Singing in a girl band has been a popular route for all-female ensembles since the 1920s surge of vaudeville performances and barbershop styles. Girl groups and close harmony singing groups have evolved with the times, moving through popular music genres through the decades into the present day. Modern girl bands now include a diverse range of music styles that are characterised by several female singers harmonising together.
If you are interested in honing the skills you need to sing in a girl band, you’ll firstly need to perfect singing in tune. (Link to other blog?) Being able to control your pitch matching and your ability to move between notes while keeping in tune is absolutely crucial. This is the foundation for developing strong harmonising skills.
Some singers can naturally ‘hear’ and pitch harmonies in their heads, while it takes practice for others to learn this ability. Depending on music and theory knowledge, there are different methods for learning to harmonise.
For those who play an instrument, it can become clear relatively quickly how to find simple vocal harmonies by studying the relationships of major and minor chord triads. Getting used to how 1, 3, 5 and 1, b3, 5 sound, and practicing how to pitch a harmony a 3rd above the root for example, can be an excellent place to start.
But what if you don’t play an instrument, read music very well or know what a triad or a 3rd is? There are plenty of ear training and aural centred learning tools available online that can help. The good news is these harmony training tutorials don’t require music theory knowledge as they are practical based. Saher Galt has a great video tutorial that works through learning about 3rd intervals and how to practice singing these here: How to HARMONIZE vocally
When you’ve mastered pitching single notes, you’ll then want to practice moving from one note to the next so you can harmonise sections, and whole lines of music. A great method for practicing longer sections is to choose a piece of music that has a clear harmony in it and learn both the melody and harmony parts. This helps you understand their relationship in a really practical way, and teaches you how to sing one line while you are hearing another one – a girl group skill that can take some practice.
If you are singing in a girl band PlayScore 2 can be a useful practice tool for learning and developing your harmonising skills. The app has built in playback features that allow you to edit the volume of different parts, meaning you can sing along with whichever lines you want to hear from your sheet music. You can solo or mute voices in this way, and use PlayScore 2 as an accompaniment device for learning pieces, improving your sight reading, and developing your group singing skills.