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I am trying to write a progression in Cm that modulates to the minor dominant (Gm). In this progression I think I have written a viio65/v but I am getting unequal 5ths between the bass and alto parts. Is the voice leading in this progression deemed unacceptable in some styles of music like in common practice or baroque style harmony? Are there styles in which this type of progression is avoided? I could have used viio6/v or V43/v but I really like the fully diminished chord.

  • Not sure if it's acceptable, but you can avoid it by resolving A upwards, to Bb. Side note: Gb in this example should be F#. Sep 8, 2022 at 12:35
  • Thank you I changed the picture... Bb will give me a 63 chord, I was wanting a 53 chord there. Not possible?
    – user35708
    Sep 8, 2022 at 12:58
  • Can you clarify what you mean by “acceptable”? Whose acceptance are you seeking and by what criteria? For example, is there a teacher who is asking for a baroque-style composition from you? Sep 8, 2022 at 13:26
  • haha, I like the way you ask that question... I am seeking the acceptance of any one who has a lot of experience in music theory.. I do believe I have come to the right place? Is this progression acceptable in baroque style? Is it acceptable in any style? if so which? I thought the question was enough to get the answers I was looking for. Is it acceptable for you? Was it acceptable for Bach? Maybe Mozart? no teach here, I just wanted to see if there was a way to voice lead this progression.
    – user35708
    Sep 8, 2022 at 13:29
  • 2
    There is no prohibition against unequal fifths.
    – Aaron
    Sep 8, 2022 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


Why not root position?

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There isn't a universal answer to this kind of question. "Acceptable" is determined by style.

If voice leading is the concern, and you run into a voice leading problem, you must change chord voicings.

If chord qualities and sonorities are the concern, then voice leading is subordinated.

Walter Piston says these two things:

  • It is customary to resolve the two intervals of the diminished fifths, contracting each to a third, without regard for the doubling that results.
  • When the second degree [he means third of the chord] is in the bass it usually resolves to the third degree [he means third of the tonic chord] to avoid a direct fifth on the resolution of the diminished fifth.

So, if we offset the octave of the two d5/A4 intervals for easier reading, and show root position and first inversion, with their respective resolutions to thirds, we get...

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That establishes something of an authoritative acceptability.

But, based on your comments, the particular voicings you have in your example are your preferences, probably for their specific sonorous qualities. By Piston's reckoning, he would probably just call your treatment an irregular resolution. Throughout his Harmony textbook he acknowledges that kind of artistic license. You want to make an artistic choice of vertical sonority taking precedence over voice leading.

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