Is there a way to do this without parallels? I have tried but can't seem to make it work, and in my textbook the example uses parallel 5ths. textbook example of 5-4-3 harmonized by I-V-I

  • 1
    Are you calling the C5 G5 P5 to B4 F5 d5 parallel fifths? Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 16:58

3 Answers 3


"Parallel fifths" means "parallel perfect fifths". A move from a perfect fifth to a diminished fifth, as in the textbook example's C-G (P5) to B-F (d5), is permitted.

Another option would be to double the fifth in the first chord.

X: 1
T: Harmonizing 5-4-3 with I-V-I
K: C
M: none
L: 1/2
[V:V1] [Geg] [Bdf] [Gce]
[V:V2 clef=bass] C G, C
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    @Armani, but keep in mind the textbook example is OK. The P5 to d5 is OK. Also, the "frustrated" leading tone that Athanasius mentions in comments to ttw's answer is shown in beats 2 to 3 and 4 to 1, illustrating how it provides the fifth of chord I instead of doubled root and an incomplete triad. I think the textbook example is meant to be a model, not something to avoid. Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 2:38

Perhaps start with 5-4-3 in the soprano and 3-2-1 in the bass and then use I6-V43-I.

  • The progression is supposed to be root position I V I Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 16:59
  • The V7-I in root position, in four-part harmony, will have either parallel fifths or a doubled or tripled root or doubled third in the final chord.
    – ttw
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 17:17
  • parallel fifths, where? Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 18:10
  • I read (somewhere) that moving from V to I both in root position cannot be done with all notes present in the final I without haveing parallels (I also found the same thing experimentally.) It may have only been parallel octaves. The exercise described has the third in the soprano in the final chord so perhaps things are different. I'd probably just have trippled roots in the final chord.
    – ttw
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 0:13
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    @ttw: I think you're referencing a slightly different issue. When moving V7-I in root position, one cannot resolve both of the notes of the tritone in the V7 "correctly" (by semitone) and have a complete I chord with a 5th. Depending on the voicing, attempting to do so may resulting in a diminished fifth resolving to a perfect fifth (bad voice-leading). In general, the solutions are either a "frustrated leading tone" (leading tone goes to sol), perhaps denying the resolution of the chordal seventh (instead going to sol) or tripling the root of the tonic triad and leaving the 5th out.
    – Athanasius
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 2:22

This seems to be keyboard style, not the SATB 4-voice harmony more usually found in harmony exercises. So we don't have to keep to the voice-leading conventions of a Bach chorale harmonisation!

Block chords in similar motion, and the unmelodic 1-5 bass line are fine in this style. In a more vocal style, I'd want that B in the second chord to resolve up to the tonic, C, or at least resolve down by step. But, I repeat, this ISN'T vocal writing. It doesn't have the rich texture of 4 independent voices. But it has its own strength. And, anyway, it's only consecutive PERFECT 5ths that are forbidden.

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