Picking up on harmonies

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Steph Dawe, Feb 10, 2005.

  1. I recently went away to Spain for six weeks over the Christmas holidays, and we (the group) would often find ourselves singing something as we'd walk from one attraction to another.

    I'd always be singing a harmony part, like a third or a fifth above what everyone else was singing (depending on if they were singing in tune or not :D), and very rarely would I sing the tonic.

    I don't know why, but I tend to avoid the tonic. I'd rather sing those harmony parts than anything else. And the guys on the trip were always saying, "how do you hear that?"

    How do I hear that? Is it a natural thing, i.e. do I have a natural knack for hearing harmonies? Or is it because I've always listened and sang along to them by choice, and have developed an ear for it?
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Probably a little of both, would be my guess. Consider yourself very fortunate. Most people can't do that kind of thing, and take to it in a natural kind of way. At least not "passably well". :)
  3. Eli M.

    Eli M. Life's like a movie, write your own ending

    Jul 24, 2004
    New York, NY
    I've always had that ability. I think this is because
    1. I was born with a very good ear
    2. My parents played me a lot of music from the day I was born (my mother played tapes and my father was a guitarist/singer).

    I was able to improvise harmony parts without knowing the theory behind them, at a very young age. I was doing this in 1st grade music class. Also, when we started playing the recorder in two part harmony, I chose to play the harmony, and later switched to the alto recorder (bass part).
    I also do this for "Happy Birthday" now, but that's probably because I want to make my out-of-tune relatives sound better.

    As for "how do you hear that"... You probably have a natural ability that was helped by practice and hearing a lot of music. Maybe you find the harmony parts more interesting than the melody, which could be one reason you play the bass.