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I'm working on AMEB Grade 3 Theory and in the "piano style" chapter, it asks to follow the chords and then write a plagal cadence in piano style. The thing is, I'm getting them wrong according to the answer book. I understand that the bass note has to be played in the left hand and the other 3 notes have to be played in the right, but can the notes in the right hand (the chord) be played in any order? Are my answers also correct?enter image description here

I've attached a photo of the question :)

Book answers

  • Welcome to Stack Exchange! Could you help us out by showing us what the answers say? That might give us more of a clue as to what is wrong here. Also, if you haven't already, please take the Tour and visit the Help Centre – Aric Aug 20 '18 at 12:17
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'Piano style' may be a clue. Yes, they're all correct, in as much as the chord names. However, at this level, the answer expected may well be to move r.h. notes as little as possible. So in E>Am (which could have just possibly been E>A), the B could move to C, E stay where it is, and the G#, as the leading note, go to A. 3rd example, Bb stays at the top, G moves to F, and Eb moves to D. Amen!

  • You have them all in root position anyway - the root note on the lowest place ion a chord guarantees that. – Tim Aug 20 '18 at 13:16
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You are expected to follow the same "rules" of voice leading as you would in "vocal style" four part harmony.

For these exercises, that means

  1. The leading note should progress to the tonic, in a V-I cadence

  2. The notes in the three "voices" in the right hand should not "overlap." For example you broke that "rule" in your first exercise because the notes in the second and third parts (A and C) were both higher than the top part in the precious chord (G#). An easy way to do that is to make each part move the smallest interval possible - either repeat the same note, or move just a semitone or whole tone up or down.

  3. You should avoid consecutive octaves and fifths between any of the top three parts and the bass. An easy way to do that is to make the bass move in contrary motion to the top three parts, as in the first and third "correct" examples. You have to take particular care over this when the root of the chord moves by a tone or a semitone - for example IV V or V IV.

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