Bach choral #5, m. 2

score is measure 2 in Bach 371 Chorales No.5 'An Wasserflüssen Babylon' in G major

i think beat 2 is v7sus4 but if G in DDGC is suspension note, G in previous chord(AEGB) is must be Harmonic Tone in that chord.

but if G in AEGB is 7th note of ii7, that 7th note not prepared in previous chord(ACEC)

and if that AEGB is not ii7 but the vi, non chord tone A in the bass is not resolve the next chord (A going to D)

and i considered A as a pedal tone but too short to be a pedal tone.

and, actually this choral is common time, and that suspension G in V7sus4 is come out to weak beat. As far as I know, suspension notes come from strong beats. So that is also confusing. please if you can help this

2 Answers 2


Beat one — both halves — is ii7. The soprano B between beats 1 and 2 is a non-harmonic tone, lower neighbor to the C.

  • maybe i marked it wrong? i mean i ask v7sus4(DDGC) , that's call beat 3?
    – guss2222
    May 27, 2022 at 3:00
  • you mean DDGC is ii7 too? so 'DD' is Anticipation?
    – guss2222
    May 27, 2022 at 3:29
  • @guss2222 My mistake. Fixed now.
    – Aaron
    May 27, 2022 at 3:40
  • ok. but actually that's not clear G in ii7 is not prepared in previous chord(ACEC)
    – guss2222
    May 27, 2022 at 3:50
  • 2
    @guss2222 The entire beat is considered ii7. The mistake you're making is trying to analyze every single note as part of a chord. Also, the seventh can be entered by lead, it just has to resolve by step.
    – Aaron
    May 27, 2022 at 4:25

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Another way to look at it, less harmonically, more melodically, which gets more to your point about an apparent unprepared dissonance, is F# in beats 4 and 2 are chord tones of dominant chords (circled green), and the E and G are a changing tones motion (boxed in red.)

If you sing that part out loud while playing it, I think the changing tones aspect is pretty clear.

The G doesn't immediately return to F#, so the changing tones sort of morph into a suspension.

Dissonances are prepared only as a matter of old counterpoint convention, with sometimes a rationalization that prepared dissonances are easier to sing. To the extent that we might look for an "easier to sing" explanation of the G - a dissonant seventh above bass A and dissonant fourth about bass D - the changing tones pattern is certainly an "easy" way to navigate from a consonant tone, through a dissonance, back to a consonance.

  • It seems reasonable, but I think the line can come out the same as the changing tone at any time. In addition, one of the claimed changing tones even becomes a harmonic sound. (E in ACEC) So, in my opinion, this is a rather subjective analysis.
    – guss2222
    May 27, 2022 at 15:58
  • @guss2222 Most analysis is subjective.
    – Aaron
    May 27, 2022 at 17:08
  • It's definitely not a textbook changing tones example. But I thought it worth pointing out it follows a really common linear pattern to move through a dissonance. May 27, 2022 at 20:02
  • With such common focus on chordal analysis, it's easy to forget the linear aspect of Bach's compositions.
    – Aaron
    May 27, 2022 at 20:07
  • That's a Good point and worth remembering. but, as long as it does not function as a changing tone, there is no need to call it a changing tone. I think it can be expressed to the extent that the movement of the voice is the same as the change tone.
    – guss2222
    May 28, 2022 at 3:07

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