Unison Or Harmony: Choosing the Right Approach For Multiple Vocals Wednesday December 20 2023, 3:00 PM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
Unison Or Harmony: Choosing the Right Approach For Multiple Vocals

Unison Or Harmony?

Singing as a group or adding backing vocals to a lead vocal can captivate audiences and bring out our emotions in ways that one voice alone cannot.

In the realm of multiple vocals, when it comes to songwriting or performance, the decision between singing in unison and singing in harmony holds a pivotal role.

While there is no definite right or wrong answer, performers and composers make choices all the time on whether or not to add harmony or keep multiple voices in unison. 

Singing In Unison

Singing in unison involves multiple vocalists singing the same melody simultaneously. This approach delivers a commanding and unified sound that can be particularly impactful in certain musical contexts.

The strength of unison lies in its ability to emphasize specific lyrics or moments within a song.

Genres like anthems, chants, and certain styles of pop and rock often leverage the unison approach to create a powerful and cohesive musical experience.


Singing In Harmony

In contrast, singing in harmony introduces a layer of complexity by having multiple vocalists sing different notes that complement each other.

Harmony adds depth and richness to the overall sound, allowing for individual vocal expression within a group setting.

This approach is commonly found in genres like folk, country, and a cappella, where the intertwining melodies create a lush and textured sonic landscape.

Octave Harmonies 

This is a method often used but rarely spoken about! Octave harmonies involve singing the same musical note but at different octaves. This technique creates a sense of fullness and richness, providing depth to the overall sound.

Unlike traditional harmonies that involve singing different notes, octave harmonies maintain the fundamental pitch, offering a unique and powerful sonic quality.

Octave harmonies contribute to a fuller, more robust sound by reinforcing the fundamental frequency of the melody. This is particularly effective in adding weight to choruses or climactic sections of a song.

Choosing The Best Option For Your Performance

The decision between unison and harmony depends on various factors that can significantly impact the overall artistic expression of a song.

Consider the genre and style of the composition—certain genres naturally lend themselves to either unison or harmony.


Evaluate the emotional tone and lyrical content of the song; some moments may call for the strength of unison, while others benefit from the emotional resonance of harmonies.

The number and range of vocalists also play a crucial role; larger groups may find harmony more dynamic, while smaller ensembles might excel in unison.

To make an informed choice, experiment with both unison and harmony during rehearsals. Feel the nuances each approach brings to the performance and assess how they align with the song's essence.

Pitch Precision

Ensure precise pitch accuracy when singing octave harmonies. Use vocal exercises and practice sessions to fine-tune intonation, allowing the octaves to blend seamlessly.

Dynamic Variation

Experiment with dynamic variations within a song. Start with unison to create a bold introduction and transition into harmony for the chorus or emotional peaks. This dynamic shift can captivate listeners and keep the performance engaging.

Blend and Balance

Pay attention to the blend and balance of voices, especially when singing in harmony. Achieving a harmonious balance ensures that each voice contributes to the overall sound without overpowering or getting lost in the mix.

Voice Arrangement

Explore different voice arrangements within harmonies. Assigning different vocal ranges to various members can create a more intricate and captivating harmonic structure, adding depth to the overall performance.

Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page.

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