I play the guitar and sing for fun. I have some understanding of music theory but not much. I've been told a couple of times that I was singing the third. I also noticed that when I play around transposing chords (usually with a capo) to find the best vocal range for me I tend to sing the third (or some other note instead of the root/melody?). I wonder why I do that. I usually try to find a key that's good for me to sing, but then sometimes I realize I wasn't singing the right notes, nonetheless I think it sounds good.

Is it wrong? Why do I tend to do that? Any suggestions of how to find the right melody line on a different key?

As a reference, I'm a baritone.

2 Answers 2


It depends quite a lot on the context:

  • The third above a melody is two notes above it in the scale, it could just be you're not completely clear on where the melody goes next.
  • If you're singing with someone, the third is quite a good place to be to find harmonies.

Remember, too, that a key is not a range of pitches, it's a selection of notes. Which key a piece is in doesn't actually effect which pitches you're singing unless you're changing the key, in which case you would sing it so many steps up or down from the original melody.

I do find that changing key to make a song fit your voice better is a bit of a trap, try singing along to a record to get the shape of the melody into your head before making changes to it.


Sounds like you're singing a harmony. But - to do that, there is usually a voice already singing the main tune. Harmonies often work in thirds - think Everly Brothers, et al.It's not wrong, but something inside is making you sing another part apart from the main tune.Some people do this naturally, others work for ages to be able to do it.Not all tunes lend themselves to this phenomenon, but maybe the tunes you do it on do.You may have a small tessitura, which governs the range of singable notes, and it just happens that the ones you sing are contained within this.Sing along to anything and everything. There are songs that it's not good to sing harmony to, and you'll probably find that you're in unison on those.Particularly, of course, when they're within your range.

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