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Questions tagged [voice-leading]

The craft of writing multipart music such that all notes are transitioned to in a "smooth" or "harmonious" manner consistent with common practice harmony.

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Is there a rule in SATB writing regarding the Soprano & Bass moving in contrary motion?

While writing a melody over a bass line, it is generally advised to have the melody & the bass line moving in contrary motion to each other. I want to know if such a rule also exists when you ...
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3answers
334 views

Maximum interval between Alto & Tenor, & intervals when writing for SATB

What is the maximum interval permitted between the Alto & Tenor when writing for SATB? I have read it should not be more than a 10th, whereas another source said it should not be more than an 8th. ...
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1answer
57 views

Tenor part written higher than the Alto part in SATB

I have read that Bach in his chorales wrote the tenor part high (frequently using ledger lines for this). Another source said that the Tenor part would be written higher than the Alto part - for ...
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3answers
191 views

Does the 7th major scale note resolve more strongly to the lower tonic (note 1) than the higher tonic (note 8)? [closed]

Does the 7 resolve more strongly to the 'lower' tonic (1) than the 'higher' tonic? I used the word resolve as the octave notes are different despite being the same name. My ear says going from B ...
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7answers
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How do you voice extended chords?

If I have a Cmaj13 chord, it uses 7 notes. Basically all the notes of the scale. In a previous question, I was told that you rarely play all 7 notes for a 13th chord. So how do you know which ones to ...
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1answer
89 views

Parallel octaves in left hand chords

In classical / romantic harmony, are parallel octaves allowable in left hand chords? When and why? For example, in Chopin's Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2, right at the beginning, there are parallel G-A-G. ...
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3answers
642 views

Is it wrong to have two voices move from a perfect fifth to a perfect octave?

I had a teacher once tell me that although not forbidden, it is not advisable to have the same two voices move from a perfect fifth to a perfect octave (specifically referring to a four-part chorale ...
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1answer
84 views

chord voicing to improve overall sound

I have the following phrase: I like the progression and the tension that builds during the VII and V7. I also like the melody in the top staff, but I am happy to change it if necessary. Here's the ...
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“Only open voicing below middle C!” Really?

Every resource I've seen and person I've talked to has said that putting low voices, usually trombones, in close spacing anywhere below C4 is to be avoided at all costs, due to muddiness. As I arrange,...
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1answer
68 views

minor ii-7 moving to I-6

In traditional hymn writing, can I move from a ii-7 in root position to the I chord in first inversion in the middle of my hymn, then continue to the V as a half cadence?
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1answer
74 views

In minor, can the neapolitan sixth chord resolve to the diminished seventh chord on the leading-tone (of the same key)?

What would that look like voice-leading-wise? I'm assuming more or less traditional common-practice harmony rules. Examples from the literature would be much appreciated.
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1answer
221 views

What’s the voice leading error?

I am looking for a voice leading error or chord construction error in this example but can’t seem to find one. Any pointers would be great!
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2answers
112 views

Geometric Voice Leading Presentation

I'm coming from a non-academic background and just trying to understand the rules of voice leading for pursuing a future composing career. I've always found difficulties in understanding this topic on ...
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8answers
897 views

Doubling the third of a root position major chord in four-part harmony

In a manual for four-part harmony that I am reading, it is suggested to avoid doubling the 3rd of a root position major chord, as it sounds harsh. On a minor root position chord however, it is ...
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3answers
58 views

What does Satb theory say about moving octave C into a perfect fiftth?

On a piano you could play octave C moving to G-D. The high C moves up to D and the lower C moves up to G. X:1 L:1/2 M: K:C %%score B V:B clef=bass % 1 [V:B] [C,C] [G,D] What would four-...
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1answer
285 views

How do I write “piano style” cadences?

I'm currently undertaking the AMEB theory grades. I'm up to grade 4 and am working on different types of cadences but I STILL don't understand how "piano style" (the one with the bass note in the bass ...
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2answers
50 views

is this a part interrupt?

at measure 6 , the soprano starts with the G so shouldn't the alto not go over the G till the next measure ? but you could see the alto is getting higher then the G through the measure.. is this a ...
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4answers
226 views

Do 4-part harmony rules also apply to piano arrangements?

Does rules in 4-part harmony also apply to piano arrangements ? Like for example no doubling the 3rd note of the chord, or moving in parallel 5, etc.
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1answer
466 views

4-part Harmony exercise 2

The exercise was to make the tenor alto soprano for the bass note given. is there any rules I violated ? any feedbacks will be welcome thanks !
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2answers
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Is there any rule I violated in my 4-part harmony exercise?

The exercise was to make the harmony for the bass notes. I'm studying with a book by myself so I'm not sure if I am doing this right.
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4answers
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Parallel fifths and power chords

Don’t power chords, used frequently in rock and pop songs, break the voice leading rule of no parallel fifths? As long as one of the other instruments (second guitar, bass) is playing the thirds of ...
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2answers
126 views

How should six-four chords be resolved?

In the point deduction section of the AP Music Theory exam guidelines, it says: The 6th or 4th of a 6 4 chord is unresolved or resolved incorrectly. What exactly does this entail?
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1answer
131 views

Can voice overlap occur in different phrases?

Is it possible for voices in one phrase to overlap with voices in another in SATB chorale style? For example: the alto sings middle C in one phrase and in the next phrase the tenor sings D. This ...
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2answers
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Are consecutive 3rds allowed in harmony?

In harmony, is it okay if there are consecutive 3rds in ii-V progression in two different bars?
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1answer
133 views

Do SATB part-writing rules apply during repetition or when additional stanzas are sung?

If you have an SATB piece of music that begins with, say, "DFAD," and ends with "GBDG" (picardy third in this case), and if this piece is repeated (e.g., stanzas in a hymn), would the tenor be ...
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2answers
218 views

Consecutive fourths in melodic motion

Context: My theory book is elaborating on some rules for melodic motion to be applied to the soprano voice when Writing in Four Parts. In the screenshot below, I'm trying to digest the quote: Two ...
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2answers
471 views

Diatonic harmonic function of chord inversions

I'm trying to make my way through the classical harmony, and I'm making good progress, but since my last composition lesson there's been something which is not entirely clear to me. So my teacher is ...
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1answer
122 views

Reason for voice-crossing in Mahler's Symphony 1

I was reading through the full score of Mahler's Symphony No. 1 today to see how it's orchestrated and hopefully learn a few things from it. This particular bar from the first movement interested me: ...
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1answer
133 views

Is there a standard non-Fux counterpoint method?

The OP for this question refers to a rule for second-species counterpoint which isn't mentioned in Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum. The answer confirms it, and adds yet another rule, referring to "strict ...
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1answer
53 views

Voice crossings and voice leading measures

In "The Geometry of Music", Dmitri Tymockzo discusses voice crossings in measures of voice leading sizes: "I consider a measure of voice-leading size to be “reasonable” if it satisfies two basic ...
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2answers
542 views

What determines if counterpoint is good or bad?

I am currently reading through the Complete Musician and the current subject is second species counterpoint. I've written about 5 or 6 counterpoints so far in first and second species. That said ...
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5answers
197 views

How can I harmonize this V-I cadence? It causes parallel octaves between bass and soprano

How can I harmonize this cadence? V-I? It causes parallel octaves between bass and soprano
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2answers
147 views

“Bad” voiceleading in Czerny Op.599

There seems to be a parallel octave between measure 3 and 4. (Marked with red) The seventh of the dominant seventh chord in measure 3 seems to have a "wrong" resolution. It is supposed to resolve ...
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3answers
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Voice leading rule hidden fifths/octaves

Good afternoon everyone! Sometime 2 years ago I started practicing voice leading for 4 voices, but since I had to spend all my time on school I kind of stopped halfway. Since I graduated I've picked ...
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2answers
354 views

Voice leading a plagal cadence

I was wondering if the above plagal cadence in Eb major was correct or not. Also, are the stem directions right? And am I right to assume that I had to write it in only 2 part? or is it actually 4 ...
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4answers
420 views

Is contrary motion a requirement when approaching a cadence?

Do the upper parts in all cadences move in contrary motion to the bass.if I write it like that, am I wrong? Or is it only for adjacent chords?
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2answers
673 views

Parallel Octaves and Fifths in Jazz?

Do Jazz musicians make any effort to avoid parallel 5ths and octaves?
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1answer
301 views

Is there a compilation of The Well-Tempered Clavier voice-leading reductions?

Reading about Voice leading on the Wikipedia I came across an example of two reductions of a part of the Preludium in C major (BWV 846a) and was puzzled to know if there is a compilation of those ...
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What led to the historical predominance of the four-part harmony in Western Music?

Introductory music theory heavily empasizes analysis and writing of music with four-part harmony, putatively the basis for music at the beginning of the common practice. Why did four-part voice ...
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How do “voice-leading”, “part-writing”, “polyphony” and “counterpoint” differ?

What are the differences in meaning and usage between “voice-leading”, “part-writing”, “polyphony” and “counterpoint”? According to Wikipedia: Voice-leading is “the term used to describe the linear ...
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1answer
177 views

What's voice leading and how does it work?

What's is voice leading and how does it work? I'd really appreciate a thorough answer. What I mean by how it works is how is it achieved and what's the basis of it?
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Homophonic Voice Leading (Hymns)

Apologies if this should be obvious (there's a related discussion here) But, I've only recently taken the plunge into learning music theory and an instrument. I've been reading up on harmony and voice-...
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1answer
181 views

What harmonic devices approach the tonic's root from a semitone above?

Usually, a dominant will have two voices approaching the tonic's root. Most traditionally, the leading melody comes from a semitone below, while the other (generally the bass) simply jumps between the ...
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3answers
431 views

What is the purpose of voice-crossing here?

I'm starting to work through Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum. For the two-voice, first-species, Phrygian-mode, lower-voice exercise (p. 36 on the first Google result for "Fux Gradus"), Aloys says that he ...
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1answer
889 views

What is the proper chord interpretation for the intro to Stairway to Heaven?

The opening sequence in Stairway to Heaven is an A minor chord followed by something strange followed by C/G, D/F#, and Fmaj7. I've seen the second chord notated as Am/G#, G#aug, and even Am/maj7/add2....
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2answers
505 views

Are parallel octaves okay in other styles of music?

In a musical theatre piece is it wrong to have lots of parallel octaves in the voices?
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Tonality and Rules

One can find many books on "tonality"during the common practice period. e.g., Piston. Tonality seems to be definable as the way in which composers express the chromatic scale in a organized way ...
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2answers
315 views

Voice leading/resolution of consecutive secondary dominant 7ths

What's the proper voice leading procedure when two consecutive secondary dominant seventh chords (with the same root chord) occur before the resolution to the root chord? For example V7/ii -> V42/ii ->...
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Is two singing voices occasionaly being unison “allowed”?

I was writing a lower harmony to an existing (rock) lead voice with a given chord progression and there is a point in time, where it seems like the two voices need to sing the very same note. The only ...
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686 views

Do the notes of a chord form parallel octaves, even when they are not played simultaneously?

Here is an example of what I'm trying to say The sample below is in Bb major. Do the notes of the bass and the alto form parallel octaves? On the alto voice I'm using delayed resolution. On the ...