https://www.musictheory.net/lessons/53 I found this website that seems to explain nonharmonic tones, but i dont understand what it means when it says which every tone is approached by a step or skip. For example the passing tone, says its approached by step, a step is equal to a minor second as this site says,G to F To E the third in a cmajor triad is supposed to be a passing tone. But G to f isnt a minor second, what am i missing, what does it mean to approach by step and skip in reference to the nonharmonic tones, can someone give me some detailed laymen terms of all the nonharmonic tones/non-chord tones changing tones retardation tones, suspened passing double neighboring tones, appogiatrura tones, escape tone, anticipation tones, passing tones, and neighboring tone.

  • The most in depth explanation that I've ever seen is in the book "Tonal Harmony"; it's a music theory text book thats the size of a bible and has everything ever about tonal harmony – Kolob Canyon Nov 5 '16 at 4:41

A "step" (at least in this context) is either a half-step or a whole step. Thus it's a "second" which can be major or minor (or augmented or diminished but that's rather rare). Basically it's a change of name of a note; if A is used as a passing tone, it's approached by a B or a G (any of these may have an accidental.) It's not approached by a C or F (a "leap" not a "step").

  • Ok so the passing tone formula is one major second and then one minor second? also does that apply to every other key for passing tones – Janice Cee Oct 17 '16 at 1:01
  • That's perhaps not the best way to look at it. A passing tone "passes" between two melody tones. Take a simple 2-note melody C-E (not very interesting). Then one can add the passing tone D which occurs between two melody tones (or D# or Db depending on which sounds best in context). Percy Goetschius has a really old book on melody that explains these things rather well. It's available online (PDF) free at Google books or the Internet Archive. This link has some more description: legacy.earlham.edu/~tobeyfo/musictheory/Book2/FFH2_CH5/… – ttw Oct 17 '16 at 2:03

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