Several exercises can help you master how to harmonize with a session when playing the fiddle. Try them!
- With a friend: Think about the six chords of Pachabel’s canon. They neatly emcompass six common keys, and all their common harmonious notes that you could play to complement them. (see pic)
- Identify all the notes present on each chord. Practice playing arpeggio’s up and down them, listening to how they sound together. You are then playing the first, third, fifth, and eighth notes in a scale. (First and eighth being the same note different pitch)
- Practice playing all the “top” notes of the series; then all the lowest, etc etc. Hold each for a four count.
- With a friend, practice moving at the same four count, both of you choosing a different line. When you move from note to note, you can only choose either the same note you were playing, or if it’s not in the complementary choices, play the next closest note there. Train your ear to how this sounds, and what notes work with which transitions. (D major to B Minor, etc.)
- Once you have mastered the four beat one note harmony, work on one person holding the four note while the other plays two notes of the complementary root family: the notes should be the same note you would have played for the initial exercise and then the note either two higher or two lower, twice, so that you return to the initial note before the next transition. (listen here)