I have recorded a vocal for my music.
Now I want to pitch my vocal, as to also have a 3rd harmonizing vocal. I have heard a lot that people say that a 3rd voice is the best voice and sweetest one for making a harmonized vocal. But I wonder if they are talking about a minor 3rd, or a major 3rd voice?

I read that if you play C and sing it, then your 3rd voice will be E. But what if I play F sharp, should I harmonize it with A sharp or with A?
(I know that I could sing any note for harmonizing, but I just wonder which one is for 3rd voice. )

2 Answers 2


The basic harmony is usually a third above (or a 6th below, which is the same note an octave lower. Example: in C - sing a C - the harmony will be an E, either the one directly above, or directly below. So here, we can call it a major third above, for simplicity. However - in key C major, the note that harmonises with D will be an F. this is because they're both from the C key - diatonic. Technically, it makes that interval a minor 3rd, but so what? It sounds good, and doesn't suddenly make the song go into a minor key!

When you need a harmony for an F note (still in key C), it'll be an A - straight from the C scale, as that A is a third above the original F.

'When someone sings an F diez(#)' it will depend on which key you're in at that time. If it's the same song, in C, then I'm guessing the underlying chord is a D major/seventh, and thus an A natural will fit best.

To summarise - use notes usually from the key/scale at the time. Use notes from the harmony used at the time, which may be different, but usually still diatonic.

If you're just singing along, really, you shouldn't worry about whether it's a major or a minor third you're actually singing - your ear ought to tell you. Maj/min 3rd is more of academic interest - and a heck of a lot of folk who harmonise spontaneously won't even be aware what notes they are singing - except that they'll be the right ones, judging by the best judges we use - our ears.

  • first of all thanks a lot for your answer. so you mean i should sing the third note of each chord. and when a chord changes, i should sing the third note of that chord too, right? (assume that all of my notes are the same as the root note of my chords) . but wouldnt it be somehow change my whole melody? (i mean my 3rd harmonized melody will be different from the melody of my original song. )right?
    – dana
    Dec 30, 2017 at 13:52
  • 1
    Not at all, that wouldn't make sense. If you're on a C chord, and yhe melody is on an E note - quite common - then you singing the third of that chord means no harmony, only unison. In this scenario, you'd sing a third * above the note being sung* which would make your note a G - a m3 above the E. But it will sound good there, as the G is part of the underlying C chord anyway - and it's that 3rd above the original sung note.If you have a keyboard handy, try using only white keys (key C) and play notes which are separated by one other white key.You'll hear they sound good together - all 3rds.
    – Tim
    Dec 30, 2017 at 17:33
  • thanks tim. your answer was really helpful. i did that in my own song by pitch my vocal , and it really sit well in my music. now the only thing that left is to learn how to mix it. thanks again
    – dana
    Dec 31, 2017 at 13:07

It's good to HARMONIZE, not just slavishly double the melody a fixed interval above. Yes, thirds are useful. Sometimes they fit above the melody, sometimes under it. This will very likely change over the course of the song. Sometimes it will be best to sing a few notes in unison, then open out into harmony. Sometimes one singer can echo a phrase that the other has just sung. Another good trick is to find the dominant (5th note of the scale) and stick on it until your ears tell you it MUST move one note up or down.

  • I agree with your comment, but if I understand the question correctly the OP wants to take a previously recorded voice track and digitally alter its pitch so it would work as a harmony track. In that case the melody would be exactly the same, note by note, only a 3rd above of the first one.
    – cockypup
    Feb 28, 2018 at 16:38
  • @DavidBowling Because they were wondering if it should be a major 3rd or a minor 3rd over their original track.
    – cockypup
    Feb 28, 2018 at 17:14
  • @DavidBowling Yes, you are right about that. But since their comment to Tim's answer is "i did that in my own song by pitch my vocal" I still suspect that they just wanted to use exactly the same track and just digitally transpose it.
    – cockypup
    Feb 28, 2018 at 17:56
  • But she also says "...which not(e) should i sing for harmonizing ?". Let's hope she wants to do this musically rather than mechanically!
    – Laurence
    Feb 28, 2018 at 18:53

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