Author Topic: Harmony  (Read 1966 times)

skdadl

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Harmony
« on: April 17, 2010, 08:48:51 PM »
Did anyone here grow up learning how to sing harmony?

If so, were you actually taught how, say, the descant differs from the melody, or did you just have an ear for it?

And is it similar for people who learn musical instruments? How does the bass player know what the bass line is, eg?

Boom Boom

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Harmony
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2010, 09:33:40 PM »
40+ years ago I was a roadie and occasional backup singer for a band that did covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival songs. Fortunately the music drowned out my voice.  :rockon
ETA: but I shook a mean tambourine. :dance :
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 11:06:28 PM by Boom Boom »

sparqui

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Harmony
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2010, 09:51:09 PM »
Neat question, skdadl. I love singing but have very limited ability.

I did volunteer to take part in a children's musical theatre production while I was in Tokyo. I felt free to try everything I ever wanted to do since I didn't have a peer group to put any restraint on my actions. Anyway, I went to the audition and sucked bad. So I finally asked if I could sing what I knew best - it was the alto harmony to "Hand Down Your Head Tom Dooley". I remembered it from grade school choir. Anyway, they gave me a part in the chorus based on THAT! OK, my dancing background didn't hurt but still...
If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a tractor. -- Gilles Duceppe

skdadl

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Harmony
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2010, 09:10:23 AM »
I ask because I'm like youse guys -- I love music, love being able to follow the various harmonizing lines -- I think I have a pretty good ear, but I just do not have teh voice, can't make it do what my ear hears, and besides that, I've always been puzzled by how the people who are not singing the melody can keep from being dragged off by it. With instruments it would be easier if you were following music, although lots of musicians are harmonizing by ear as well.

A while ago I stumbled on (now, don't laugh) some old Lennon sisters YouTubes, one of them a vid of the entire family (huge family), including some very little ones and some good boy singers, one in particular, about six, I'd say, and while there are a lot of critical things we could all say about the Lennons, it really is fascinating to see them all fall into the suitable parts. I mean, I can't figure out how that is done. There are other famous families like them, instrumentalists as well, half of Cape Breton Island, it sounds -- do they just osmose harmony from birth?

I also have a nasty earworm function that decides to transpose any melody that gets stuck in my head into a minor key, which is annoying and sometimes feels vaguely threatening, like a spooky movie soundtrack. It seems to be my only musical talent. Sometimes it sticks with the melody but refuses to hit the minor keys, which is just as bad. But when it's on, it's full on.  :annoyed:
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 09:15:19 AM by skdadl »

brebis noire

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Harmony
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2010, 10:00:50 AM »
I can read music, and sing along to harmonies if the part is strong. It helps if I can learn the part while reading the music visually, the written part is needed reinforcement because I can't just slip into harmony naturally unless there's a stronger singer beside me. My voice is definitely alto, so I usually have to learn the harmony parts anyways, any time that I've sung in a choir or small ensemble (I'm going back about 15-20 yrs with this). I tend to lose it part way through, and probably couldn't go it alone because I'd get carried away by the melody - unless it's way to high for my poor allergy-ridden voice.

I've recently discovered I can do passable Beatles karaoke, that seems to be my only singing talent. Still, nobody has ever told me I have a nice voice, and even though I'm the best singer in my family, that's really not saying much if you've heard any of them. :-)

oldgoat

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Harmony
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2010, 12:48:37 PM »
When I was a little oldgoat, one of the routine chores my siblings and I had was doing the dishes.  Most of my sibs are older.  We would sing in harmony while doing this.  I was never taught, I just sort of picked it up.  My dad was a choir director, a pretty good organist, and he wrote a couple of masses, and  my older sibs had some technical musical training.

We'd sing campfire songs, but also some old English folksy stuff.  Skdadl, you met my sister Anne.  Sometimes after a few beer we'll try to sing "The Ash Grove" in harmony like we used to when we did the dishes, but I don't think we're as good as we were back in the day.  

I guess none of us are really.
"Res melius evinissent cum Coca"

skdadl

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Harmony
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2010, 01:29:00 PM »
Oh, if only I had known, oldgoat. Well -- next porch evening, I would love to hear you and Anne sing. Did you get your kids singing over the dishes? (Did you get your kids to do the dishes?)

My dad was an opera buff -- some arias still bring back sniff-memories of either Saturday lunch or Sunday supper (just as the old Hockey Night in Canada theme instantly smells of steak to me because that's what mum cooked on winter Saturday nights). When I became a know-it-all teenager, I decided opera was too square to be true and stopped learning, which I very much regret now. And yet I'm sometimes surprised by how much was engraved 'way back then -- I don't have to look up much before I'm located in many operas, a pleasant surprise.

Guess my major sensory talents are in my nose, though.

Debra

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Harmony
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2010, 01:48:17 PM »
Hey Oldgoat! Long time, no see. :yo:
“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” —  Josephine Hart

Holly Stick

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Harmony
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2010, 05:29:19 PM »
I sang in the choir in church while growing up, so learned to ignore the altos while sticking to the soprano part.  We had some good singers who had some training and could hold a tune and the rest of us would tend to follow their lead.  I try singing harmony to songs once in a while, which sounds great if you hit it right and terrible if you don't. :sing:  :tape:
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 05:37:01 PM by Holly Stick »
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Berlynn

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Harmony
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2010, 05:30:57 PM »
My mom was and is a natural harmonizer.  She tried to teach me but it was a thankless and fruitless task.  I'm a natural born soprano.

That said, since participating in our twice-monthly singing group, I've learned to sing descant lines and alto lines.  It helps that I can now hear them in my head.  That never used to happen, I think because I was a note reading singer.  Now I'm able to hear the other lines and match my voice to them.  It's not very often I can get the low lines though; they just get too low.  I think I can get to an E below middle C and if I'm warmed up to an F above high C.  My range has improved by at least five whole tones since I started singing almost a decade ago.

Mr Berlynn has been composing songs on his guitar :guitar: and I'm loving how, after hearing the tune a few times, I can come in with a harmony above or below the melody line.  That never used to happen!
Never retreat, never explain, never apologize--get the thing done and let them howl.  -- Nellie McClung

Croghan27

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Re: Harmony
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2010, 05:46:47 AM »
The workers are very close to being finished with the gate to Chinatown.

The Citizen, in its' inimitable way, has managed to produce a photo that tells nothing about the finished work, but here it is.


The shot does not convey the amazing detail that is present on the structure - I have been following it for a month now, dazzled by the intricacy of the design.

See what three thousand years of culture will get you. 
« Last Edit: September 30, 2010, 05:47:26 AM by Croghan27 »
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

Boom Boom

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Re: Harmony
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2010, 10:59:08 PM »
I'm addicted to the Rolling Stones Forty Licks which is a two disc compilation of their greatest hits. I listen to it almost every other day, late at night, on headphones. The lyrics are certainly bothersome, but it's the music that really gets to me. Growing up, it was usually Joan Baez, the Beatles, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell that I listened to mostly, but once I discovered the Rolling Stones, I was hooked. I love a lot of music - especially soul, reggae, and the blues - but none are as addictive to me as the Stones, and especially their earlier stuff. This revelation will probably drive most of you around the bend - how could we have been soooo wrong about Boom Boom?  :p :panic :rockon
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 11:09:31 PM by Boom Boom »

 

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