How To Sing In Harmony

by Kanyin

I find singing a harmony vocal line difficult. If someone is singing a random song I would like to know how to harmonize it easily.

I'd love to be able to do this without really having to think about it.

Any suggestions?

From The Editor

Thank you for this excellent question!

Singing in harmony is a skill well worth developing. It gives you a lot of flexibility as a musician, and can really spice up your songwriting abilities as well!

As with all skills, you must do the hard work up front. If you can't easily sing in harmony at first, you must put the effort in to learn how it works.

If you do this you will certainly get to the point where you can sing beautiful harmonies without putting too much thought into it.

You'll just understand music to the point where you can open your mouth and the right notes will come out!

So how can you get to this point?

Well the thing to realize is that when you're singing a harmony, you're creating a chord with your voice, and the other singers voice.

This means that to really hit the right notes, you need to build up your understanding of musical chords.

If you have a piano at your disposal, you can sit at it and play a single note, and then harmonize with it.

Then find the note you used with your voice on the piano and see what chord you've created.

This is a great singing exercise that will allow you to gradually improve at creating great harmonies.

One of the best way to become great at singing beautiful harmonies, is to take a piece of music and create some harmonies for it.

It can be any song that doesn't already have some vocal harmonies already within the song.

What you do is listen carefully to the song and write your own harmony line over the top.

Even if you sit there and work out each note one by one, you'll gain a great understanding of writing vocal harmonies.

Pay attention to the different "emotional qualities" the different harmony options create.

When a singer sings a note, there are not just one available way to harmonize it. There are many, and each different way will carry a different emotion.

Experiment with these different options and see what chord combinations you like.

The only way you can really master this is to get in there and spend time testing out different notes one by one...

... It's tedious work but once you've done it you'll find you understand the language of music at a deeper level.

And this will bring you to the point of being able to come up with great melody vocal lines instantly.

So play with these different techniques I've mentioned and you'll become a very good harmony singer!

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About The Author

Roger Burnley - Vocal CoachRoger Burnley - Vocal Coach

Roger Burnley is a vocal coach located in Hollywood, California. He has been teaching the voice for over 30 years and singing for even longer than that. 

His clients including Grammy Winners, Broadway Performers, Movie Stars, Rock stars, Finalists on The Voice and American Idol, and many thousands of singers ranging from beginner to professional level.  

Notable past and present clients include Macy Gray, Brandy, Ray J, The Beastie Boys, James Torme, Taylor Lautner, Nona Gaye, and many more. 

His clients have collectively sold more than 30 million albums, with several reaching Platinum and Gold status. 

Roger has been featured on VH1, TV Guide Channel, TV One,
and MTV appearing as a vocal expert.

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