When singing with someone else or in groups, harmonization is most of the fun. The successful execution of a perfect or unique harmony doesn’t just sound good to the listener, it feels good for the singers. While harmony is technically a complement to the melody of a song, many would argue it is just as important. Being able to harmonize changes the way you listen to music and the way in which one appreciates music and other harmonies.
Learning to harmonize may seem like a daunting task at first, but once you get it down, listening to and singing music will only become more fun! Below are a few tips for learning to harmonize.
The first step in learning to sing in harmony is to not get too ahead of yourself. Some radio songs are made of simple major chords that are often easy to harmonize with. Even easier, however, would be to start singing along with harmonies already present in popular songs. Carefully listen to the melody and focus on how the different harmonies are completing each chord. The group “First Aid Kit” has a lot of harmonies in their songs that are easier to follow along to.
Sing a third up or down from the melody
Many artists use intervals in the third to harmonize. This means the note is three or four half steps above or below the melody.
Use an instrument to practice
Piano is the best instrument to use to practice harmonizing. Play any chord, major or minor, and try to isolate the different notes within it. The more you practice this, the more you will be able to target harmonic notes when you hear them within songs.
Join a local choir
Join a choir, but make sure you don’t join as a first soprano (they often sing the melody). Altos often develop better ears for harmonies within choirs. It may be a bit difficult at first, but your entire section will be singing the harmony, making it much easier to follow along and learn how it is fitting within the songs. The strong and experienced singers within the choir will be able to guide you to a better ear.
Remember that harmonizing has much more to do with your ears than your singing voice. The main component in learning how to sing in this way involves much practice in intense listening. You must be able to hear the chords within a song and isolate the notes that make it up. This sounds really hard on paper, but after a bit of practice you’ll be able to recognize these notes without even trying!
Use sheet music
If you can read music, this is a great tool to utilize. There are thousands of choral pieces available (some for free!) to practice with. You can read along with any part but the melody to practice the different harmonies within the song. This will help improve your ear in a much more unique way than practicing with simple chords.
Finally, have patience, this is a skill that takes time to master!
Now it’s time to practice. These few tips will help you get started, and your dedication will do the rest!
Cameron is a contributor to The Singer’s Corner, which is a great place to learn, refresh, and delve into the music world. Whether you want to learn a new approach to singing, give you tips to make you better or teach you ways to be the best of the best, The Singer’s Corner has something for you.