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How to Sing Harmony

Puja Lalwani Jun 3, 2019
For those of you attempting to learn to sing harmony, here are some tips and tricks that will help you master the right techniques for this purpose.
One would think that singing in a group is simpler than singing solo, simply because it would be easier to blend in. And probably certain small errors you make may be covered up by other singers. However, if this is what you think, you are mistaken.
Singing harmony, which by definition implies singing in a group, requires much more effort than a solo performance. This is because the entire singing process depends on every singer in the group, and not just a few singers.
You require more effort while trying to blend in with the rest of the singers, to understand the different notes that make up a melody. Also, while harmonizing, one member sings in a particular pitch, while the others sing in a higher or lower pitch. To achieve this, coordination is essential. Here, we provide you tips on mastering the art of harmonizing.

Tip #1

Pick out a song of your choice, along with which you can practice singing harmony. Master all parts of the song, not just a part that you would prefer to sing. Ensure that you can sing the melody on pitch. This technique needs to be first mastered, before you attempt to sing harmony perfectly. You may try out some singing exercises for this purpose.

Tip #2

One of the best ways to learn is to sing while playing a musical instrument, such as a piano. This will help you hear the notes that you are singing. While practicing with any of the various musical instruments, sing on the same scale as the melody you are playing.

Tip #3

To learn to sing harmony by ear, you will have to train your ear to identify dissonance and resonance within the piece of music. Avoid dissonant sounds, if you are not a very experienced singer. Follow this simple exercise to train your ear. You will require a recording device for this one. Start the device, and sit at a piano.
Press just any note on the piano. Hold on to it, and try to sing a note that is in harmony with the note that you have played on the piano. You will not master it at the first attempt. Continue this exercise with different notes, for at least fifteen minutes. Then, rewind this entire recorded piece, and play it.
You will understand the effect of the note you picked to sing in harmony with, the pitch you were singing in, and the types of moods that you have created while attempting different notes and harmonies. Do this exercise regularly, and your ear will be trained to recognize the nuances of singing harmony.

Tip #4

Lately, a lot of CDs are available, that give you instructions on singing harmony by ear. You can invest in one of these, and try learning. Lots of people have found these CDs very helpful in their attempt to learn.

Tip #5

As mentioned earlier, singing harmony is a group effort. This means that you must not only practice your own part, but the parts of the other singers in the group. This will help you pick your notes in a simpler manner.

Tip #6

Singing in a group will also ensure that you are on the same scale as the rest of the singers. This means you will not overshadow other singers, neither will you stand out in the entire singing effort.
Keep in mind that melody is of prime importance, and should be heard over and above all other notes. Try to gather in a circular fashion when you practice in a group, so that you are able to hear other singers as well.

Tip #7

Lastly, you could sign up for some singing lessons with a music teacher, who would help you understand the basics of the process of singing harmony. Singing lessons will also help you train your ear to identify the different notes required to sing harmony.
Learning how to sing harmony is an art that you can't master overnight. It is going to require a lot of time, effort, patience, self-motivation on your part to be able to sing harmony well. If you wish, you can try practicing with your local church choir so that you have a group with which you can learn the nitty-gritty of this wonderful method of singing.