Bluegrass Harmony Workshops

When more than one note is played at the same time frequencies either agree in a level of harmony or create a level of tension.  In the western world of music we have established that a chord is represented by the combination of any 2 or 3 notes played together that come from the 1  3 &  5 notes (the triad) of that chord’s scale


Example:

The G chord has  G B & D.  To alter that in any way you must rename it. 

If you ad the flat seventh note to G B  & D  you get G B D + F which is named G7.



Harmony from a Bluegrass Perspective

Part 1: Melody

Listen to the melody, establish it, sing it clearly and know it. Understand how much range it uses and where it sits in your body.  Is it very low? Is it very high? The melody is one of the harmony parts and must not change.  Identify where the melody sits in the chord (the 1 3 & 5 of each chord) and outside of the chord as it moves around.  The melody will very often use notes from the chord but is created using many notes of the key’s scale. 

More scale notes used = more complicated.  Be solid in the timing as with the tune and lyrics.


Part 2:  Adding one part above

The second part is crafted by establishing the next note in the triad above the melody as the melody and chords progress.

In Bluegrass we call this the tenor line. Two voices, melody and one that has a higher range to sing the harmony line above the melody.  A melody note may, for example, be on the 3, so the next harmony note above would be the 5.  


Part 2:  Adding one part below
The third part is crafted by establishing the next note in the triad below the melody as the melody and chords progress.

In Bluegrass we call this the baritone line. Two voices, melody and one that has a lower range to sing the harmony line below the melody.  A note from the melody may, for example, be on the 3, so the next harmony note below would be the 1 of the chord (1=8 in octaves).


With Tenor on the 5, melody on the 3, baritone on the 1 you have a triad in three part harmony singing.  And it moves.  Stay on your part, think harmony notes in a relationship with a melody and a chord structure that move.  Do not move opposite the melody or you will hit another part for sure.  If you sing the baritone an octave higher, above the tenor, it is called the high Baritone. If you sing the tenor an octave lower, below the baritone, you have low tenor.  Bass create their own part, doubling another part for short periods while presenting a unique concept like hitting the roots of the chord progression or creating a counter melody. 


The stronger a singer is at recognizing, hearing and holding a part in this manner the better the opportunity for all of the chord notes to be created. And thick, rich, resonating, pure 3 part harmony will be felt.  Use the melody as the anchor and create the chords in vocal harmony. 


Hold on to your part, let instruments guide you.  There are many ways to address melody and chord notes that fall out of the 1 3 5... they make it colourful.

Harmony = Chord Construction

3 part harmony singing for 2 hours in your space of choice with participants from your circles: Book a workshop!

Jenny Lester rootsmusiclessons@gmail.com

As I am traveling I will come to you.  Invite 6-15+ participant @ $30 each ($50 for families)

Bluegrass Harmony is a language and process that enable three singers to create a full, lush, three-part sound. This workshop will give you solid fundamental tools for understanding and crafting your parts. Join in to sing, hear and feel resonance and theory come together in harmony.

Everyone welcome, no experience necessary.

Bluegrass Harmony Singing

Workshops

Jenny Lester 250 - 877 - 0674

rootsmusiclessons@gmail.com

Download Harmony Promotional One Sheet HERE

Coming Soon...

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