Parallel third


Audio: parallel third (0:12)

Parallel third
Figure: parallel third

parallel third plays two part parallel harmony on English horns in the key of Bb major. The parallel third figure, the score, shows the parallel melody in the alto part, a third below the main melody in the soprano part. The melody is part of a beautiful traditional English song, A Boat, which we sing as a warm-up round in our community choir Hum Holler n Sing.

A parallel third is a part which is a third above or below another part.

Parallel thirds are by far the most common and popular parallel harmony. Millions of pieces of music have been written using the technique of parallel thirds because it is so easy to write and the sound is pleasing.

The parallel third can be above the melody or, as in parallel third, a third below. For variety, you can use a sixth, the inverse of a third.