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Old 08-29-2006, 01:51 PM   #1
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Singing "harmonies"

What are harmonies in singing?

Is it singing the same lines with the singer in duet, like Bono and Edge do on, for example, Staring at the sun live?

Or is it more like New Year's Day, when Bono sings the chorus and Edge sings his background cries-like sounds.
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Old 08-29-2006, 05:36 PM   #2
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If you listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, MOST of their songs have harmonies. Harmonizing isnt necessarily singing an octave above or below the lead singer, but rather singing in different notes than the lead singer and the sounds "fit together" In terms of singing, both the lead singer and the harmonizer will sing the same parts (same lyrics).
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Old 08-29-2006, 06:42 PM   #3
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I know little of how vocal harmonies work but I guess the harmonist does the same as with harmony guitar. Where the lead guitar plays a melody and the harmony guitar plays the same melody in the same key but from a different starting position, usually the 3rd note. So the lead would play A-B-C in A minor, the harmony would play C-D-E. Together it sounds kickass. Even better if you add a 2nd harmony line starting from the 5th note, E-F-G, in which case you get a full chordlike sound

System of a Down is also doing a lot of vocal harmonies lately. Radiohead also does vocal harmonies. For a band which has two good singers U2 does surprisingly little vocal harmonies. Usually Edge limits himself to background vocals only. Yet the few times they do a harmony (usually a line or two) it sounds absolutely brilliant.
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Old 08-29-2006, 11:33 PM   #4
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Staring at the Sun is a good example of harmonizing
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Old 08-30-2006, 05:19 AM   #5
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The Beatles are a good example aswell
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:04 AM   #6
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Well you almost hit it on the head with NYD.

Basically harmonies are like chords are for the piano or guitar. You have two (or more) voices singing different notes at the same time, but together those notes produce a 'fuller' sound than they would alone. (Don't get harmonies confused with two or one person being overdubbed singing the same notes, a lot of producers double or triple up a singer's voice on record to make it sound more full).

Some great examples of U2 harmonies are easiest to pick out from live songs:

From Blood Red Sky, listen to the end of Gloria (after all the solos). When Bono and Edge are singing 'Glorrrrr-i-aaaah', Edge is taking the lower part of the harmony, and Bono the higher part.

Musically speaking, sounds like these are the notes each is singing
Code:
        Glor-----i--a
Bono    F........G  D#
Edge    D........D# C
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Old 08-30-2006, 12:32 PM   #7
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I'm not very music/notes savy but thanks so far.
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