FORUM

Welcome to our forum. A Message To Our New and Prospective Members . Check out our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

Please feel free to share. “The Little Drummer Boy Project”

A A A
Avatar
Please consider registering
guest
sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register
Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search
Forum Scope




Match



Forum Options



Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Harmonies in folk music
How to harmonise with the voice is it simple, or, complicated?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
Avatar
Peter
West Sussex, England UK
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
February 2, 2020 - 3:45 pm
Member Since: September 27, 2019
Forum Posts: 143
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Is it a simple matter to harmonise with a singer (perhaps the fiddler themself) when playing ballads and laments?

I wonder if it's a simple as playing a third under the vocal line, perhaps simplifying into a semi-drone. Perhaps the right-hand piano part could be used, or the left?

Excuse my naiveite!

Thoughts, anyone?

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

Avatar
GregW
Members

Regulars
February 2, 2020 - 9:30 pm
Member Since: February 9, 2019
Forum Posts: 606
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I've asked this question in almost the same way you have phrased it.  I'm still not up to speed on it and just as much in the dark but possibly have something to add that will help or spark some more input.  If you know the chords that are being played then those tones are available and technically as long as you play a note in the key you have a chance at hitting something useable.  some notes will work better but chances are something you play in passing would work.  Its probably a good idea to take a song and work out some backing harmony prior to trying to improvise.  listen to what works and figure out what it was that sounded good to you. Then make note of it and build on that. One thing I was curious of in a class and asked about  had to do with guitar and working out harmonized double stops and what would work.  the suggestion was that whatever melody note I was on reach over to next string and play the first available fret thats in the key working up from the nut.  For me..thats something that would take practice to be able to do on the fly in a jam setting.  I think 3rds as you said are safe though I'm just not sure that for a whole song that it wouldn't get annoying.  sorry alot is just rambling here.  just thought I'd add for the conversation.  maybe theres something there you haven't considered and I'll be watching for replies and both of us can get some pointers! 🙂  good question..thanks for asking!

Avatar
Peter
West Sussex, England UK
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
February 3, 2020 - 2:45 am
Member Since: September 27, 2019
Forum Posts: 143
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Thanks .@GregW I'm planning to experiment a little at the end of my practice sessions in the evening, using my voice over the fiddle.

Yes, I'll watch this thread for any input from others, and I may cross-post it elsewhere.

If I make significant discoveries, I'll try to remember to report them into this thread to help others.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

Avatar
AndrewH
Sacramento, California
Members

Regulars
February 3, 2020 - 3:14 am
Member Since: November 5, 2017
Forum Posts: 643
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

As much as you can, use the chords in the lead sheets. You'll find that you're usually playing in either thirds or sixths with the melody.

For going between thirds and sixths, there's one particular device that may serve you especially well, called the "horn fifth" because it was commonly used for playing harmony lines on natural horns. https://music.stackexchange.co.....-horn-5ths

Avatar
starise
Members

Regulars
February 3, 2020 - 12:37 pm
Member Since: September 9, 2016
Forum Posts: 357
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Peter said
Is it a simple matter to harmonise with a singer (perhaps the fiddler themself) when playing ballads and laments?

I wonder if it's a simple as playing a third under the vocal line, perhaps simplifying into a semi-drone. Perhaps the right-hand piano part could be used, or the left?

Excuse my naiveite!

Thoughts, anyone?

  

I think this  comes more naturally to some more than others. Some forms of folk music discourage harmony. I'm thinking about ITM here. If you have "it" you will hear these harmonies in your head when you hear a melody. If you don't have "it" you can still develop it by listening to others and dissecting the notes involved.  I think we train our ears through listening and playing over time. People who have sat in Folk groups for years probably don't give it a second thought. You can get a basic idea of 5ths by simply playing the E/A together and the G/D. If everything is in tune you should hear that harmony.

I don't go around advertising this, but I have heard a lot of conflicting info about drones. One teacher swears by them. Another teacher thinks they are a crutch. 

Being thrown into a group green is a great way to learn. Just playing something that fits with whatever the others are doing helps. Then ask, what did I do and what made that fit? smile

Avatar
Peter
West Sussex, England UK
Regular advisor
Members

Regulars
February 4, 2020 - 10:09 am
Member Since: September 27, 2019
Forum Posts: 143
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Plenty of food for thought  and experiment here; thank you, guys.

@starise - The drone thing in this context is me not knowing the correct musical term. By "semi-drone", I mean simplifying the melody from say, 1/4 notes, into halves or whole notes, and harmonising them with the vocal line. I'm guessing (and hearing) fiddlers fiddling a forte intro using the vocal theme with ornaments, and then dropping away in pitch and amplitude to harmonise with the vocals, and reprising the lead line in the middle eight and outro. I'm probably answering much of my original question here.

I've also been routinely redacting the guitar chords from my sheet music, mainly because I find them a distraction. Now I realise they are the very thing I may have been looking for; happily, the redaction is reversible.

Thanks once again for your time and consideration.

Peter

"It is vain to do with more that which can be done with less"  - William of Ockham

Avatar
starise
Members

Regulars
February 4, 2020 - 11:48 am
Member Since: September 9, 2016
Forum Posts: 357
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Hi Peter,

 

I enjoy discussing these kinds of things. I claim no superior intellect. I squeak by. My experiences have been the occasional improvisational meetup where some guy starts playing jazz and I attempt to play along, sometimes to a fearful crash and burn.

One person looks at another person as if to say, do you know what you're doin'?? and is met with a similar returning glance. Two drunks can still dance but it's a little awkward 🙂

Forum Timezone: America/New_York
Most Users Ever Online: 696
Currently Online: Irv
46
Guest(s)
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)
Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today None
Upcoming AndrewAllanRoberts, uncledave, DanielB, Pete_Violin, Kmmoon
Top Posters:
Mad_Wed: 2849
Barry: 2678
Fiddlestix: 2647
Oliver: 2439
DanielB: 2379
Kevin M.: 1971
damfino: 1944
cdennyb: 1815
TerryT: 1727
Ferret: 1575
Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 3
Members: 27124
Moderators: 0
Admins: 7
Forum Stats:
Groups: 16
Forums: 55
Topics: 8295
Posts: 103004
Newest Members:
joko_emm, bluebirdost, Ninjamastor, sams violin, KookumKim, jcbkzbyt
Administrators: Fiddlerman: 14889, KindaScratchy: 1754, coolpinkone: 4176, BillyG: 3200, MrsFiddlerman: 2, Jimmie Bjorling: 0, cid: 1731