Abram Level 2 Day 20 Lesson has wrong Exercise 2

Posted in Category Lesson Q&A
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    Bob Long 1 year ago

    Abram's harmonizing lesson, level 2, Day 20 has a lot of helpful ideas on harmonizing. However the Exercise 2 mp3 is not Red River Valley used in the lesson. Also would really be helpful to have the music showing the melody and harmony notes to know how the melody and harmony go together. The harmony notes are written as (A G A G F#), but it took me a while to understand where these fit since the other notes being sung that are in the melody are not shown. I went to some sheet music to figure out the melody notes and by listening a few times I think I figured out what notes Abram was singing. If I heard things correctly where it has the word "sunshine", I think he moved from a high harmony to a low harmony. I think the melody has the notes A then G and he is singing a G then F# (making that basically a Gmaj7 chord). Did I hear correctly?

  • C
    Camille van Niekerk 1 year ago

    Hi, Bob! Abram will get back to you on this. Thank you!

  • A
    Abram St Amand Poliakoff 1 year ago

    Hey Bob!

    Thanks for the catch! I let the team know to put the right exercise in the audio practice. Also I'll see what I can do in regards to making a lead sheet with the melody and harmony written out. 

    So the challenge here with this particular melody is that ideally I would write a harmony that involves both melodic and harmonic motions. So yes to keep it completely melodic I crossed to a lower harmony at the word "Sunshine" with the notes G and F# as a harmony part.

    I think I should have mentioned here that I needed to change the melody to make a completely melodic harmony work that stays in diatonic thirds (most folk versions have A to G on "Sunshine" in the melody, which is really beautiful). So what I did here is change the melody to B and then A instead (one whole step higher for both), so you get those nice thirds (B melody over G lower harmony) and (A melody over the F# harmony). Otherwise you would get wierd half step harmonies that are a little too mod and electronic for a basic harmony). Variations happen a lot in folk melodies, so I took a little creative license here. And yes this makes for a moment of a Gmaj7(9) chord when you add the harmony. 

    An alternative is to stay on a higher harmony and use C# to B so you can keep the melody A to G. It makes a cool suspension adding a raised 4th sound to the G chord. I didn't do this in the lesson because its a little more complicated to explain theory-wise and didn't want to go there with explaining suspensions and such, but in some ways its a more intuative harmony since the parts don't cross. On a second pass I would probably include both options!  

    Let me know if this makes sense to you and feel free to play around with it! It's always a bit of a puzzle finding what you like and making a harmony that fits with what you have.




  • B
    Bob Long 1 year ago


    Yes that is helpful in understanding the harmony you are using and some options. I recognize there will be people watching these with very different musical backgrounds, so it is a challenge to cover everything without getting into too much of the music theory. 

    For myself, I have enough music theory understand that what you are saying makes sense. I appreciate the explanation. I have been playing around with my own versions of some harmonies on this song as I don't have much experience making harmony arrangements. 

    On a related note, I did not find any guide or karaoke tracks for your original song "I'll Always Change". Are they hiding somewhere on one of the lessons? I've started trying to transcribe your song by ear, I think I'm close, but not sure I caught all the notes correctly. That's where a lead sheet would come in very handy!

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