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Hi everyone.

I'm working on an analysis of Movement II from Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata.

In the measures shown in the image, I am trying to analyze the nonchord tones that occur in the chromatic descending lines.

For example, the first chord shown is B♭7. In that descending line, the first C can probably be labeled as an anticipation. But what about the second C? If that was a suspension, would it be labeled as something like 9-♮8? Is it better to simplify it and call each group of two of the same notes a passing tone?

Any insights would be appreciated. Thank you!

2 Answers 2


The opening E-flat (note that both hands are in the bass clef) is a 4–3 suspension held over from the prior measure. This resolves to a D, a chord tone of the B♭7.

The C and B♮ are both passing tones. I would argue that these are simply re-articulated passing tones, and that we don't need a separate name for their second appearance.

In any event, I would certainly hesitate to call either of those pitches a suspension; remember that true suspensions must first be a chord tone in the harmony immediately prior. In order for that C to be a suspension, we would need a chord immediately before it that included that C as a chord tone.

(The third measure is the same as the first, just using invertible counterpoint.)

As for the final measure, the F is a suspension (note that it's a consonant chord tone in the V7 chord immediately before the downbeat). But this suspension has an added chromatic passing tone; instead of resolving immediately to E♭ (as a 9–8 suspension here normally would), it passes through the F♭ first. We end, of course, with a chromatic neighbor D.


In measures 1,3,4 (as displayed, not counted from the beginning), there is a syncopated chain of suspensions which are also passing tones. To some extent, the chromatic descending melody can be analyzed as an object in itself. It looks like fourth species counterpoint. Analyzing as passing tones or suspensions (I think) may be too detailed to be useful and obscures the more important chromatic descent.

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