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My textbook instructs me to use contrary motion with the upper parts against the bass when writing chords a step apart. But here in this image you can see I have voiced the chords IV - V so that I can have them rise in parallel without any perfect intervals in parallel motion. Is what I have done acceptable or is it considered to be bad voice leading?

  • What does it sound like to you when you play it? A lot of the 'rules' are based on what the end product sounds like, so more than half the battle is won when what gets written sounds good.
    – Tim
    Sep 11, 2021 at 12:08

1 Answer 1


What you've written will sound quite nice. I like the effect of all voices rising towards a cadence. Very uplifting.

But it isn't Bach-style SATB writing, and I wouldn't advise doing it in an elementary theory class! It breaks too many rules.

You've got parallel 5ths between bass and alto, octaves between bass and soprano. The 'rule' about preferring contrary motion when roots are a step apart is because otherwise it's hard to avoid such things.


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