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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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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
84 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
620 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
73 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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5answers
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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
67 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
68 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
187 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
98 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
748 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
57 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
204 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
49 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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3answers
168 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
407 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
293 views

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
102 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
117 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
124 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
188 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
432 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
107 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
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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
478 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
185 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
140 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
2k views

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
334 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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3answers
329 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
622 views

Parallel Octaves and Fifths in Jazz?

Do Jazz musicians make any effort to avoid parallel 5ths and octaves?
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1answer
287 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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3answers
640 views

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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2answers
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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
174 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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2answers
292 views

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
159 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
421 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
845 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
489 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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5answers
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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
296 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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5answers
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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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3answers
663 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 ...
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2answers
278 views

In Four Part Writing, is an augmented unison interval in a single voice allowed?

I'm composing a traditional four-part part-writing piece with a soprano, alto, tenor and bass. The song progresses from a F Major chord to an A Major chord. In the former chord, the bass is on C, and ...
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1answer
239 views

Smooth Voicing Leading Explanation

I know what smooth voice leading is, but I'm writing an OS X app that teaches my piano students how to play chords in a gamified way. Just before they play the first level where they have to play ...
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1answer
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Voice parts singing

What does it mean to sing in unison and in parts...?! For example singing in unison, all voice parts might sing: do re mi fa so la te do but in voice parts soprano might sing: do re mi fa so ...
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2answers
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Talking with the audience in a show [closed]

How long is most practical for talking to the audience to create interest? Why talking to the audience is important to create excitement? When is the best timing in a performance for talking to the ...