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Thread: Voice Doubling

  1. #1
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    Voice Doubling

    Hi guys...new to the forums

    Simple question: Doubling refers to double a note in the chord in the lower octaves, right? Not above the chord you are playing?

    Because it seems like lets say a C major chord with 4 voices in root position would be:
    C (soprano)
    G (tenor)
    E (alto)
    C (bass)

    But if C is also the soprano note, you double it above the chord and not in the lower octave.

    And if it says double the soprano voice in first inversion, what is the soprano
    note in the chord( lets say C major, first inversion)? And would this imply adding a note with my left hand or adding a note to the right of the note on the piano?

    Would appreciate any help...

  2. #2
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Can't answer this myself but (while awaiting an educated answer) try this:
    http://davesmey.com/brooklynconserva...ingstarted.pdf
    and maybe some hints at the bottom of this page:
    http://smu.edu/totw/partwrit.htm
    and here...
    http://bbamusic.wikispaces.com/Four+Part

  3. #3
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    your question isn't really clear...are you just doing SATB work? As far as doubling goes, first choose the best doubling, then the best location for that note. Normally in root position, the root of the chord is the best note to double. So if you're just writing out a C chord, there's a number of potential voicings you could use. Not sure if that's the answer you're looking for though

  4. #4
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    I think you mean.

    C (soprano)
    G (alto)
    E (tenor)
    C (bass)

    Short of the question being a bit more specific. You seem to be on the right track.

    Cmaj First inversion

    C sop
    G alt
    E tenor

    Assuming we are dealing with a triad. Doubling the soprano would give you the root in the bassline.

    C sop
    G alt
    E ten
    (C bass)

    Its been a while since I really did any arranging so im happy to be corrected here.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JazzMick View Post
    I think you mean.

    C (soprano)
    G (alto)
    E (tenor)
    C (bass)

    Short of the question being a bit more specific. You seem to be on the right track.

    Cmaj First inversion

    C sop
    G alt
    E tenor

    Assuming we are dealing with a triad. Doubling the soprano would give you the root in the bassline.

    C sop
    G alt
    E ten
    (C bass)

    Its been a while since I really did any arranging so im happy to be corrected here.
    Thank you for answering everybody...!! You have definitely helped me out.

    But Im just trying to figure out what chord tone each of the SATB refers to in all the inversions of a triad.

    Like is E in a C major chord always referred to as tenor?

    JazzMick stated that doubling the soprano in first inversion would mean to double the top note, namely C. Would this imply that doubling the soprano note in second inversion would be using E?

    Im just trying to figure out what everything means, then I will get into all the rules and stuff. When I read about doubling and SATB it seems to very chordal focused, but im just trying to learn this so I can get some interesting voicings with different notes in the bass. Isnt that what piano players use this theory for?

  6. #6
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axxe View Post
    Like is E in a C major chord always referred to as tenor?..... Isnt that what piano players use this theory for?
    I've never heard it referred to as you have outlined. However, I do not orchestrate vocal lines.

    In speaking "piano" Root - Octave, or "play octaves" would be the way I would phrase doubling. Then E in a C major chord is the 3rd, I would use the scale degree terminology instead of soprano, alto, etc. when -- "talking piano".

    Now another thought --- in writing bass lines the term 8va is used to indicate the next root up scale and 8vb for the octave below. I just use 8 when going up octave as that is understood as the next octave, but, you do need some sort of a notation to indicate the octave below.

    Of course standard notation takes care of all that.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 04-26-2010 at 02:55 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    I've never heard it referred to as you have outlined. However, I do not orchestrate vocal lines.

    In speaking "piano" Root - Octave, or "play octaves" would be the way I would phrase doubling. Then E in a C major chord is the 3rd, I would use the scale degree terminology instead of soprano, alto, etc. when -- "talking piano".

    Now another thought --- in writing bass lines the term 8va is used to indicate the next root up scale and 8vb for the octave below. I just use 8 when going up octave as that is understood as the next octave, but, you do need some sort of a notation to indicate the octave below.

    Of course standard notation takes care of all that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post
    I've never heard it referred to as you have outlined. However, I do not orchestrate vocal lines.

    In speaking "piano" Root - Octave, or "play octaves" would be the way I would phrase doubling. Then E in a C major chord is the 3rd, I would use the scale degree terminology instead of soprano, alto, etc. when -- "talking piano".

    Now another thought --- in writing bass lines the term 8va is used to indicate the next root up scale and 8vb for the octave below. I just use 8 when going up octave as that is understood as the next octave, but, you do need some sort of a notation to indicate the octave below.

    Of course standard notation takes care of all that.
    I agree, I would speak in terms of scale degrees myself, but Im reading a book about harmony and the author keeps talking soprano and tenor notes etc. I assume the author is not only referring to a choral context because you can double on a piano as well. Im just trying to learn different rules for doubling so I can create some interesting sounds.

    So If it says:

    C major in first inversion, double soprano note: This would imply to double C(highest note in inversion) right?

    C major in second inversion, double soprano note: Means to double E?

    I assume I can apply this doubling theory to the piano as well or is doubling a theory topic of harmony in choirs only? I just thought it meant what bass note to use...

  8. #8
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    I have no idea what he means. Call up some of the sites Jon gave you and see if you can tie his book with what they have to say.

    Good luck, I would have moved on long ago.

  9. #9
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    i've only evewr heard of doubling in a plugin way. so i'll assume that it is the same note played on top of the same note.

    usually in conventional theory they'd refer to that as unison, but in music production they'll call it doubling, which is basically layering the exact same sound byte on top of another, except they'll change the phase slightly, which means basically that the sound waves are exactly the same, but one starts offset from the other, in the millisecond kind of range, which does not produce a sound the brain interprets as an echo but as a sound as though the same sound is playing twice on top of itself.

    the same exact same sound played on top of itself will just sound louder.

    in music when two musicians play the same note, one is out of phase alignment with the other, because of slightly off timing, or because one instrument is at a different distance from the listener than the other. also two separate instruments would be slightly off tune from the other by a few cents.

    basically, the effect of making one single vocal recording let's say sound like two or more voices at once without actually recording 2 or more layers of singing, is called doubling, and a plugin that does this is called a doubler.
    Last edited by fingerpikingood; 04-26-2010 at 11:10 PM.

  10. #10
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axxe View Post
    I agree, I would speak in terms of scale degrees myself, but Im reading a book about harmony and the author keeps talking soprano and tenor notes etc. I assume the author is not only referring to a choral context because you can double on a piano as well. Im just trying to learn different rules for doubling so I can create some interesting sounds.

    So If it says:

    C major in first inversion, double soprano note: This would imply to double C(highest note in inversion) right?
    Not sure. First inversion, AFAIK, simply means 3rd (E) in bass. Either C or G could be top - although of course in close voicing it would be C; so I'd guess you're right.
    But it would be weird to double it an octave up - and if you doubled it an octave down, it would be root position again - but maybe that's intentional.
    Or do they mean doubling in unison?
    Quote Originally Posted by axxe View Post
    C major in second inversion, double soprano note: Means to double E?
    Again, same logic applies as above. (But I'm still only guessing, like you are.)
    Quote Originally Posted by axxe View Post
    I assume I can apply this doubling theory to the piano as well or is doubling a theory topic of harmony in choirs only? I just thought it meant what bass note to use...
    You can apply these rules to harmonising any instruments. All of our harmonic theory arises from counterpoint as applied to choral music. We still use the word "voice" to refer to notes in a chord played on any instrument. And the clefs we use are named after vocal ranges (treble, bass, tenor, alto...).
    Of course, with instruments you have different range limits. Piano, of course, can go much lower than human bass and much higher than soprano. Most harmonisation, however, will still operate within those vocal limits, I'd guess.

    Try asking on these sites:
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/forumdisplay.php?f=30
    - lots of knowledgeable contributors
    http://forums.allaboutjazz.com/forumdisplay.php?f=34
    - jazz, but plenty of classically qualified people
    http://forum.emusictheory.com/list.php?5
    - awkward interface, but frequented by classical experts

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Not sure. First inversion, AFAIK, simply means 3rd (E) in bass. Either C or G could be top - although of course in close voicing it would be C; so I'd guess you're right.
    But it would be weird to double it an octave up - and if you doubled it an octave down, it would be root position again - but maybe that's intentional.
    Or do they mean doubling in unison?
    Again, same logic applies as above. (But I'm still only guessing, like you are.)
    You can apply these rules to harmonising any instruments. All of our harmonic theory arises from counterpoint as applied to choral music. We still use the word "voice" to refer to notes in a chord played on any instrument. And the clefs we use are named after vocal ranges (treble, bass, tenor, alto...).
    Of course, with instruments you have different range limits. Piano, of course, can go much lower than human bass and much higher than soprano. Most harmonisation, however, will still operate within those vocal limits, I'd guess.

    Try asking on these sites:
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/forumdisplay.php?f=30
    - lots of knowledgeable contributors
    http://forums.allaboutjazz.com/forumdisplay.php?f=34
    - jazz, but plenty of classically qualified people
    http://forum.emusictheory.com/list.php?5
    - awkward interface, but frequented by classical experts
    I will definitely try those sites....and thanks a lot for the the help guys...

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