Exploring Close Harmony

Close Harmony is when the distance between the notes of the chord are close together. The range of the full chord, from highest to lowest pitch, might be very narrow. This kind of harmony is very popular in barbershop music, vocal jazz and more recently, in the contemporary choral music of composers such as Eric Whitacre, Ola Gjeilo and Morten Lauridsen.

When singing close harmony, your singers need to feel comfortable with harmonic dissonance. One great activity to develop this skill, was shared by choir leader Kerry Gerraty, in the Creative Choir Leader Group. Here it is…

“Looking for a harmony challenge? Get your choir to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in different keys simultaneously. Tonight I had my group doing it in C and F then C and G# then split to 3 and did A, D and F#. Up the challenge and go with really close harmony. It’s hilarious, surprisingly tuneful or discordant at times and also a brilliant exercise in focus!

Watch an example of this activity from Ed Aldcroft’s Barcelona English Choir:

Looking for another harmony exercise to try with your choir? Try this one:

Read more ideas to develop your choir here…