Senior Member
Italy - Italian
leggo sul Garzanti che:
controcanto = "countermelody"

Solo che sinceramente non l'ho mai sentito/letto, neanche per sbaglio e questo mi fa pensare che non sia molto comune come termine.
Conoscete un termine molto comune (anche per nulla musical-tecnico) per il controcanto? Per chiarire, intendo, in una registrazione in studio la parte di un secondo cantante (o il lead singer stesso che registra su un'altra traccia) che in alcuni tratti si accosta alla melodia principale del cantato, solitamente con tonalità e melodia non identica, una quinta sopra/sotto e variazioni sul tema varie.
Perché penso che "chorus" non sia adatta visto che trattasi di un'unica voce.

I read on the dictionary that "controcanto" is translated as "countermelody" but I really never heard of this term before and this is worrying me, because I'm used to read a lot of musical stuff in English.

Maybe this is a correct term, but not that commonly used: do you know a very common (even in poor-practical common language) term for it? To explain what I mean: in a music studio recording, the 'controcanto' is that part/track -sung by a second singer or the lead singer her/himself in a second track- that accompanies the main melody, usually in a lower or higher pitch (5th or other variations..).
I thought about the term "chorus" but I suppose in this case it's implied that more than one person is singing while in this case it's just one singing this way.

  • baldpate

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Hello again Heracleum,

    Is this any use? You are right about "chorus" - it always means multiple voices. Countermelody makes me think of "counterpoint", but I don't think this term would be used in the context of modern music. Sorry :(:(.

    Ciao - baldpate


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Hmmm...I've Googled with:

    studio track countermelody
    studio track voice countermelody

    and there are tons of hits.
    They talk about "voice" "musical instrument" and "orchestral" countermelody

    Also "counter melody" in addition to "countermelody".


    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    Thank you all for the replies!

    The point is that "counter-melody" and "overdubbing" are great but I suppose they're both quite general, I mean not explicitly and exclusively referred to "voice" or "singing", since I'm afraid I could perform a "<instrument-name-here> counter-melody" and I'm pretty sure I could "overdub" <anything> on a master track, even a toilet flushing :D (kidding)
    ...while "controcanto", even if used in metaphorical/figurative sentences, is implying a voice singing.
    Literally it could be translated as "counter-singing"... wait a minute :) (googling...)
    I see some matches, but restricting it to music (querying: "counter singing" music) just 388 matches :/

    Thanks mgalasso: "singing in harmony" I suppose it's common and easy to understand, great!
    I was also interested in a term (no verb) that could be used in a list of tracks, I mean:
    it: Canto, controcanto, chitarra folk, basso...
    en: Vocals, ????, steel guitar, bass, ...

    Maybe a composite term using "vocals"?
    Or generally this term alone? Something like:
    "Lead vocals (canto), <...>, bass, vocals" (meaning controcanto)??

    Thank you for your patience ;)


    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    Excellent! That's the word "back vocals" :)
    Thank you so much!

    So ok, let's say that the "part" or "track name" (or simply 'how a musician contributes to a song') of someone else singing along the lead singer is definitely "back vocals". (correct? By the way I've read this term very often)

    The bit of doubt could still remain about the "controcanto" English term as a technique (it's probably "counter-melody" I guess[?]) but thanks to housecameron at least the other term is clear.


    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    ...The bit of doubt could still remain about the "controcanto" English term as a technique (it's probably "counter-melody" I guess[?]) but thanks to housecameron at least the other term is clear.
    Ciao Heracleum,

    In my humble opinion, "countermelody" is a common musical term.
    If it is the correct translation, you can use it without worry.

    Maybe to be sure, an example would help...
    In the third verse of Vivere, I would say Bocelli is singing a "countermelody" in Italian, while Pausini is singing the main theme in English.
    Is this a "controcanto"?
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