How Well Do You Understand Harmony?

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by drmilktruck, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Jazz keyboardist is charged with explaining harmony to five people - a child, a teen, a music school student, a professional musician and Herbie Hancock.

    Which level are you? I'm just a tiny bit beyond the teen.
  2. thunder58

    thunder58 I Bleed Orange

    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    My Masonic Lodge is Harmony Lodge #199 ....... I don't understand these guys sometimes myself :p
  3. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    My nurse for the last five years is named Harmony. I don't understand her at all! :D
    Howard hughes and thunder58 like this.
  4. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Complementary tones, or complementary to the melody.
    Howard hughes likes this.
  5. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
  6. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Cool video! I'm a little beyond the teenager, but well below the college student. I am dimly aware that the conversation with Herbie Hancock was in English.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  7. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Country Gent

    I may not be able to completely explain harmony, but I have sung in church choirs since I was in elementary school. Being a tenor/high tenor most of my life (I'm more tenor/low tenor now), I have been singing harmony for a very long time. When I hear a melody, I can find a harmony line pretty quick, and given a little more time, I will likely find a couple more.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I may not know how to explain harmony in technical terms, but I sure know it when it comes into my head.
  8. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    I thought he kinda just blabbed on in the first video honestly. Haven't watched the second one.
  9. 19MGB76

    19MGB76 Gretschie

    Jul 31, 2018
    "Injecting with emotion"??

    This guy would have been bounced from my college theory classes and flagged as a nitwit.

    Didn't bother past telling that to the teenager.
  10. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Where's the "was this helpful?" tick box? I need to tick the "no" option...........
    Howard hughes and 19MGB76 like this.
  11. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Country Gent

    I just got a chance to watch the whole video. Super cool stuff, going from simplistic to highly artistically original. Loved it!
    Alberta_Slim and Howard hughes like this.
  12. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    The farther he got, the more obscure the substitutions. I’d never thought about subbing an Ab7 for a C7, but you can get away with anything if you can find your way back to resolution. Somewhere around Herbie, I started just nodding and pretending to agree. :) Man, Herbie looks good. It’s hard to believe that he’s been around since the Declaration of Independence. :)
  13. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    In Jazz, you are in the world of chord substitutions and you improvise over, not just the chords the song uses, but also over possible substitutions. After a while, you aren’t even conscious of the substitutions, it becomes automatic.
    Alberta_Slim and Howard hughes like this.
  14. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Country Gent

    Yes, I noted that as I got to see the whole video. Once they got to Herbie Hancock, I was in way over my head, although I could hear what they were talking about.
    MotorCentaur and Howard hughes like this.
  15. Tele295

    Tele295 Country Gent

    Jun 4, 2008
    Ventura, CA
    Long ago, my guitar teacher (with a degree in arranging from Berkeley) explained it to me like this:

    “Harmony is any two notes. What more do you want to know?”
    19MGB76, new6659 and drmilktruck like this.
  16. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Country Gent

    Jan 22, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    "When you understand physics, you understand everything."
    new6659, drmilktruck and Alberta_Slim like this.
  17. Alberta_Slim

    Alberta_Slim Gretschie

    May 18, 2018
    Like @LivingMyDream I've been singing tenor harmony for a long time, since high school in my case. I'm lucky enough to have the gift of good ears, but because I'm trying to become a good swing rhythm guitarist, I'm finally getting my head around harmony from a technical standpoint. Right now I kind of occupy a cloud somewhere around the teen to college student level. :D

    Herbie Hancock is the perfect choice for the advanced level of this video. Because of the small bunch of albums between Head Hunters and Secrets, he's far and away my favorite keyboard player. The way he uses the Clavinet and most of all the Fender Rhodes on those albums is like an encyclopedia of harmony and improvisation. If you haven't heard them, do yourself a big favor, and I don't mean just to appreciate his sophistication but because they're so much fun!

    One more story about his time with Miles that relates to what was said about choices: apparently he said something to Miles about how when it came time to take a solo, sometimes the only thing that seemed appropriate given all the possibilities was to play nothing. Miles replied, "Fine, just sit there like a (expletive) idiot." :p
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  18. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    I know enough to write my little songs but not more than that.
    drmilktruck likes this.
  19. Winterwind

    Winterwind Gretschie

    Dec 17, 2018
    London, Ontario
    Alright mate... I've got my eye on you! There are lots and lots of youtube videos about you lot!

    Hmmm... note to self... need more tinfoil.
    drmilktruck and Alberta_Slim like this.
  20. Setzerhotrod

    Setzerhotrod Country Gent

    Oct 26, 2011
    Anchorage Alaska
    Before I watch I'll say 1,3,5,7,9,11,13
    After I watch, I'll tell you how much of a dumbass I feel like
    Alberta_Slim likes this.
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