I've learned the existence of voice leading chords; passing chords, anticipation chords, and such, but I'm having a hard time understanding them. I know they need to have a so-called "voice leading function", but that's a bit of a vague concept. In what contexts are voice leading chords "allowed", and how are they used in practice?

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    Where are you getting this terminology? Mar 13 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


"Voice-leading chord" is just a generic term for a chord (i.e., notes that happen simultaneously) that doesn't fit any particular functional label, but serves to help the various voices move from one place to another.

  • So something moves by step or oblique motion. What function do leaps have? Where can our voice leading chords have a voice that leaps? Does it only require the bass to move by step? I'm slightly confused on the function of leaps to and from these chords.
    – OprenStein
    Mar 12 at 5:30
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    @OprenStein Each individual note within the chord would follow appropriate voice-leading rules, and so would each pair of voices with in the chord, etc. So any of the voices (notes) in the "voice-leading chord" can be leapt to or from as long as the general rules of voice leading are followed. There's nothing special about the voice-leading that occurs to and from a "voice-leading chord". The rules would be the same as moving from any chord to any other: say, V-I or I-IV. The designation "voice-leading chord" only means that there's no specific functional role (no Roman numeral designation).
    – Aaron
    Mar 12 at 6:05
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    @OprenStein It's a bit of a misnomer to call them "chords" at all. The point is, we're looking "horizontally," at how the voices behave, and that's more important than trying to put a name on the vertical stack of notes. Mar 13 at 0:28

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