Self harmonizing, key choice

UkingViking

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Hi UU,

I am considering trying to add more voices to my own home recordings, trying to learn 2. and perhaps 3. voices.

But how to transpose the song...

I have a limited vocal range, and as for most males I will usually sound more interesting near the top of my range. But if I want to add a higher 2. voice I would need to keep some extra air between the melody in the chosen key and the highest notes I can reach.

Does anybody have experince with this and recommendations of some kind?

Should I just choose the key where the melody line is best for my vocal range and only add lower harmonics, or transpose a bit lower?
 

merlin666

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It's safe to add the notes of the relevant chords as intervals. So for example add step 3 (for a C that's an E) and then step 5 (a G) to complete the harmonies. Try to find some choral music sheets as examples how different voices work.
 

Jim Hanks

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There's no set answer. You arrange to fit the vocal range and number of voices you want. And of course those goals may conflict with each other so you make the appropriate trade off. You can also look to pitch shifting software to attempt to extend the range although how well that works is also an exercise in trial-and-error
 

UkingViking

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I think I have been going about this the wrong way.
I had gotten the impression that the 2. voice would usually follow the melody line, kind of transposed, but I realize now that it aint.
Is it correctly understood that when the melody goes up of down the scale using notes outside of the chord, the 2. voice would often stick to notes that belongs to the chord?

However, I think the best thing for me to do right now is just to record the melody as if I didn't intend to put in more voices, and then see if I can make something fit.
 

Jim Hanks

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I think I have been going about this the wrong way.
I had gotten the impression that the 2. voice would usually follow the melody line, kind of transposed, but I realize now that it aint.
Is it correctly understood that when the melody goes up of down the scale using notes outside of the chord, the 2. voice would often stick to notes that belongs to the chord?

However, I think the best thing for me to do right now is just to record the melody as if I didn't intend to put in more voices, and then see if I can make something fit.
Again, there's no hard and fast rules here. Harmony can move parallel to the melody, opposite to the harmony, stick to chord tones, etc.

I think your idea of focusing on the melody first is generally a good one as different harmony schemes can often work over the same melody line. Such "reharmonization" is often used in jazz circles as a way to "make your mark" on a tune.