complimentary harmonies. There really is nothing better than 3-5 part harmony sung perfectly! There are of course a few tricks to harmonising and today we teach you the theory or musical structure involved that will enable you to better understand harmony and subsequently better sing a harmony. So read on and discover the joys that are, triads, chords, natural and learned harmonies and intervals. Trust us, when you can sing harmony then you know you are well above the average singer. So go for it!
Do you wish you could add even more of a Wow! factor to a song? Harmony and how to do it.
In our opinion, there isn’t much better than a song filled with different parts and impressive harmonies. Harmony is either learned or natural. If you are naturally talented in this area you re blessed!! The majority of us need to learn a system or steps to harmonise correctly.
A harmony part can be above or below the melody. For example, for female singers, if the soprano part sings the melody, there may be an alto part, singing harmony below the melody, and/or a descant part, singing harmony above the melody.
Once you know the key of your song (and the base note Do), you can figure out the chords within that key. Chords can be triads or seventh chords.
Triads are made up of three notes: the root, third and fifth. Depending on the intervals between each note, the triad will be major, minor, augmented or diminished.
Seventh chords are triads, plus a note which is a major 7th interval above the root.
Both major and minor triads have a root at the base, with a perfect fifth at the top.
(Think of the interval from Do to So.) What sets these two chords apart is the third in the triad. Major triads have a major third above the root and a perfect fifth, while the third above the root in a minor triad is, of course, minor. You can also think of the intervals in the triads as being “stacked” upon each other:
for an example of a major triad. The notes will be played singly first, then as a chord.
Now compare the sound of the major triad in the previous track to the following minor triad, played in
Augmented and diminished triads are different again, since there is not a perfect fifth from the root to the top note.
To explain briefly, intervals of four and five notes in a scale are called perfect. When these intervals are raised or lowered by a half-step, they are called augmented or diminished. For example, a perfect fifth that is raised a half-step is an augmented fifth interval. The same interval is diminished if lowered a half-step.
Thus, an augmented triad starts out the same as a major triad, except with an augmented fifth. A diminished triad will be the same as a minor triad, but with a diminished fifth. Augmented and diminished triads can also be understood as stacking two intervals on top of each other. An augmented triad is composed of two major third intervals; a diminished triad is the opposite, with two minor third intervals.
for an example of an augmented triad. The first interval sounds the same as a major triad, but the second interval is greater because it has been raised a half-step.
Now listen to
, a diminished triad that initially sounds like a minor triad.
All of this is important to know when it comes to learning the chords within a key.
For each note in a major or minor scale, there is a corresponding triad. If you want to know which chords to play and sing, you need to understand what the numbers mean that identify them.
Chords are often referred to by numbers. Each triad has a corresponding Roman numeral relating to its order in the scale. Each Roman numeral is again distinguished depending on what type of triad the chord is. Numbers for major triads are capitalized, while minor triad numbers remain in lower case.
Major scale: Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do
I ii iii IV V vi vii° I
The first, fourth, and fifth chords are major triads, while the second, third, and sixth chords are minor. The seventh chord is the odd one out, however. The ° sign indicates that it is a diminished chord. If a chord is augmented, then there will be a & sign to the right of the chord number.
to hear the C major chords being played in order. Pay close attention to which are major, minor and diminished.
Keep in mind that the chords are different when a song is in a minor key. Listen to Track19 to hear the chords for A minor (the relative minor to C major).
Minor scale: La Ti Do Re Mi Fa SoLa
i ii° III iv v VI VII i
There are certain series of chords which are commonly used as chord progressions within music. Musical phrases will generally be resolved with a two-chord progression, called a cadence. When a phrase is resolved, it sounds complete, like it has come to an end.
Since a song written in a major key is based around Do, the strongest chord is I, where Do is the root. You will know by now that many melodies end on Do, and this is no different when it comes to looking at entire chords of songs. The two cadences which are used to resolve phrases both end on a I chord.
In the next lesson you get a chance to put your knowledge to the test as we look at singing on stage and singing a part by ear. You have come so far in such a short space of time. Just think how much you have learned over these lessons. Now we want you to go out there and make your hardwork count where it really matters…on stage with an audience
Another Singorama Success Story!
John Haynes Ooltewah
You might want to listen to more Harmonies, or explore how to sing harmony with actual songs, or you might just want more opportunity to try your ear at Singing Harmony with another singer. Well with our great lesson on Harmony we let you in on the process for developing Harmony and give you the chance to actually sing along with some songs. So check it out today and give yourself the chance to excel with the beautiful art of Harmony!