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DAVE THOMAS - Harmony: A Personal Approach

DAVE THOMAS - Harmony: A Personal Approach
Lulu Enterprises, Inc ISBN: 9781 4716 1671 6

Six decades of playing and singing experience are distilled in this practical guide-book. Written with an engaging warmth and humour, Dave Thomas aims to help both beginners and experienced musicians develop, “the ability to produce original and moving harmonies.” A man with a deep feeling for traditional music, his approach combines the importance of individual creativity, with the need for a supportive framework.

Working from the principles that, “... good music is nothing more nor less than noises that move people… Play/sing to please yourself and not others,” Dave describes, through detailed step-by-step instructions, a process of building harmonies. His core concepts involve identifying the appropriate scale and home note for the melody, while discarding the significance of its key. Beginning from the melody, he explains how, “The harmony should flower from the melody, not just prettify it.”

For a novice like myself, the fundamental ideas are not always grasped on first reading. However, the work repays study, and it seeks to simplify throughout.

The text includes several tables, and excellent charts of chord suggestions. There is also good advice on using computers and appropriate software, tips on learning music notation, and a thorough explanation of chord types (“A chord…is just several notes played together. That’s all.”). A critique of “classical” music is followed by a re-assuring section on developing a personal singing style.

Dave Thomas has delivered a thought-provoking and stimulating book, a brave attempt to demystify a complex area, and an incentive to encourage musical experimentation in us all!

Jim McCourt


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This album was reviewed in Issue 95 of The Living Tradition magazine.