A user recently emailed us about a “Low Ceiling” by Alice In Chains, where (like many Alice In Chains songs) vocal harmony is a big element of the music. The user was interested in Hooktheory we doesn’t currently support vocal harmony in the Theorytab libray Dave responded via email and I thought it was worth posting here.
In Hookpad+ you can of course analyze all the vocal harmonies (since Plus supports polyphony). However, as you noted, at the moment the Theorytab database only supports one voice in the melody (if you export an analysis done in Hookpad+ with Polyphony to the public database it will only take the first voice). We may change this in the future, but we have it like this for 2 reasons. First, we’re really interested in having this database be a reduced analysis of the chords and melody of songs and not a faithful transcription. We know that people would get excited about polyphony and start using it to capture all sorts of detail that isn’t appropriate in a harmonic analysis. The reality is most songs don’t have polyphony to capture (unlike the examples you have in mind) and we think allowing it would lead to an overall decrease in the quality of examples in the database. It is a tradeoff of course and we are thinking about ways to get the best of both worlds. The other reason we don’t have it enabled for now is that polyphony is a Hookpad+ feature and we don’t want to force people to pay for the premium version of the software in order to contribute correct analyses to the database. It’s the reason we don’t limit the chords people have access to in the free version (it would be pretty lame if we say, didn’t allow 7th chords and you had to be a Plus subscriber to analyze songs with these chords).
Hope that explains some of our reasoning. As I say, we know it’s not the perfect solution, but hopefully it makes some sense!