Tunes with harmony lines

Tunes with harmony lines

First, a technical question. When I’ve seen an an ABC notation of a tune with an accompaniment (i.e. with one or two additional lines) it looks as though the parts are rendered in sequence rather than together: that is, first all the 32 bars (say) of the top line, the whole second part under that, and so on. When this is converted into dots, it appears in this same order on the page. How do you change it to read as parallel lines as in printed MSS, so that you’re reading melody and harmony simultaneously?

Second question … given that session music (being the subject matter of the site) almost always consists of collectively playing the melody, rarely with a prepared accompaniment, is there much interest in seeing tunes posted here with written harmony lines? Reason for asking: the trio I play with has produced quite a few and I’d put some into the collection if I thought they might be of interest.

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Re: Tunes with harmony lines

The ABC notation can be opened in Electric Pipes (Baked Bean, NZ; ep3 format). It is not always a “clean” transfer. The EPipes program presents lines in stacked staff lines. I would be interested in seeing some harmony samples to see if they can be opened in EPipes. If they cannot be opened, the pdf files would also be very useable. My problem is finding tunes that are written in the A mixolydian mode for small pipes. Thanks for asking. DH

Re: Tunes with harmony lines

If it would be allowed, I’d like to look at an .abc file with a harmony as an exemplar. Curious , from the code aspect , how it would be done. Thanks.

Re: Tunes with harmony lines

I don’t know if it’s in scope for the site, but you can add multiple instruments or voices to a staff in ABC notation by inserting a “V:” line before each one. You can test the below example in the https://thesession.org/tunes/editor view. And yes, the below is a really horrible harmony, just filling something in quickly.

X: 1
T: The Tailor’s Thimble
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Ador
V:1
|:cAAG A3B | cA3 dBGB | cAAG ABcd |1 efge dBGB :|2 efge dega ||
|:b2bg a2ga | bage dega | bg3 aged |1 efge dega :|2efge dBGB ||
V:2
|:A4A4|A4G4|A4A4|1E4 G4:|2E4F4||
|:G4F4|G4D4|G4F4|1E4 F4:|2E4G4||

Re: Tunes with harmony lines

You can make the second line bass clef using this …
V:2 clef=bass

Re: Tunes with harmony lines

“is there much interest in seeing tunes posted here with written harmony lines? “ Not from me. I like this music pure.

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Re: Tunes with harmony lines

> How do you change it to read as parallel lines as in printed MSS, so that you’re reading melody and harmony simultaneously?

You’re looking for the %%staves command, I think. Given voices V:1 and V:2,

%%staves 1 2 will produce two separate staffs, %% staves (1 2) will print them as two voices on one staff.

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Re: Tunes with harmony lines

I don’t know anything about the technical side of getting it all lined up on ABC: certainly in standard notation it is preferable to have any harmony parts written over or under the main tune, so that you can see how it all fits together, rather than separately.
I am not averse to harmony parts for some, but not all, tunes: indeed, I write some myself, and have also gleaned a good few from our course tutors. If assembled company on any given occasion prefers not to use them, then so be it. We would tend to play melody and basic accompaniment only first time through, and add harmony parts only on second or third time: adds a bit of colour and contrast, but if it’s not your scene then you don’t have to do it.

Re: Tunes with harmony lines

At the risk of increasing database bloat, I would prefer that if a harmonized melody is added to the database, and if the melody line is different from one previously posted, that two versions be posted. One with just the melody, and another with the harmonized setting. This would allow those who want to ignore the harmony to do so easily.

It also allows printing out most tunes on half a page, which makes it easier to combine two tunes physically on a binder page, or combine them via ABC or other methods for printing two tunes on one page. That can’t work with a harmonized setting that would take up more than half the page.

Re: Tunes with harmony lines

Looks good (apart from some of the tails of the notes going downwards instead of up in the first half of the sheet music version, but still legible.)
Good suggestion too from Conical bore.

Re: Tunes with harmony lines

Trish is right about the stems. The upper stave is incorrect, but the lower stave is correct. Also, the repeat sign at the end of the second line is incorrect: half of the sign should be at the beginning of the third line.

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I presume it’s the gchord=down instruction that made them all downstems.

Re: Tunes with harmony lines

You are correct, DonaldK.

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Re: Tunes with harmony lines

In the ABC standard 2.1 and 2.2 it is stem=down and stem=up on the V: line

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In any case, you only want to force stem direction when combining two voices on a stave; when you have two staffs, as here, both can follow the usual rules.

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Re: Tunes with harmony lines

Not being able to read even one voice quickly I assumed there was some perceptual reason for it when they were split.

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I’d be interested to see those harmonies, I like the tunes on your site too, nice selection.
I prefer the TAB/notation for the melodies to be unaccompanied or just with guitar chords and therefore quite simple harmonies/alternating bass etc and solid percussion.
There are a lot of settings.
Another issue, I guess, would be that melodies with harmonies here on TheSession may suddenly become more popular in some way and would change the tune popularity list.
Maybe just post them to each tune with the word ‘harmony’ and let people use the internet search engines to work it out?
Personally I like lots of different genres too, but I also like that TheSession is basically Celtic (if that’s the right word) and as a site it’s quite forward.

Re: Tunes with harmony lines

David50, you are correct about the stem direction according to the abc 2.1 standard & 2.2 draft.
In fact V:1 gchord=down *should* position the guitar chord below the stave (between V:1 & V:2)
without effecting the stem direction (it would remain the default).
Yet currently the abc on this site (abc2svg?) is not doing that; which is why I said DonaldK’s
persumption was correct. Sorry for not clarifying this a few days ago.

Here is the most recent information about V: properties, chord position & stem direction.
7.1 Voice properties
“For compatibility with previous abcm2ps versions, with abcm2ps, the V: fields may contain:

‘gchord=up’ (default) and ‘gchord=down’
to force the display of chord symbols above or below the staff (see %%pos gchord).”
~ http://moinejf.free.fr/abcm2ps-doc/features.xhtml

“V: fields can contain voice specifiers such as name, clef, and so on.

stem=up/down - forces the note stem direction.”
~ http://abcnotation.com/wiki/abc:standard:v2.2#voice_properties

Thank you, David50 for pointing out how this is supposed to go.

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Re: Tunes with harmony lines

Offtopic perhaps, but I have to ask: how common is it for Irish trad to be played with a harmony line?

From where I sit (California) my perception is that Irish trad is nearly always played in unison.

As everyone probably knows in Highland piping playing in harmony has become the norm in competition, in pipe bands’ “medley” set. (The other competition set, the March/Strathspey/Reel, is done all in unison.)

This is something that’s happened during my time playing in bands; when I started out, harmonies were rare.

Is it now happening in Irish music?

Re: Tunes with harmony lines

Depends, Richard. It has been happening before just now.

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Re: Tunes with harmony lines

I believe that the correct way to move the chords below the staff is:
%%pos gchord down
abcm2ps since 8.85 and abc2svg - so, depends on what version you’re using
http://moinejf.free.fr/abcm2ps-doc/index.html

Re: Tunes with harmony lines [Deprecated abcm2ps syntax:gchord=down]

The real question on thesession.org view is, “Why does the gchord=down directive (on the Voice line) turn all the stems down?” That’s a mystery.

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Re: Tunes with harmony lines

“Depends, Richard. It has been happening before just now.”

For sure the Chieftains were doing it in the 1960s, the Bothy Band in the 1970s, professional recording groups doing highly arranged music.

What I was wondering is how common it is nowadays.

In particular, how common harmony lines are in sessions in Ireland.

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I am very interested in seeing harmony arrangements. Thank you for considering sharing your work.

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More tunes with harmony lines would be a good addition in my opinion.

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“…is there much interest in seeing tunes posted here with written harmony lines?”
Personally I doubt it. Because most sessions playing mostly Irish tunes in unison is what makes it possible for sessions of few or many to session together. Sessions vary but arrangements tend to be rare in Irish-style sessions. That’s not to say never to harmony during a session of this kind; just not formally.

Having said this I often hear harmony in otherwise unison-playing sessions. I often hear variation.
Pre-arranged, written music can unintentionally reduce both variation & harmonic potential.
Posted tunes should have whatever setting each of us plays in our given session; including harmony.
I do not want to exclude harmony from anyone’s setting. Yet your session’s base setting of the tune is essential.

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Re: Tunes with harmony lines

I would really welcome tunes with written harmony parts. Such arrangements would be excellent for say two musicians playing together. Please bring them on…..melody and harmony part, both written in G clef……can’t wait…..great idea

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I would agree that it’s the norm for people to play in unison in sessions: playing in harmony is more for performances. I do confess that I have occasionally played harmony parts in sessions if the part is already committed to memory.