Skip to main content

Section 10.12 Adding Non–Chord Tones to a Chord Progression

Here are ideas for how to add non–chord tones (or “embellishments”) to the melody or inner voice part of a chord progression:

  1. Repeated note: add upper or lower neighbor

  2. Step down:

    1. Add a suspension by delaying the resolution of the note

    2. Add an escape tone by moving by step in the opposite direction of the original stepwise movement, then leap

    3. Add a double neighbor

    4. Add a chromatic passing tone

    5. Add an anticipation

  3. Step up:

    1. Add retardation by delaying resolution of the note

    2. Add a double neighbor

    3. Add a chromatic passing tone

    4. Add an anticipation

    5. Add an appoggiatura by leaping one step beyond the note of resolution, placing the appogiatura on the beat, displacing the note of resolution to occur after the beat

  4. Leap of 3rd:

    1. Fill in the 3rd with a passing tone

    2. Add an appoggiatura by leaping one step beyond the note of resolution, placing the appogiatura on the beat, displacing the note of resolution to occur after the beat

  5. Leaps of 4th or larger: do not embellish (for now)

Here is a basic framework with all possibilities labeled.

Here is one possible solution:

Notice that, when non–chord tones are added to different voices on the same beat, consonant intervals (3rds, 5ths, 6ths, or 8ves) are made. If consonant intervals can't be made, the voices are staggered rhythmically (as occurs on beats 3 and 4 in measure one of the example above).