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The voice leading

How to lead the voices of harmony

1. The voice leading

In harmonization with 2 or more parts, each voice must meet a certain melodic logic,
through various agreements.
This logic is based on the following principles:



a. Vertical consideration

• In harmony with 4 voices for example, the range of each part is modeled on the human voice:




• The vertical space between the voices is also limited :


Soprano / Alto


1 octave maximum

Alto / Tenor


1 octave maximum

Tenor / Bass


1 twelfth maximum



Note : These limits can be broken briefly.





• The doublings

The triads require note doublings from 4 harmonic voices
These doublings are determined in relation to the series of overtones.

We must double in order :


- The root



- The fifth



- The third





Note : With the diminishd triads, we must duplicate the third.





• The deletions:.

  In a perfect major or minor triad, we must first delete the fifth.



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