3

enter image description here

You will see here that the last eighth note/quaver of the fourth beat forms consecutive 5ths between soprano and alto. Would something like this be wrong in four-part writing or is the fact that the perfect 5th falls on a weak beat enough to mitigate the sound of consecutive parallels?

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  • 1
    The bigger problem here is the parallel octaves in the bass and alto. My guess is that for most of the common-practice period you'd be more likely to find a C sharp in the bass on the fourth beat. If the bass is given, the melody would be different. Movement from IV to V tends to have more contrary motion to avoid the parallels.
    – phoog
    Feb 2, 2022 at 10:51
  • Youre right, that is a big problem eeek. The C# is much better thank you
    – user35708
    Feb 2, 2022 at 11:19
  • @armani The E would not be a passing note, because it is part of the chord, a passing note is a non-chord tone that is in between two chords tones and permits movement per joint degree, in this case D# (C#-D#-E | F#). Have a good day
    – user85162
    Feb 2, 2022 at 12:03
  • Thank you. So no such thing as consonant passing tones then? How would you call that note then as it is clearly passing from C# on the last dotted quarter downbeat in bar 1 to the F# in beat 1 in bar 2.
    – user35708
    Feb 2, 2022 at 12:18
  • 1
    Ok I get it so those are considered parallel 5ths even though the 5th occurs on a weak beat before the next strong beat. I think I understand. Gotta watch out for that.
    – user35708
    Feb 3, 2022 at 10:29

2 Answers 2

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I think you should re-examine this through a harmonic reduction, fix the fundamental voice leading problems, and then work out the melodic embellishment details as rhythm first, specific pitch second.

You have this...

enter image description here

Which of the following is the intended harmonic reduction, both have various issues regarding parallel and direct perfect intervals?

enter image description here

The problem is there are too many bass notes harmonized with P5's in the soprano, and your specific melodic figuration exacerbates the problem.

One way to deal with the situation is to "flip" the role of either the bass or soprano so that whatever is a troublesome perfect interval becomes a problem free imperfect third or sixth.

Changes to soprano to harmonize in thirds...

enter image description here

Changes to bass to harmonize in sixths...

enter image description here

enter image description here

There are some changes to the middle voices, but after the bass and soprano are fixed, filling in the middle voices should be simple.

I tried to preserve you top line of C#5 D#5 E5.

I think a good rule of thumb is whenever the soprano harmonizes the bass with a perfect fifth make sure the next chord is inverted. Or, you could say alternate root position chords with chords of the sixth.

If you do use consecutive root position chords, make sure they have the soprano harmonizing a third on top, or the top voices moving in contrary motion relative to the bass.

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  • Great thanks Michael.. very helpful. I like the idea of keeping the soprano and changing the harmonies because I initially started with the melody.
    – user35708
    Feb 3, 2022 at 10:31
2

Well, this might not be a perfect solution, but it does solve both the parallel fifth and the parallel octave, would be this: enter image description here

But it changes the melody

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    While there's no longer a parallel fifth between the alto and soprano in the first solution, there's still one between the bass and soprano.
    – phoog
    Feb 2, 2022 at 12:17
  • @phoog Yes, that slipped away from me, deleted it.
    – user85162
    Feb 2, 2022 at 12:19
  • @armani Yes I did it in musescore
    – user85162
    Feb 2, 2022 at 12:45

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