Say, I am going to use my vocal into a chrod progression like C Am Dm G (that belongs to C major scale). Since a chord consists of three notes. As I know I can give voice any notes belonging to that specific chord. For example, in C(major), I can match my voicing to C, E or G notes which I like. Say, I have chosen C note from C(major) chord and A note from Am chord and D note from Dm chord and G note from G (major) chord for using my vocal. The C major scale consists of C, D, E, F, G, A, B,C(higher octave). My question is.. while my voicing into note in a scale C, can I replace D note by higher octave D note (during Dm chord)so that D note becomes the higher note above A note while using my voice? So,in thae chord progression of C Am Dm G my voicing would be like..C note(higher octave's), A note, D note(of higher octave), G note...I am confused. Pl. help...

  • Your question depends on the context. For instance, in a four part harmony a voice may skip any consonant interval only not larger than an octave. However in non-classical music there are no such strict rules. So yeah, why not? Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 15:05
  • Ty bro. Your answers say that you have got my question clearly. I would be happy if you explain in details what do mean by 'a voice may skip any consonant interval only not larger than an octave'?
    – user9362
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 17:17

4 Answers 4


Your question is very confusing, can you elaborate a bit further?

What I'm deducing from it though, does seem plausible. You can play a Cmajor chord and sing any C E G or C that you'd like. The octave is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. You can even sing notes that don't belong to the triad, or even the scale. You could sing a B or Bb to make it a maj7 or 7 chord, respectively. You could also sing and play passing tones.

There are notes that provide a smoother transition into other chords, but again you can most certainly sing or play an octave of a note of the chord of which it belongs and transition accordingly to your following note or chord. If it sounds good, do it.

If you can elaborate on your question, I can go into more detail.

  • Ty bro. I am just thinking how to match singing with playing. If you have any other information or site regarding this, pl. give me it. first, I have to learn it properly and then, I am going to ask you my question and other queries more elaborately leaving no confusion.
    – user9362
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 13:32

Yes, of course you can. You rightly say that, for example, any D note sung will fit over a Dm chord, etc. However, if you sung a C on C, A on Am, D on Dm etc, your notes are going to sound more like what a bass player may play at that time, albeit higher, whichever octave you sing in. It would sound better, and more cohesive, to choose notes that are closer to the sung one for the next chord, and so on. If other voices are sung at the same time, for example, the C on Cmaj. could carry on and be the C on Amin.Or have I missed the point of your question ?


As I undertand your question, you certainly can sing octaves above or below, with no problem, as long as you sing notes belonging to the harmonic field of the chord.

Although it seems that you are talking about singing improvisation. In that case, you are also free to jump up or down, but if you want to sound really neat you should take one little care (a piece of Palestrina's advice):

Avoid paralelisms. That is: if the bass (or other instrument) jumps up to the D you said, do not do the same at the same time. That would be a paralel octave. Go down (to A or something else) instead. Same is valid for paralel fifths: if you are at G (harmony at C, bass at C or below), the bass goes up to the D (harmony at D), don't go up to A. You could go then up to D, that is acceptable (not too recomended though, it's a paralel 4th). To sumarize: avoid paralels octaves and fifths, forths when possible. Up or down.

More so, I would recomend you to study counterpoint to get this scenario. Once you interiorize it, you will feel what paralelism is, and why it's best to avoid it. It actually kills the harmony power of the momentum.


yes, I don't think you realize that all octave notes of the same letter can be interchanged as far as your instrument goes. On the keyboard you literally have 5 A's at your disposal, it's up to you to stretch it that far in a song.

  • Actually, eight A's on a standard piano!
    – Richard
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 20:18

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