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I'm trying to figure out how to do this harmonic progression thing. What I did so far was write out the scale of all the roots. Now I'm trying to determine the common tones.

I don't see any common tones of the 1st 3rd or 5th of F major and E flat; however, I'm not sure if I'm doing this write. Can someone lead me in the right direction?

By the way the blue color is what I added in.

3 Answers 3


The problem is IV doesn't lead very well to V. You will not be able to keep any common tones going from IV to V unless it is a 7th. Just let the tenor drop a 3rd to the C, let the Alto go down to the F, and let the Soprano go down to the A. Your outer voices will have to be in contrary motion with each other and the only parallel motion will be 3rds.


There are no common tones unless you change one of the chords, say, make the F chord an F7. Assuming this is some kind of music theory class homework assignment, my advice to you is just try to make the upper voices move contrary to the bass. After that, you can just let the common tones guide you through the rest of the exercise.


The upbeat is usually done on the dominant chord. I find it weird that your upbeat begins on the tonic. Your rhythm needs work. We do not want just minims all the way through the passage. The use of non chordal notes or some other rhythm needs to be introduced.

Also to have a cadence that ends on the tonic in the middle of a passage is just simply not good. The tonic relieves tension and to give a sense of finality in the middle of music is just not good.

Your soprano voice is stagnant around that Bb. You should when you write the soprano voice consider the soprano voicing as the writing of a melody. You have to write this melody in accordance to your chord progression but still the melody voice needs to be interesting.

Your chord choices also seem a little off. You can very easily make the upbeat a dominant chord in first inversion which will lead much better to a tonic in root position.

Also for the last two bars you can very easily break from your Primary chord shackles by introducing the chords V - vi (2nd bar) and then ii - V (3rd bar) Which will add a great amount of new tones to a harmony that is as is very strong on the I -IV - V idea.

  • 1
    I don't think this is an original composition, I think it is an exercise. The green notes appear to be provided as the exercise with the blue notes being the work done so far by the OP. Aug 16, 2015 at 23:31

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