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Above image is 'Bach 371 Chorales No5 An Wasserflüssen Babylon' in G major

1. The first red box

I think I saw the rule not to overtake other voices. second measure in the first red box the bass overtakes the tenor (B above G), then the tenor goes below the bass (B under C.)

Can voice come out like this? I'm not exactly sure about this.

2. second red box

beat 1, in last measure in the image i think that chord is i(Am) or maybe it can be V continuation from the previous chord

but if that chord is i, non-chord tone 'B' is can't explain.

B is going to G# by skip in next chord.. and B is not skip or step from previous chord.

is not kind Escape tone or suspension. what kind non-chord is that?

or maybe if that chord is 'V',

non-chord tone A and C is can't explain too. I thought of Anticipation at first, but I know that Anticipation cannot come out of strong beat.

and The movement of G#, the 7th note of the i7, is also strange. G# going to up.. I have seen the theory that if there is a resolution note in the bass of the 7th chord, it can be resolved upwards, but I don't know if this applies here as well.

  • Note that there's a small error in the question image. According to manuscript sources, the B on beat 1 is actually the tenor, and the G–D–C–B is the bass.
    – Richard
    Jun 8, 2022 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


1. Voice crossing

The general rule is that one should not have voices cross: an upper voice moving below a lower voice, or a lower voice moving higher than an upper voice. The reason for the rule, is that, if not done carefully, the ear has trouble following each voice and winds up confusing them.

However, it is okay to have voice crossing in situations where the individual voices remain clear. That's the case in the given example. First, the bass crosses above the tenor, but because the tenor voice is static, it's easy to distinguish it from the moving bass voice. Then the tenor drops below the bass, but again, because the bass moves in quarter notes while the tenor moves in eighth notes — and also because the tenor leap from G to D helps the ear reestablish that voice as initially higher — again the two voices maintain their independence.

2. "Extra" notes before the resolution of a suspension

This is allowed. The overall gesture is still considered a suspension, but it's okay to insert additional notes as long as they lead to the resolution. Robert Hutchinson's website "Music Theory for the 21st-Century Classroom" gives a clear example, also from Bach.

Bach, French Suite No. 1 in D Minor, BWV 812, Sarabande

In the second measure there is a suspension that briefly leaps up, then returns toward the resolution. In this case, the gesture returns to the note of suspension before resolving, but it does not have to, especially in the case give in the above question, where the "extra" pitch is the leading tone.

Analyzing beat 1 and the i chord is accurate, but the half beat is not i7 in any functional sense. The G# is just an elaboration of the suspension and does not affect the overall harmony.


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