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Section 27.2 Voice Leading Successive Seventh Chords

Sometimes you will encounter a situation where there are successive seventh chords. This is especially the case in circle of fifth progressions. When voice leading a circle of fifths progression with root position seventh chords in four parts (SATB), alternate between incomplete seventh chords (without the fifth of the chord) and complete seventh chords, as can be seen in the example below from Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Violins and Cello in D minor, RV 565.

Figure 27.2.1 Vivaldi, Concerto for Two Violins and Cello in D minor, RV 565, V.

If, on the other hand, you are asked to voice lead a circle of fifths progression involving inverted seventh chords, always resolve the seventh of each chord down by step and move the other voices smoothly. You will see the following pattern: two voices will remain on common tones (shown with ties) while the other two voices resolve downward by step.

Figure 27.2.3 Circle of fifths progression with inverted 7th chords (alternating \(\left.\text{}^{6}_{5}\right.\) and \(\left.\text{}^{4}_{2}\right.\))
Figure 27.2.4 Circle of fifths progression with alternating \(\left.\text{}^{7}\right.\) and \(\left.\text{}^{4}_{3}\right.\) chords