I've wondered about the theory concerning a number of specific songs containing octave harmony - but one song in particular raises an interesting question.

What exactly is happening in the chorus of deadmau5 ft rob swire - ghosts 'n' stuff - where in the lyric "right" and "tonight": But I just wanna play it right, We we're gonna get there tonight - the higher octave seems to drop down a step, forming a new harmonic note, which seems to resolve into a partially dissonant sound.

What is the theory of this approach to harmony?


Actually, I've found another song with the same result. It is the chorus in Phil Collins - Don't Lose My Number - in the lyrics I can't find you - Phil Collins seems to sing F, but if I sing along with a A#/Bb note at an octave lower - I think this creates the same result.

I guess this is based on singing the sharp/flat note from the F Major scale? I find the same idea works on D Major, too.

1 Answer 1


The upper voice drops two steps. The first step, heard only briefly, is known as a "passing tone". It connects the initial octave with the second descending step. That second step forms the interval of a sixth above the main vocal. In standard theory, sixths are considered consonant. Also, both the main vocal pitch and the harmony pitch are part of the underlying chord and therefore consonant with it as well as each other.

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