Frequently Asked Questions About Harmony Singing by Ear

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What are the differences between Harmony Singing By Ear and the Sing Harmonies iPhone App?
Harmony Singing by Ear and the Sing Harmonies iPhone App are complimentary learning tools with some notable differences. The Sing Harmonies App helps you to learn to sing vocal harmony by playing and muting individual voices while playing 4- part vocal arrangements of "Lean On Me", "Teach Your Children", and "Proud Mary". Since you can mix which vocals are audible, it's an invaluable tool for strengthening your harmonizing skills. Harmony Singing by Ear teaches you how to harmonize on your own as well as teaching you the harmony parts for several songs. So the Sing Harmonies App teaches you harmony parts with an innovative method, and Harmony Singing by Ear teaches you how to find your own harmony parts.

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I'm not sure what my vocal range is so I don't know if I can use the CDs.
Listen to and try to sing along with the audio sample "Isolated Vocal Parts: Bring It On Home To Me" on the main detail page. The upper and lower harmony parts for this song are in a range very similar to the other songs, with the exception of "Walk Away Renee" which goes a bit higher. If the parts are outside your range see the next question.

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I'm a bass or baritone and those vocal ranges seem too high for me, can I still use the CDs?
You can, with some modifications. The upper harmony instruction and sung vocal parts are all in alto range and sometimes will be too high for you. If you are comfortable singing along with those parts an octave lower you can still learn a lot about harmonizing. Doing that you will end up singing all of the harmonies as lower harmonies, that is, harmonies below the melody. If you want to work on upper harmonies these CDs will not work for you since the melodies are all in alto range. The lower harmonies taught on CDs #2 and #3, with the exception of "Walk Away Renee", all fall in a baritone range. There is some instruction on the CDs about singing an octave below, and you can also try to sing an octave below the "Isolated Vocal Parts" audio sample on the main detail page to see if that works for you.

A baritone singer wrote in with another option: he used the Audacity audio editor to pitch-shift the tracks to a lower key. It is available for free from Sourceforge here.

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What are parallel harmonies?
Parallel harmonies are the most common kind of harmony you'll hear in contemporary music. The Eagles, Rascal Flatts, CSN&Y, Lady Antebellum, the Everly Brothers, Dixie Chicks, and Boys II Men all sing parallel harmonies. Parallel harmony is when one or more voices follow the shape of the melody but stay above or below the melody.

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I can't hold a tune at all, will this help me?
You need to be able to hold a melody to successfully use these CDs. If you can't do that you'd be better off first working your ear with the No Scales, Just Songs Vocal Workout.

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I can't pan the speakers on my stereo, can I still use the CDs?
Yes, but you won't be able to completely isolate specific vocal parts. You can listen to the different speakers to hear more or less of your part, or if you can listen on headphones or earbuds pull one headphone or earbud off your ear to isolate the parts. Another option is to buy a used, older stereo receiver on ebay since older receivers often have a speaker balance dial—of course make sure the receiver has a speaker balance dial before you buy it.

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Every time I try to harmonize I end up singing the other part. Will this help me?
Yes—because you can pan your speakers to hear more or less of the other vocal parts, at first you can "dial in" more of (or only) your part. Once you are confident with your part you can gradually add more of the other voice or voices so that your ear learns how to hear one part while you sing another.

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I can find and sing upper harmonies just fine, but not lower ones. Will this help?
Yes—The second half of the program focuses on finding and singing lower harmonies.

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I can't read music and I don't know a thing about music theory.
The CDs cover the music theory you need to know for harmonizing, and it's all by ear. No note reading is required.

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Several of us want to work on this together and then sing our parts without guide vocals.
Music tracks without vocals are included so you can practice any and all parts on your own. One of you will need to sing the melody while the others sing the harmony parts. The starting notes for all the parts are in the CD booklet.

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I've used Susan Anders' No Scales Just Songs Vocal Workout and I recognize some of these songs. Are these the same versions with harmonies added?
The music tracks for six of the eight songs are also on either Volumes 1 or 2 of the Alto/Bass versions of the No Scales Just Songs Vocal Workout. The melody and harmony vocals are new.

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Can I use this in the car?
Yes, but you might have difficulty if you want to pan your speakers or repeat instructional sections while driving.

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Is this something children can use?
Young people age ten and up can benefit from Harmony Singing by Ear. I've received notes from parents of kids younger than that who also have used the CDs successfully. The earlier singers learn harmony singing the easier it is. However, some younger people may not have the patience to sit through the theory and instructional sections. These singers can still improve their harmonizing skills by learning the individual harmony parts and then singing them with the 3-part tracks.

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Can you give me more details on how to use the CDs?

Here is a reprint from the CD booklet on how to use Harmony Singing by Ear:

Listen to and become familiar with the melody of whichever song you are about to harmonize before learning the harmony part. To do that, go to the track + upper harmony (UH) vocal of each song on CD #1 and pan the balance knob of your speakers to the left so you just hear the melody and music. If you don't have a speaker balance knob you can focus on the speaker playing the melody, not the harmony part. Make any marks on the lyrics (like up and down arrows to indicate melodies going up or down) if that helps you remember the melody.

Listen and sing along with the instructional tracks. When you work with the music tracks, pan your speakers to the left or right to hear as much or as little of your part as you want. Your goal is to be able to sing your part with the speaker panned to the far left so you don't have a guide vocal to follow.

If you just want to learn the harmony parts: skip the instruction tracks, play the music tracks panned to the right to hear and learn your part. Then sing with the track, panning your speakers to the left or right to hear as much or as little of your part as you want.

Work your way straight through the three CDs, learning how to do upper, then lower harmonies. Skip the music-only tracks at the end of CD #3 unless you want to practice any harmony part with the music alone, or if you want to sing lead with them.

If two or more of you are working with the CDs there are several ways they can be used:

Method #1: All singers work their way straight through the three CDs, learning and singing the same part. This is good for very beginning harmony singers.

Method #2: One singer learns the upper harmony parts while the other learns the melody or lower harmony parts. A third singer can learn the remaining part. Once you have leaned a two or three-part vocal arrangement you can practice it with the music-only tracks at the end of CD #3.

If higher (alto or soprano) and lower (tenor or baritone) singers are working together, you can use Method #2, or you can both start with learning the upper harmony on CD #1. If you do the latter arrangement the lower singer sings the upper harmony an octave below the higher singer. How to do this is explained on CD#1, track 8.

If your vocal ranges allow, you may want to learn different harmony positions on different songs to hear how they work with each other.

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Can I see a list of all the tracks?
You can see all of the tracks on the album download page.

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If you have any other questions please write to Susan
 



© 2019 Susan Anders/Zanna Discs