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What are these harmonies?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Nirvalica, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. Nirvalica

    Nirvalica Guest

    This question is probably going to make me sound like a noob, but what type of harmonies is T-pain using in this song? There's just so many different harmonies going on. I can't pick them out and I don't have much experience with it. If that question doesn't make sense, then basically, how do I harmonize like t-pain in that song? What scales/chords/ whatever is he using? Sorry if this is the wrong forum, I couldn't find anything better.

    Here's the track: YouTube - T-Pain feat. Young Jeezy - REVERSE COWGIRL
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Never fear, you're half way there.

    The fact you're here indicates you must have a computer and you probably have some sort of recording device.

    Now all you need is this:

    T-P in a box

    Little to no actual singing skill needed.
  3. Nirvalica

    Nirvalica Guest

    I have Auto-tune Evo. I just want to know how to get those types of harmonies. I don't care if it's software or by trying to learn to sing different notes of a scale or chord.
  4. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    I listened to the whole thing and didn't notice anything outside of major chords.

    I'm not the best one here to guide anyone in music theory, but the background vocal harmonies move from a C# major to an inversion of a G# major that uses a C in the bass and a F# major and G# major.

    I think there are just lots of them stacked up for density and they sound supernatural because they are not natural.
  5. Nirvalica

    Nirvalica Guest

    So do you use the third and fifth of the root to create major harmonies? I don't really know much about harmonizing at all.
  6. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Quick primer in rudimentary harmony. Take a given scale-C Major for instructional purposes only-and write it out on a piece of staff paper. Now for good measure write in Roman numerals under the scale notes in order I(C) through VIII (C). Over each note you've just printed, place two notes a third and fifth higher. Eg: over the C you will write in an E and a G; over the D you will write in an F and an A; continue until the scale is completed.

    Each of these are root position chords made up of stacked thirds. A major chord is a chord with a major third on the bottom (4 half steps) and a minor third on top (3 half steps). A minor chord is a chord with the minor third on the bottom and a major third stacked on top of that. A diminished chord is a minor third stacked on a minor third. The Roman numerals technicallly are upper case if a Major chord and lower case if a minor chord. Diminished is also lower case. So the chords in a C Major scale are: I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii, I. Again these are root position chords. An inversion of a chord merely means a note other than the root is in the bass or bottom of the played chord. It doesn't matter what order the notes are in other than the bass as the bottom note is the sole determining factor of the inversion. A C Major 1st inversion chord then has the E on the bottom and in whatever order a C and G above that. A C Major 2nd inversion chord has the G on the bottom and in whatever order a C and E above.

    Standard chord progression is a I chord followed by a IV chord followed by a V chord returning to a root position I chord. By adding in other chords or substituting chords one can extend the progression. I-vi-IV-ii-V-I for instance or maybe I-vi-IV-ii-V-vi-I(2nd inversion)-V7-I. One can invert any of the chords at any time but traditionally the final chord is in root position. Again it is the bottom most note in the chord that determines it's position of root or 1st inversion or 2nd inversion or so on.
  8. Nirvalica

    Nirvalica Guest

    Thanks a lot to all of you that replied, especially Jack for that great explanation. That helped.
  9. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Come on man....we're just trying to put together some SuperNatural Natural sounding harmonies...why you gotta slam us with all this Roman stuff? What kinda music did those guys ever contrubute?
  10. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member


    I am Spartacus?
  11. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Harmonies??, we don't need no stinkin harmonies!
    All you need is that Autotune software or maybe Melodyne
    But that stuff isn't real harmonies....real harmonies would involve real people singing together in harmony!
    That stuff is just weird sounding spacey vocal effects produced by aliens....LOL
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    C, E-flat and G go into a bar. The bartender says, “sorry, but we don’t serve minors.” So E-flat leaves, and C and G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and G is out flat. F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough. D comes in and heads for the bathroom saying, “Excuse me. I’ll just be a second.”

    Then A comes in, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. Then the bartender notices B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and says, “Get out! You’re the seventh minor I’ve found in this bar tonight.”

    E-Flat comes back the next night in a three-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender says, “you’re looking sharp tonight. Come on in, this could be a major development.” Sure enough, E-flat soon takes off his suit and everything else, and is au natural.

    Eventually C sobers up and realizes in horror that he’s under a rest. C is brought to trial, found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of D.S. without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.
  13. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Wait a minute...G IS the fifth?
  14. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Yeah, what have the Romans ever done for us?
  15. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Built a wall to keep those pesky Brits in the south of the island?:tongue:
  16. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    I like that long explanation of what chords are - but hardly any mention of harmony.

    Here is the trick to harmony - avoid parallel notes. The best harmonies are (generally) in thirds. This means that you sing the note that is either the major or the minor thrid above the melody note.

    Now, keep in mind that a 6th-interval is merely an inverted 3rd. In other words (key of C), melody note c has a harmony note of e (that is a major 3rd). Or, if you have an e in the melody your harmony note can be G (the minor 3rd above), or it can be C a major 6th above the E. In short, these notes harmonize: c - e - c ( I - III - VIII) or these notes E - G - E - (III V X). these are combinations of 3rds and 6ths.

    What does NOt work is paralell harmonies - say where your melody note is based on G (the V of the scale) and you write your harmony based on the C (8va) above it moving in parallel. That just sounds bad.

    Most vocal harmonies are always in thirds. You rarely stack a V on top of the III because then asyou continue to harmonize with the melody you are using parallel harmonies. (between the I and V notes). Parallel motion in harmonies is considered bad form in all cases.

    Now, what you can do is this; continue stacking thirds as in: I III V Vii IX (C E G Bb D) which is a nine chord. Think of the stacked vocals on "twist & shout" by the Beatles. You can even do harmonies on a I chord based on extended harmonies, such as the 7-9 combination. Think "I Feel Free" by Cream, Jack Bruce is singing the minor 7th while Clapton is on the Major 2nd. That is harmony in thirds, based in the melody note being the dominant 7th of the scale.

    Just remember - always think thirds first, and avoid paralellel motion (meaning do not use 4ths or 5ths going the same direction, up or down).

    Here are sample harmonies (on atop the other)

    e-f-g-a-B-c-d-e -f-g

    The b may be a Bb - depending. This is where harmony gets interesting. There are no rules, only what sounds good.
  17. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Harmony is a little more complex than that. Moving in parallels (unless you're talking about organum Notre Dame or otherwise) get's lame pretty quick. Parallel thirds is better in some respects than parallel fifths etc. There are accepted chord progressions to our ears and sometimes melissmatic parallel thirds works well in that structure. Sometimes it would be better to have counter melodies which is far more common. "Horn fifths" (no not the kind with a bottle) is yet another option.

    The reason I didn't get too in depth was simply that the working common vocabulary aural and verbal has to be present to have a discussion of any merit.
  18. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Just to iterate what dvdhawk already said. There's no harmonies in that song. There's some layered backgrounds but they're not harmonized per se. All I hear is autotune.
  19. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    By the way, I listened to the song and it is basic III-V harmonies. The melody note hits the root and the harmony goes

    3 4 5 4 3
    5 6 7 6 5

    it uses the major 7.

    Jack, right you are, except I don't consider 3rds moving in the same direction to be "parallel" because the interval between notes changes from major to minor, I learned Parallel to mean the interval remains perfect, as in perfect fourths or fifths, but yes, harmony notes generally move in the same direction by definition. It is the fact that 3rd and 6ths change from major to minor that keeps them from sounding like Roman Brass fanfares ("announcing Caesar!").
  20. husky band

    husky band Guest

    He's doing a lot of 4 against 1. or singing a 4 chord while the lead is still on the 1 chord. Like playing a C chord against an F chord ending up with a (c e f g a c e) bi-tonal thing.

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