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Chapter 9
Voice Leading in Four-Part
Chorale Writing
Four Voice Texture
• Music that is written in four voices:
– Soprano
– Alto
– Tenor
– Bass
• SATB
• The four individual lines come together,
making a chord, while maintaining smooth
melodic connections from pitch to pitch.
Chorale
• Congregational hymns in the German
Protestant church
• Johann Sebatian Bach spent the majority
of his life as a Protestant church musician
• He employed chorale melodies in his
compositions
• This body of music is generally regarded
as the apex of artistic development of
chorale-based liturgical music
Stylistic Practices
• A common method for part writing in
particular progressions
• Sets the rules we will use in our part
writing (see page 373 for all the part
writing practices)
• See pages 192 through 195 for examples
of stylistic practices
Root Position Triads
•
•
Always double the root.
Chords that have the root a 4th or a 5th apart
1. Keep the common tone and move the remaining two
upper voices stepwise to the chord tones of the next
triad. If handled correctly, the roots will be doubled.
2. If you cannot keep the common tone, especially
when the soprano voice descends scale degrees 2
to 1, move all three upper voices in similar motion to
the nearest chord tone. If handled correctly, the
roots will be doubled.
Root Position Triads
•
Chords that have the root a third apart
3. Keep both common tones and move the
remaining upper voice stepwise. If handled
properly, the roots of the two chords will be
doubled.
Root Position Triads
•
Chords that have the root a 2nd apart
4. Move the three upper voices in contrary
motion to the bass, making sure that each
voice moves to the nearest chord tone of the
next chords. If handled correctly, the roots
of the two chords will be doubled. An
exception is the progression V to vi or VI. In
this case, double the third factor of the vi or
VI triad. Only two upper voices will move in
the opposite direction to the bass.
Root Position Triads
• Chords that are repeated
– Maintain proper doubling and range of voices,
and keep the usual order of voices.
Otherwise, you are free to exchange chord
factors among voices. Sometimes a change
of inversion will take place.
• Assignment 9.1 Finish Chorales
1st Inversion Triads
• Uses
– To smooth out the bass line, to make it more
conjunct as opposed to completely disjunct.
– To provide melodic motion in the bass.
1st Inversion Triads
• Treating the first inversion triads depends
on the surrounding chords. Because of
this, there aren’t set rules governing the
voice leading practices.
• Try to keep each voice as smooth as
possible by moving each voice stepwise,
but be sure to follow all inviolate rules of
voice leading.
1st Inversion Triads
•
One general stylistic practice is:
6. Double any triad factor that facilitates
smooth voice leading. The soprano voice is
most common, followed by the bass voice.
Never double the leading tone, and keep to
the rules.
1st Inversion Triads
•
The vii°6 triad
– The leading tone triad is usually always in first
inversion and progresses most often to the tonic. It
has a dominant function because the V and the vii°
have two notes in common (in C major: G-B-D and
B-D-F)
•
Voice leading:
7. Double the third (bass note) or fifth factor. The bass
note is preferred. Move all voices with as much
stepwise motion as possible. Avoid melodic skips of
a tritone.
1st Inversion Triads
•
The ii°6 triad
– This has a different function than the vii°6.
The ii°6 has a pre-dominant function and
precedes the dominant.
•
Voice leading:
8. Double the third (bass note) or the root,
which will be in an upper voice. Make voice
leading as stepwise as possible and avoid
leaps of a tritone.
2nd Inversion Triads
• Use only with extreme caution because of how unstable
these are. The most common second inversion triad you
will see is the tonic, but others do happen.
• Uses:
– Cadential – the tonic 6/4 chord resolves to the V chord at the
cadence. Used in this manner, it is a decoration of the V chord.
Always double the bass in this case.
– Passing Bass – The bass note (fifth factor) is a passing tone.
– Arpeggiated bass – The bass note (fifth factor) participates in an
arpeggiation of the same chord.
– Pedal Bass – Also known as stationary bass or neighboring tone
chords, the bass is preceded and followed by the same tone and
is placed between two root positions of the same triad.
2nd Inversion Triads
•
Rule:
9.
Except under unusual circumstances, double the
bass (fifth factor)
•
•
•
Approach and depart from 6/4 chords with as few skips as
possible
Only in the arpeggiated 6/4 chord is the bass note
approached or left by a skip
Use only the four types of 6/4 chords described
–
–
–
–
Cadential
Passing Bass
Arpeggiated bass
Pedal Bass
• Assignment 9.2
Rules
• Exceptions to these rules
– Sometimes it may not be possible to totally
follow all these rules. There are some
guidelines for this if this does happen:
Inviolate Rules
• Rules that cannot be broken
1. Avoid parallel P8, P5 and P1. Successive
intervals containing the same pitches are not
considered parallel.
2. Never double the leading tone of the scale.
3. Do not write pitches outside the range of a
voice. Keep all four voices within their
respected ranges at all times (page 203).
4. Avoid the melodic augmented second (A2)
and fourth (A4) in all voices.
Occasionally Broken
5.
6.
7.
8.
Avoid crossing voices. Keep voices in proper order.
Spacing between voices should not exceed an octave
in the upper three voices. The spacing between the
bass and the tenor can be any reasonable interval and
should never exceed two octaves.
Do not overlap voices more than a whole step. An
overlap occurs when one voice moves above or below
the previous pitch of an adjacent voice.
Do not move in the same direction to perfect intervals
in the outer voices (soprano and bass).
Occasionally Broken
9. Unequal fifths are P5 to d5 or vice versa, are found in
chorale phrases and may be used sparingly.
10. Melodic augmented seconds and fourths are never
found in 18th century chorales.
a) The melodic descending d5 appears sometimes in bass voices,
but never in the soprano.
b) The d4 is a diatonic interval in the harmonic minor scale (the
third down to the seventh scale degree) and may be written in
isolated situations
11. The leading tone should progress upward to the tonic
when it is in the outer voices (soprano or bass).
Assignment
• Complete Assignments
– 75A
– 80E
– 9.4