Hi I’m Vi Wickam and this is another myTalentForge Quick Tip of the Week!
This one is always fun for me. It’s playing harmonies above and below the melody.
Now, this is a trick I learned from Paul Anastasio is a great swing fiddler – he’s also an expert ethnomusicologist. He studied with Joe Venuti, and he’s also an expert in the Mexican Music of the Tierra Caliente! And just a generally, all around nice guy.
At Weiser a long time ago, when I was back in high school, I heard Paul both the tenor and baritone harmony along with the song, and I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever heard in my entire life.
And I asked Paul after that session “How do you do that?!” And he said, “Well first of all, start by practicing your scales in sixths!”
So […]. That is an example of how that works in the key of E Flat.
So, I started practicing my scales in sixths, and that gave me some foundational knowledge.
He said that sometimes the harmony will be a sixth, sometimes it’ll be a fifth when you’re playing above and below the melody.
If we’re hearing a simple D scale […] as our melody- the above and below harmony is going to be […]. So there’s two fifths and a bunch of sixths […].
Now if I did sixths the whole way […], we would end up with a major seventh and a minor seventh chord showing up on the harmonization- which would be a little different, and it would be interestingly different.
There’s your tip!
Learn your scales in sixths, and play along with some simple songs and try adding the above and below harmony.
You will really stretch your brain, it will stretch your concept of harmony in your brain. It will be lots of fun!
See you next week!