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software for harmony

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Susan-Marie 05 Nov 99 - 11:45 AM
dick greenhaus 05 Nov 99 - 12:37 PM
_gargoyle 05 Nov 99 - 11:11 PM
Susan-Marie 12 Nov 99 - 08:41 AM
Susan-Marie 15 Nov 99 - 09:26 AM
John in Brisbane 15 Nov 99 - 06:31 PM
Susan-Marie 16 Nov 99 - 09:11 AM
John in Brisbane 16 Nov 99 - 06:40 PM
Penny S. 16 Nov 99 - 07:08 PM
Mary in Kentucky 16 Nov 99 - 07:31 PM
Alan of Australia 17 Nov 99 - 08:19 AM
John in Brisbane 17 Nov 99 - 08:29 AM
Mary in Kentucky 17 Nov 99 - 11:43 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 17 Nov 99 - 12:38 PM
John in Brisbane 18 Nov 99 - 02:22 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 18 Nov 99 - 06:16 PM
John in Brisbane 18 Nov 99 - 11:56 PM
John in Brisbane 07 Sep 00 - 09:26 AM
wysiwyg 15 Jul 01 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,Frank 15 Jul 01 - 12:56 PM
pavane 15 Jul 01 - 04:24 PM
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Subject: software for harmony
From: Susan-Marie
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 11:45 AM

A friend who plays fiddle by ear is interested in learning how to pick out harmony to some of the Irish trad tunes he plays. He thinks if he could get a software program that writes harmony, he could use it to show him (actually play it using the sound card)harmony to songs he already knows the melody to. He wants to learn to hear the harmony, not learn written thirds and fifths, etc. ANyone have any ideas? I've already recommended the MArx tapes on singing harmony, but since he doesn't sing I don't know if that will help.


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 12:37 PM

The best I've encountered is ABCMUS; it takes tunes written in ABC or SongWright format, and sets chords of adjustable complexity to them, and then plays them (with harmony). It's shareware.


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: _gargoyle
Date: 05 Nov 99 - 11:11 PM

KEEP AWAY !!!! from the written music....

He "knows" ( or should quickly learn a 3rd and 5th)

A suggestion: Tune the fiddle the night before.....leave it outside the room....in the morn they should arise...with at least four notes on their brain (tune in the radio to wakeup...it need be).......go to the fiddle each morn...and try to emulate the tune from their waking...and then drop it a third and then again a fifth....

Sixty days MAX....and of harmony they will have no doubt....(they may also lack a spouse.)


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: Susan-Marie
Date: 12 Nov 99 - 08:41 AM

Dick - Thanks very much for the recommendation. I just downloaded ABCMUS but I don't see any commands for adding a harmony line to a melody. IS it something that the Cyberbacker chord function does, or is it an additional function I'll get when my check for the registration goes through?


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: Susan-Marie
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 09:26 AM

Let's see if I can get someone to bite on a Monday....


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 06:31 PM

Hi Susan Marie, for me this is one of the Holy Grails of music along with chord recognition, voice recognition and score recognition. And the quest for the Grail can be successful at times. By way of example ABCMUS1.1 does a pretty fair job of assigning chords to tunes, WinJammer does a excellent job of naming very complex chords which reside in Midis, plus SharpEye provides fair to very good recognition of printed scores.

Being blessed with a good ear for harmony can be a curse when you try to impart that knowledge to others, particularly when some people learn best by seeing the dots. For that reason I posted what I hope may be the start of a series of simple harmonies to Alan's Mudi site just last week - lots of peole can assist in this.

There are some programs that purport to do what you ask, but I've never seen one actually perform in this regard. If no one else has more concrete suggestions, I'll check this out for you in the next couple of weeks.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: Susan-Marie
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 09:11 AM

Thanks John. My friend says he's been trying to learn harmony for years and that a few more weeks or months won't hurt while I see what I can find. If I can't find a program that writes good harmony I'll suggest he just find tunes - like the ones you've been putting on Alan's site - that already have harmony and he can learn from those. I also suggested he start with our church hymnal - nothing like a hymn for basic harmony.

So, regarding ABCMUS, it will write chords as harmony but not a harmony line? That's what I'm seeing in the software, but I had interpreted Dick's message to mean I could get it to write a simple harmony. Maybe I mis-interpreted.


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 06:40 PM

Susan Marie, I had quite a long look at this last night, but I'm yet to reach any firm conclusions. The harmonisers that I've found to date tend to provide a harmony backing based around chords and derivations of chords (arpeggios). I've downloaded Sweet Midi Harmoniser but haven't got to first base yet. And I've posed your question at the Music Siftware Discussion Forum at Software Music Machine.

The thought also strikes me that the basic text nature of ABC may lend itself to writing simple thirds or fifths - mabe Bruce O could comment on this.

Likewise the numeric structure of the Miditext files generated by ALan's Mudcat program may also have some possibilities for simple data manipulation, but at this point I don't know how to interpret the numbers.

Just a few thoughts. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: Penny S.
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 07:08 PM

What I found hrelped me with harmony (simple), was Candida Tobin's Colour Music Scheme's harmony section. Suddenly the chords made sense, and then I could go off and find notes which worked with tunes, write counterpoint, and so on. Not great, but playable.

Penny


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 07:31 PM

John--Where is Alan's Midi Site?

Thanks, Mary


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 08:19 AM

G'day,
Mary, click here.

If you want to hear a tune you must download first (right click & choose Save from the menu) then play using any midi player, e.g. Windows media player.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 08:29 AM

Mary, the URL for Alan's site is http://mudi.homepage.com/

Susan Marie, I have a solution for your friend, but I've just lost the text of a rather long response I'd penned to you. Suffice to say that the solution is low cost/no cost. I'll post a trial to Alan's site tomorrow - after I get some sleep.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 11:43 AM

Thanks Alan and John. For some reason I cannot get the file. The error message says "Cannot copy file. File system error (1026)." I'll keep trying. And I'm still following this thread to learn more about writing harmony!

Mary


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 12:38 PM

I think that there are a couple of questions that need to be cleared up before a satisfactory answer is devised here-even if there turns out to be a software program that can write a harmony line--

First, what is the harmony part for? Is it a voice part that is desired, or is it an instrumental harmony?

If you want a computer program to create a harmony part, you have to remember that there are different kinds of harmony parts that go with different types of music--

If you find a program that will write a harmony part, it is still necessary to figure out whether it is an appropriate part for the music that you want to perform--

Folk music genres each tend to have their own fairly specific rules for harmonizing and accompanying, and even when they happen to follow the rules of classical harmony(which they don't always do) classical rules would allow a lot of notes and parts that would sound OK, but wouldn't sound exactly right--

I am a composer (more or less) and learned to write harmony parts by the theory rules (or actually by a lot of different theory rules) before I got so that I could just sing or play a harmony part for a given song (I really sort of cheat on this, because I have figured out musical rules for the parts, and I figure it out as I go, rather than just feeling the part)--

Rather that trying to work with a computer program at all it would be much easier to just listen to the music and ask persistant and pointed questions of everyone who plays and sings(like here in the forum) so that you can figure out how to do it yourself--

There are two reasons--first, assuming that there is a progam that does what you want, you would still have to understand enough about harmony to know if the part that the program wrote was right, and if (actually when) it wasn't, how to change it so that it was.

Second, writing a harmony part is like writing a sentence--it is the expression of a human idea, you don't count on the word processor to create the sentence, you have to have know what you want to say first-only then you can use the computer to cut, paste, and otherwise edit--

there was a discussion a little while back where people talked about how they figured out their harmony parts, and there were some great tips--only thing is that I don't remember the thread name--


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 18 Nov 99 - 02:22 AM

Sorry guys, but I've had no spare time today to do anything further. I will follow up as soon as I can.

M.Ted, you've made some excellent points. My aim here is to provide something (anything?) which provides a harmony starting point for Mudcatters to play around with, have fun and then learn by doing it. One of my mottoes is "Just get out there and make some mistakes". If we can take advantage of your theory and experience, that's fantastic! I'll be careful to express any of my solutions as experimental and urge Mudcatters not to accept bookings at Carnegie Hall - just yet.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 18 Nov 99 - 06:16 PM

John, Didn't mean to be critical, and I sounded that way, I think--as I love computer music programs -It would, by my reckoning, be possible to write a program that could incorporate the rules for devising or adding harmony parts to melodies that are more or less in the appropriate genre, although I think it is way easier just to write out a melody in the sequencer program and do a little cutting and pasting--


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 18 Nov 99 - 11:56 PM

No dramas MTed,I viewed your input as complementary and it's always good to have qualified advice on hand. My main reason for contributing to this forum is to encourage people to try new things, maybe it's a song that hasn't been notated before or to help people to find new ways to enjoy an existing resource. In the case of Susan-Maries friend I hope that he/she will make an intelligent assessment of whether a particular (PC generated) harmony is suitable and (in time) compensate as necessary. I still classify myself as a beginner even though I've submitted over 200 tunes to Mudcat - I hadn't wriiten a note of music prior to 18 months to go, so I've still got heaps to learn. Over the weekend I hope to start a thread to enlist the help of other Mudcatters who use NoteWorthy Composer (or similar) to try out some tunes with simple Thirds as harmony. I would value you input at that time. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 07 Sep 00 - 09:26 AM

Just recycling this thread to provide a couple of updates.

Some time ago I wrote some simple instructions to allow users of NoteWorthy Composer to easily create a harmony of Thirds for simple tunes. This guide is now installed at the NWC site and is part of the User Guide for NWC.

A step up from this, but a helluva lot more daunting, is some newish software (Free) called ABCTwin available from http://www.logeny.com/abctwin.htm

It works using ABC notation to which you must add chords to get a reasonable result of two new harmony lines. I won't labour the point here too much but this process is not for newcomers. Suffice to say that you need a number of pieces of other software to get a usable result. But it does use a technique that die-hard folkies will appreciate - get the chords right in the first instance and good harmonies are the result. Change the chords and you'll get something else. If I ever get some spare time I'll have a bit more of a play with it. Maybe Sorcha or Snuffy can have a try. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Jul 01 - 11:33 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 15 Jul 01 - 12:56 PM

There isn't a software program that will select chords for your melody. I have Finale, Encore, Sibelius and Mosaic. None of those will do it. You might do this however. Get Band in the Box and plug in chords that might fit by measure sequence. Trial and error. This is pretty much the way musicians harmonize a melody. Start with simple chords and afterwards, try more complex progressions.

Many fiddle tunes are based on three chords, Tonic (I), Sub-dominant (!V) and Dominant seventh (V7) chords. Some of the Irish tunes require a more sophisticated harmony than the Old Time tunes. Many are "modal" tunes which require chord progressions that fit a specific mode.

Trial and error. Irving Berlin, the famous songwriter used to hire trained musicians to help him devise chords. He had the money to do the following, the trained musician would play the first chord. Berlin would assent or reject the chord until he heard what he wanted. Then the same procedure would start with the second chord. And so on until the chord selection was complete. He heard the chords he wanted in his head but was unable to identify them in notation.

Chord playing is an art form as is constructing a melody. Computer generated melodies and chord progressions would sound just like that.

The best thing a fiddler can do is learn the guitar or the piano and study chords.

Frank


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Subject: RE: software for harmony
From: pavane
Date: 15 Jul 01 - 04:24 PM

You might want to try my program (FREE AT PRESENT), which adds chords to a melody (and understands modal tunes as well). Other mudcatters have said it does a better job than ABCMUS. I am always on the lookput for suggestions for improvements, and if you want to add 3rds or 5ths, I can add this to the program.
Download HARMONY from the music page at my web site


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