When writing chord progressions for a given soprano line my textbook says that rhythmic considerations will often determine whether one harmony is better or less good than another. Think of a soprano line ^3^2^7^1. You might harmonize it with I V V I or with I ii6 V I. If the ^2 ^7 is in a weak-strong relation however only the second possibility is good. Repeating dominant Harmony will contradict the meter.

Can anyone else tell me if they agree with this? Why does ^7 have to fall on the strong beat and not ^2?

  • I'm struggling to imagine how the strong or weak position would make a difference, and much of that is having trouble imagining how that four-note cadence might fit into a meter one way or the other. Do you have examples you could add?
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


While you can harmonize ^3^2^7^1 as both I-V-V-I and I-ii6-V-I and still fit common practice period harmony, using I-V-V-I in any rhythm where the beat ^2 is on is weaker than the beat ^7 is on makes the harmonic rhythm syncopated, which is often not preferred in classical music.

  • why? They are both part of V and they are both active tones...
    – user35708
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 14:50
  • It's more that I tried imagining a 4-voice chorale measure with Beats 1-4 as ^3^2^7^1, then tried imagining that harmonized with Beats 1-4 as I-V-V-I, and was then struck at how abnormal that sounded.
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 19:00

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