Music Theory: Voice Leading Fundamentals

Icon’s Director of Education Chevy Bhorntus reviews the importance of voice leading. He also explains how to use this essential music theory practice in your work.

Voice Leading

Voice leading is a fundamental component of music theory that enhances the linear movement between melodic lines or voices to create a single musical idea. Essentially, voice leading is the musical art of combining vocal or instrumental progressions over time to create harmony.

  • Used since the dawn of composition to help instrumentalists and vocalists contribute one note to the overall chord progression while staying within their playable or singable range.
  • Makes parts easier to sing or play with minimal distance gaps between notes.
  • Keeps different instruments in their “sweet spot” by staying in a more musical frequency range.

This technique also focuses on the smooth movement of notes or vocals from one phrase or chord to the next using common tones. Voice leading allows composers and vocalists to take advantage of relationships between notes to create more melodic lines. For example, when playing chord progressions, it’s more logical to minimize the movement of your hands so you can play faster, tighter-fitting harmonies that move smoothly from one chord to the next. Moreover, minimizing the vertical and horizontal transition between notes in a chord sounds more natural and pleasing. Melodic lines or voices that jump around across wide intervals sounds jarring and awkward.


Learn Music Theory at Icon

Music theory is a study that allows us to understand the language of music. Furthermore, it is a set of guidelines and rules that help us recognize the different ways to express emotions with sound. Learning music theory is essential for enhancing your creativity and developing a keen sense of musical awareness. Delve deeper into the methods and concepts musicians use in creating music through our comprehensive Music Production Programs.

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About Icon Collective

ICON Collective is a Los Angeles and Online music production school that teaches you core technical skills while unlocking your unique creative process. Mentorships with industry professionals let you access real-world insights and help you personalize your music education. Check out our Music Production Programs.





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