What's the name in english of putting your voice over a leading voice in a song?

Suposse Adele just recorded a song, and they want another singer to record some vocals for the song in order to "harmonize" the song.

How do you call that process in english? In spanish we would say: 'Hacer segunda voz' which would translate to something like 'make second voice'.

  • "Harmonize" is a common word for this. As in, "I harmonized with the lead vocals" or "I recorded some harmonies" or "We recorded all the harmony vocals". Mar 3, 2017 at 20:53

3 Answers 3


In general it's called 'backup vocals.'

However, I'm not clear what you mean by 'over.' If you mean above (in pitch) I don't know a specific term for that.

  • So, would I say? "I'm backing up some vocals."? Mar 3, 2017 at 18:49
  • 4
    "I'm recording backup vocals", or "I'm overdubbing backup vocals". Or you could call them "harmony vocals" or "harmony parts". Mar 3, 2017 at 18:54
  • 2
    'Backing' rather than 'backup' is the usual, in English. Or 'doubling' if singing in unison - the OP doesn't state which, 'over' could mean alongside or maybe an upper harmony - more common than a lower harmony in pop.Even just 'a harmony'.
    – Tim
    Mar 3, 2017 at 20:12
  • If you mean above in pitch then that is usually called a descant or descant line.
    – JimM
    Mar 3, 2017 at 21:11
  • @Francisco Ochoa - "I'm backing up some vocals," while perfectly correct, doesn't sound idiomatic. "I'm doing some backup vocals," or one of Bruce's versions would sound better, in my opinion.
    – L3B
    Mar 3, 2017 at 21:25

Counter singing? You'd use this term for the kind of singing Art Garfunkel did in the group Simon & Garfunkel, here in "The Boxer".


Harmonization. The process of singing in a scale above or below the main scale to create a satisfying audio.

  • @Shevliaskovic - harmonisation with s is the accepted spelling in English. American English prefers the z. So, both correct! - And the OP asked for English !!
    – Tim
    Mar 4, 2017 at 7:39
  • @Tim The Oxford dictionary gives either -ise or -ize. A lot of the woo-woo about "British English always uses -ise" actually came from Microsoft's early spelling checkers applying a simple rule to convert American spellings into what they thought was British English. Many -ize spellings have been in British English for centuries before that.
    – user19146
    Mar 4, 2017 at 9:48
  • @alephzero - I guess my comment was about why change something that is already correct for something else that is correct. If it ain't broke...
    – Tim
    Mar 4, 2017 at 10:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.