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the picture above is an answer to an exercise that shows unaccented passing tone. I thought the blue circled note was also an unaccented passing tone, but it is not included in the answer set. How is it not a unaccented passing tone?

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above picture is an answer to 'unaccented lower neighbor tone'. I considered the blue circled note was also unaccented, and a lower neighbor tone, but the answer does not say so. why is that? enter image description here

Lastly, the picture above is an answer to finding accented passing tone. the blue circled note is not said to be an accented passing tone. Maybe a passing tone must have shorter duration than preceding/following chord tones?

I beg pardon for unhealthly lengthy question!

1 Answer 1


In every case, the blue circled note is a chord tone. By definition, non-harmonic tones (i.e., passing tones, neighbor tones, suspensions) are not chord tones.

  1. In the first problem, the E minor chord on beat one becomes a G major chord on the "and"; thus, the circled D is a part of that G chord.
  2. In problem two, the F# is part of a D major chord that occur on the "and" of beat 2.
  3. Finally, the circled G is part of an E minor chord.

However, these exercises are self-contradictory. For example, in the first exercise, the first measure, "and" of beat four, the F# could easily be interpreted as part of a D major chord: a I-V-vi (G major, D major, E minor) progression would be a perfectly valid interpretation. The argument I could imagine the author making is that since the entire measure is so strongly G major (the "prevailing harmony") that the D major is heard as a passing motion rather than a change of harmony.

The second exercise's unaccented lower neighbor could be considered a chord tone by exactly the same logic as explained in the previous paragraph.

  • I agree. With the same locig all red passing tones can be considered as chord tones of ii7 (beat 1,2 measure 1). Commented May 27 at 6:03
  • 1
    @AlbrechtHügli The problem with that interpretation is that the 7 doesn't resolve. That means the ii7 is still serving as a passing chord, not a structural one.
    – Aaron
    Commented May 27 at 6:37
  • Bar 2, beat 2 of example 1 is a C major chord. The G major chord happens on beat 3. Do you mean the second eighth note of the measure? Commented May 27 at 6:50
  • @JohnBelzaguy Yes, thanks.
    – Aaron
    Commented May 27 at 7:07
  • @Aaron: that's convicing. So 7th chords have to be resolving, otherwise these notes are passing tones? Commented May 27 at 10:21

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