What does it mean to sing in unison and in parts...?! For example singing in unison, all voice parts might sing:

do re mi fa so la te do

but in voice parts soprano might sing:

do re mi fa so la te do

alto might sing:

mi fa so la te do re mi

and tenor might sing:

so la te do re mi fa so

If singing in unison is above, will it be in the same octave...?!

  • Unison practically implies that all other singing parts sing the (usually) melody line, in their respective range. i.e. Sopranos and Altos in her natural feminine voice classification and as well, tenors and basses in their masculine vocal classification. In addition, this singing structure is usually very beautiful when used expressively.
    – user44980
    Oct 22, 2017 at 6:59

1 Answer 1


Singing "in parts" means that each voice (such as soprano, tenor, alto, and bass) has its own independent line to follow. The contents of that line will be written out, and will depend on the composer or arranger and the harmonic structure of the piece. These parts may form consonances or dissonances with one another, and they may move in parallel motion (going in the same direction), contrary motion (going in opposite directions) or oblique motion (one stays on a note while the other is moving).

Singing "in unison" means that all the voices are singing the "same" line. I put "same" in quotes because, as you note in your last paragraph, they may be in different octaves. With voices, this almost always means the men are singing the line one octave below the women.

  • Good answer, but "unision" means unison, which means the same note, same durations, same line. Octave unison would be a universally understood term meaning "same notes/line, different octave."
    – dwoz
    Aug 13, 2015 at 13:42
  • 1
    No, with regard to choirs, "unison" can certainly mean the same note name, sung in multiple octaves. This is because of the simple expedient that a bass and a soprano have, practically speaking, no notes in common.
    – user1044
    Aug 13, 2015 at 14:04
  • @dwoz - unison means both the exact same note sung by more than one, but also the same note name ('pitch class') sung, thus an octave - sometimes two, apart.
    – Tim
    Feb 15, 2017 at 16:30
  • @Tim and anonymous user1044: I'm going to call all anonymous users who are unclear what "unison" means by the name "Tim." You're ALL Tim. Because, well, in your way of logic, this works just fine. Words mean things...and unisons are unisons and octaves are octaves. it's really simple. Now, as the illustrious Caleb noted, you can have a unison line, which is a very different thing than a unison note.
    – dwoz
    Feb 26, 2017 at 2:29

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