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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2answers
80 views

Why do tendency tones and non-chord tones usually resolve down not up?

Not all the time but in voice leading the dissonances usually resolve down.. suspensions, leading tones, 7ths etc... they always are taught to resolve downwards. Why not up?
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3answers
55 views

How to write a 4 part progression going from V to VI in minor keys

Apparently the 3rd of the VI needs to be doubled but in this progression I have written the motion from V to VI with the normal doubling and it sounds great to me. I don't understand why they make ...
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2answers
192 views

Why do 7ths need resolve if the V chord is inverted?

A V65 or ii65 have 3 upper chord tones that all form consonances with the bass so why did the chordal seventh require resolution in voice leading as it did in root position?
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0answers
63 views

What does a 10 above a figured bass symbol mean?

I am going to guess here and say that the tenor will be a 10th above the bass but not sure.. can someone please confirm? perhaps it means the Soprano is a 10th above?
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2answers
67 views

Can ii move to V43 over static bass just like IV can move V42?

In my harmony book (by Aldwell and Schachter) the progression from IV to V42 is a common one and gets its own section. But the book makes no mention of using scale degree ^2 in the bass. Is moving to ...
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1answer
64 views

What are idiomatic ways to harmonize ^5 ^4 ^3?

I have only learned a few chords in my harmony and voice leading book. I, I6, V, V6, ii, ii6, IV and the inversions of V7. I am now trying to harmonize this melody and so far the most idiomatic ...
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1answer
89 views

How to write 4 part chord progressions when the roots are only a step apart

My textbook instructs me to use contrary motion with the upper parts against the bass when writing chords a step apart. But here in this image you can see I have voiced the chords IV - V so that I can ...
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3answers
63 views

Why use V43 over vii°6?

It seems that there is a leap of a 4th when moving from I6 to V43. wouldnt a descending bassline with ^2 having a vii°6 be smoother in connecting I6 with I53? Or perhaps there is another good reason ...
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2answers
277 views

Does V42 only resolve to I6 or can it move to V7 forming a stepwise bass?

If the chordal 7th needs to resolve down by step then I understand why V42 should move to I6 but cant chords be expanded and the dissonant 7th in a 7th chord move to another voice for example from the ...
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2answers
150 views

Can an expanded dominant precede a cadential 6/4 chord?

My textbook actually says that you should avoid this because it contradicts what the cadential 4 is supposed to do but using the given melody (which I couldnt change) this is the best harmonization I ...
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2answers
67 views

Why are augmented 2nds not used in 4-part harmony?

Here is just one example, but all throughout my textbook they seem to be saying that it is bad voice leading using aug 2nds. However, I tried to play a lot of the examples and they sound ok on piano. ...
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1answer
27 views

Are weak - strong relations a valid consideration when writing harmony for a given soprano line?

When writing chord progressions for a given soprano line my textbook says that rhythmic considerations will often determine whether one harmony is better or less good than another. Think of a soprano ...
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4answers
276 views

Is ii° V i a common progression in common practice harmony?

I am learning all about subdominant triads and my textbook shows most voice leading of I-ii-V progressions using major keys. It says that because of its harsh quality, the ii° chord was not used as ...
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5answers
497 views

Best way to harmonize cadential 3^ 1^ in the soprano

I am trying to harmonize a melody I wrote and am stuck at the end. I like the 3^ over the bass, but what chord should it be? I64? iii? Also, what other improvements could be made?
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1answer
36 views

Is it correct voice leading to move the same right hand chord shape down in contrary motion to the bass?

Here is a progression I wrote where you can see the right hand just moves down playing the same chord shape in CM to the bass. Is this good voice leading or is using 2 chords in the right hand with ...
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3answers
373 views

In voice leading why do tones of resolution have to occur in the same voice?

This part of music theory is very flawed IMO and maybe someone can change my mind but there is all this talk about resolving dissonances when studying voice leading and most textbooks seem to be ...
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1answer
55 views

Is it ok to move from a dim5 to a p5 when moving from vii6 to I6?

Usually moving from a dim5 to a p5 is not a good idea but in this progression is it ok? You can see the dim5 doesn't resolve in the I6 chord but the voice exchange makes it quite smooth. Is there a ...
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6answers
1k views

Why does the 7th of a dominant 7th chord have to resolve down in voice leading?

To properly resolve a dominant 7th chord the 7th usually resolves down by step but by doing this I am not able to have a complete tonic chord. See here please: In voice leading that D in the E7 chord ...
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3answers
54 views

how to harmonize 5,4,3 in the soprano using I V I as the harmony?

Is there a way to do this without parallels? I have tried but can't seem to make it work, and in my textbook the example uses parallel 5ths.
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1answer
44 views

How to simply voice-lead melody for jazz brass

Hello and thank you for your time! My knowledge in music theory is limited, so excuse me. I don't know where to look for the answer. The goal is simple: harmonize a upper melody with chords stacked ...
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3answers
150 views

What are the disadvantages of voice leading, when is it inappropriate?

As per the title. I've seen much about why it's a good thing, and I employ it an awful lot on guitar. I think it can get a bit much and samey. I'd like to read a more learned analysis. For example, ...
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3answers
74 views

Is a leap of a 4th in the Alto voice too large when voice leading?

I am trying to voice lead IV6 V6 I in A major with an ascending bassline and this is the best I could come up with but there is a leap of a 4th. Is this too much? Could someone please tell me what Im ...
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1answer
90 views

Are the rules of voice leading and the rules of counterpoint ever at odds with one another?

I was practicing composing in an SATB setting. I had the chords voiced the way I wanted to, but there was not much rhythmic interest (everything in whole notes). So, I began subdividing the notes ...
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2answers
721 views

Is staggering fifths a good way to avoid parallels?

I was wondering if composing by staggering 5ths was a good way to avoid parallel 5ths and if any famous classical composers actually did this on purpose to avoid consecutive parallel 5ths. EDIT By ...
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3answers
134 views

Melody harmonisation: How to handle leaps?

I am currently harmonising a melody- the last three bars of the phrase are shown in the picture. The melody is in the alto part, and it finishes the phrase with a large leap down to G. I would like to ...
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2answers
118 views

Are there two leading tones?

I always took the leading tone to be the 7th degree (the "subtonic") scale degree. According to author David Neumeyer (The Music of Paul Hindemith), there is another? See the following ...
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3answers
131 views

Why is it called a Gm7/C when C is not even in the chord? [duplicate]

In Louis Armstrongs song "What a wonderful world", the part where he actually sings this phrase happens on what is written as a Gm7/C > C7 > F... so in other words a ii V I progression....
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6answers
105 views

In major keys, since the 7th scale degree resolves up to the 8th, does descending through the scale degrees 8-7-6 violate the leading tone rule?

I need to understand how the leading tone (7th scale degree) functions in major keys. I see that the 7th scale degree (leading tone) resolves up to the 8th (the tonic) because the leading tone is a ...
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3answers
489 views

Are "direct 5ths" only a problem if they occur between the same voices?

I am studying part writing and there is an example of what is considered good and bad part writing. One that confuses me a little is this one: The reason cited for this being bad is: "Leading-...
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2answers
60 views

Complex chord progression (secondary dominants) with simple step-wise melody?

In many musical pieces, complex harmonic relations can be identified in the chord progression even when the melody can intuitively be "felt" to progress in a very simple step-wise manner. ...
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1answer
74 views

Unresolved, non-dominant sevenths in SATB chorale harmony

I'm working on taking some chorales and their soprano lines out of Bach, and making my own harmonizations/compositions — somewhat more elaborate ones than the typical, straight quarter note exercise. ...
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1answer
461 views

Chord voicings used by backup trios in Motown girl groups?

On songs like Be my baby by the Ronettes or Will you love me tomorrow? by the Shirelles (a Carole King tune), there seems to be a standard style of arrangement where you have the lead vocals sung by ...
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2answers
105 views

How do I fix a last chord that has a doubled leading tone?

The chord is "V6 (i.e., first inversion) in Bb major", and has a "2/4" time meter. So far I have been able to set up the four different voice parts as follows: -Soprano: C -Alto: F ...
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2answers
116 views

Forbidden/shunned harmonic progressions in 18th cent. counterpoint

I'm going through Kent Kennan's book on 18th century counterpoint, and early on he touches upon some finer points concering agreeable or not-so-agreeable chord progressions. Only a handful of ...
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1answer
108 views

Why is this jump allowed in four-division time strict part-writing?

From Tchaikovsky's harmony textbook, "Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony", page 121: Concerning example 323 (image below) in the 9th bar bass voice (red circle): Why is this jump from ...
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2answers
127 views

Chromatic Passing notes in Tchaikovsky's Harmony book

From Tchaikovsky's harmony textbook, "Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony", page 98: In the image below, why are the bars contained in the red box of example 258 considered good? The ...
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1answer
157 views

Is there a rhythmic counterpart to voice leading? Is counterpoint supposed to fulfill this role?

I have been studying voice leading and I feel like rhythm is unaddressed in voice leading theory. Here's an example of the types of voice leading rules I'm referring to: Resolve 7->1 in a V chord ...
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1answer
184 views

"Consecutive/parallel 5ths are bad" - does this rule apply to vocals? Or just piano, etc.? [closed]

If I use a vocoder to play the same note as a vocal + a perfect 5th above each note, is that a consecutive 5th? Is this "bad"? Also, if I play C1 and program the vocoder to play a perfect ...
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4answers
117 views

Single Step Voice Leading on Piano

I'm trying to figure out how to "properly" use voice leading. Specifically, I'm wondering how to progress by a single step (is that the correct way of saying it?). For example, say I want ...
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2answers
46 views

RCM Harmony 9 - Neighbour 6/4 with an incomplete triad?

I am not sure what to do here - resolving the V7 chord results in the next I chord being incomplete, so I can’t write the 5-6-5 neighbour motion since there’s no fifth. I can’t write an incomplete V7 ...
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2answers
138 views

Allowed hidden parallel octaves [duplicate]

I have read that hidden direct octaves between two voices are not always forbidden, but that there are some circumstances in which they are acceptable. As I have understood it, the following general ...
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2answers
1k views

Voice leading: is it allowed to move from a perfect fifth to an augmented fourth?

I understand that it is allowed to move from a perfect fifth to a perfect fourth, even if it is not the most preferable solution. However, would it be valid to move from a perfect fifth to an ...
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3answers
196 views

Why are there particular "rules" for using triads in second inversion but not for using seventh chords in second inversion?

In the Classical style, there are three correct uses of the six-four triad (or sometimes four; see When, if ever, are arpeggiated six-four chords really "real"?). The logic is that the ...
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2answers
207 views

What is cantus firmi?

As I understand cantus firmi means that fixed songs and it is used in counterpoint melodies but I could not understand why is it called cantus firmi and its function. Does anybody know why is it ...
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3answers
1k views

Should the comping instrument ever double the bass player?

I was taught that when comping along with a bass player, I should (generally) avoid playing the same note as the bass. Are there times when this is desirable, recommended, or even necessary? If yes, ...
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1answer
52 views

Are there rules for voice-leading? How do you approach splitting a chord progression into different instruments? [closed]

So I write pop/hip-hop music and I'm trying to split my chord progression across instruments. How do you approach doing this well? Cheers, A
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1answer
128 views

Voice-leading issue - Can you split your chords across instruments?

is thi sa voice leading issue? I'm running into issues when creating my harmony section for pop songs, I can create melodies, chord progressions, basslines and percussion but I'm running into issues ...
2
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1answer
60 views

4part harmony, secondary dominant's deceptive cadence

Is it a rule that in a secondary dominant's deceptive cadence the root note goes upper one step to the target chord's root note and the 7th note goes down one step to the 5th note ? Is this a rule ...
2
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2answers
162 views

2nd opinion on voice leading program

I recently discovered @greghmerril's program for detecting common errors in traditional four-part harmony. The following rules of voice leading are checked: Vocal Range; Spacing Between Voices; ...
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1answer
345 views

Counterpoint with more than 4 parts

In Rachmaninoff Prelude in B Minor Op. 32 No. 10 I've noticed that not all voices are 4 parts. In fact I've noticed that in 19th century and 20th century music there's more than 4 parts in a harmony. ...