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In bars 5-6 the lower note jumps an octave. Why is this good?

To me it sounds like it is not musical enough. Too big of a leap. Please help me understand this octave leap.

I have seen octave leaps in hymn eg both tenor and bass being on sol with the bass jumping down to sol an octave lower but that sounded very good.

  • Couple of popular songs doing this - Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Heigh Ho. Don't know of any that 'break the rule' and continue further in the same direction.
    – Tim
    Aug 27 '19 at 11:27
  • Isn't an octave leap hard to sing?
    – user20754
    Aug 28 '19 at 7:15
  • Not any more than any other. Probably easier than, say, M7. If it was, why would songs have it?
    – Tim
    Aug 28 '19 at 7:17

In this style, an octave leap (almost always ascending) is acceptable as long as you resolve the leap in the opposite motion by step. In other words, an ascending octave must then move immediately down by step.

In fact, this is true of most large leaps in this style. If you look at both voices of this example, you'll notice that almost every leap of a third or larger resolves with a step in the opposite direction. The only exception is the descending third in m. 4 of the lower voice; thirds don't always resolve by opposing step, but they often do.


An example of the principle that Richard describes:

  • I thought that octave leaps were not really very vocal. Does this mean that I am trying to analyse counterpoint with vocal lines in my mind when it is not all about a composing for singers?
    – user20754
    Aug 28 '19 at 7:13
  • @Hank I can't answer that, except to say that counterpoint certainly isn't all about composing for singers, and to ask you why you don't seem to like "Somewhere over the Rainbow." :)
    – BobRodes
    Aug 29 '19 at 23:47

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