What is the theoretical term for the voice-leading phenomenon whereby the note that a suspension is expected to resolve to appears in another voice on the same beat that the suspension begins? You can see a version of this in the final cadence of 'O nata lux' by Thomas Tallis, second to last bar, second to last beat; a suspended fourth in the top voice and the minor third of the chord in the tenor. Obviously, this is not a voice-leading error in this case and the suspension doesn't actually resolve on the minor third in the top voice. Regardless, I'm curious to know what this type of voice-leading is called as I can't find any information on it. Thanks in advance.


If you mean the setting of the word "corporis" in the last bar, that's an English cadence, and it was fairly common in English music of the 16th and 17th centuries - Wikipedia uses an example from another Tallis work. The distinguishing feature is that the raised and natural leading tones are used at the same time.

  • Yes, I know, but there is a suspension going on and in the old harmonic style it is not normal for another voice to double the note the suspension is leading toward before it has been resolved. Just like parallel fifths, crossed voices, unprepared dissonances, whatever; all of which have names and are well documented. I realize this is still the renaissance but it is the only example of this type of voice-leading that springs to mind because it is not a common error to make (but I know that it is called something because it has a name in my native tongue which sadly I have forgotten). – Bridge Jun 15 '15 at 15:53
  • Except that it does seem to be common practice in this cadence. The example in Wikipedia, O sacrum convivium, also suspends the fourth. If it were a straight 4-3 suspension, then, yeah, doubling the leading tone would have have been a solecism. This would be true even if it weren't a suspension (i.e., the tonic wasn't suspended, but resolved to the leading tone immediately). The fact here, though, is that the cadence works with a split seventh, so there is no doubling, and the passing note E♭ in the tenor partially resolves the dissonance. (more...) – user16935 Jun 15 '15 at 18:36
  • It's a form of false or cross relation, which might be the translation of the term you're trying to remember. At any rate, this particular form of cross relation, this specific cadence, dates back to the start of Ars nova (Machaut), so I think the "rules" of Renaissance polyphony as actually practised allowed this. Renaissance music had a hardier sense of dissonance than most people realise. – user16935 Jun 15 '15 at 18:36
  • I'm sorry but you are misunderstanding. I'm well aware of what is happening in the Tallis piece, all I wish to know is what this type of erroneous handling of suspensions is called. The specific case of the English cadence only has relevance insofar as it is an illustration of the type of voice-leading I'm referring to, because finding a real world example of a straight 4-3 "spoiled" suspension would prove difficult. – Bridge Jun 15 '15 at 19:20
  • Also I'm not talking about doubling the leading tone, I mean setting up a situation where there is a second or ninth dissonance between the suspended note and the other tone which should not be there (because usually in suspensions the voice carrying it is given room to breath so to speak). Just to be absolutely clear: In C major; soprano sings F and alto sings D. On the next beat the soprano sustains the F and the alto sings E. Suspension resolves to E on a unison between S & A. Clearly quite clumsy in common harmonic practice and normally would be considered an error - but what is it called? – Bridge Jun 15 '15 at 19:26

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