Some Harmonic Action

As you know, bluegrass demands some serious vocal harmonies. Writing these harmonies is no easy task, however.  The lead melody usually comes pretty naturally, but working other voices into the mix requires a good ear, and some knowledge about music certainly helps.

Unfortunately, I have zero formal music knowledge!  I really couldn’t tell you what a fifth or a diminished seventh is, and I sure as hell can’t read music…  Lucky for us, however, Amanda knows quite a bit about vocal harmonies.

We met up over the weekend to look at where we might need some 2 or 3-part harmonies, and we took a crack at recording some samples.

amanda singing her heart out

Our focus was the heavy part of track 4, when everything stops for a moment, and we get these great melodic chords.  I want very strong vocals here, harmonies included, so we tried a few combinations of notes and patterns.

It’s definitely a bit nerve-wracking when you have to sing in front of other people!  We had fun working together though, and I see good things in the future. I’m not completely sold on what we came up with, but the fact that we were able to meet up and be productive bodes well for the project.

Have a listen to the sample below.  I must confess, as I listen to it again, Amanda is a bit too low in the mix. Sorry about that!

A couple things to note about this clip:

  • These harmonies are not bluegrassy at all (but they do have a major tonality to contrast the screaming vocals before and after this part)
  • I’m singing 2 out of 3 parts for each harmony (which no one wants)
  • The actual lead vocalist (Patrick) may take a very different melody

You should expect something different in future versions of the song. I’m calling this a very successful meet up though!


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