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In another post I learned that an 8th note chordal skip can produce consecutive parallel intervals even when the parallel interval happens off the beat. But what about a 16th note descending line like this one? Would this be allowed in a 4 part harmony exercise? You see the B on the last 16th of beat 2 make a parallel octave with the tenor and to my ears it is not audible unless I play it super slowly.

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  • To me a larger problem is the bass emphasis on F#, which puts the chord in second inversion. Depending on which set of "rules" you are following, a better choice may be to leave the bass on B for a full quarter note and leap up to the E. It's a hidden/direct octave but in four parts they are often permitted.
    – nuggethead
    Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 23:10

2 Answers 2

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Yes, it unfortunately doesn't matter the note value; no matter how fast or how slow, two consecutive intervals of a perfect octave (or perfect fifth) between the same two voices results in unstylistic ("incorrect") voice leading.

There are multiples solutions to something like this, so to share just a few:

  • If the two affected voices can be solved with a voice exchange, pursue that option. On beat 1, you may want a chordal skip of B–D♯ in the bass, but this creates parallel octaves with the alto. As such, change the alto to eighth notes of D♯–B, creating a voice exchange between alto and bass.
  • Try another chordal leap in the voice that you changed. Here, your bass could also arpeggiate down to G♯ in beat 2 to prevent any voice-leading issues.
  • Create a new chordal skip in the other voice that creates the parallels. You've changed the bass, which created parallels with the tenor. So now embellish the tenor to have B–G♯ to rid of these parallels.
  • Consider other embellishment types. In addition to passing tones and chordal skips, what about neighbor tones, suspensions, appoggiaturas, etc.?
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Strictly speaking no, but occasionally you get away with it. In this case there are more problems than this one. The notes you have there are A#,C#,E, which is characteristic for the dominant on F#. So doubling the A# has some sort of doubling-the-third character. This quite problematic, as this leading tone demands a resolution into the tonic, thus this would require parallel octaves. Also having a diminished chord like this is not really optimal.

Rather you might want to have the tenor go into the F#, filling up the F# dominant chord.

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  • it is fine as part of a sequence if you double a leading tone, and vii does not resolve to I so it is not leading anywhere
    – user35708
    Commented Mar 30, 2022 at 9:49

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