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Section 26.7 Voice Leading Root Position Triads in Four Parts

We are writing in four parts but triads have three notes. We will double the root of every root position chord. (The root is in the bass when a triad is in root position, so we are doubling the bass note in an upper part.)

To move from one chord to the next, consider the interval that occurs melodically in the bass line between the current chord and subsequent one.

Subsection 26.7.1 Bass movement of the interval of a 3rd or 6th

In the upper three parts (soprano, alto, and tenor): retain the two common tones and move the other voice by step

Figure 26.7.2.

Subsection 26.7.2 Bass movement of the interval of a 4th or 5th

In the upper three parts, do one of the following:

  1. Retain the common tone and move the other two voices by step

  2. Move all of the upper voices in the same direction (each upper voice will move by a 2nd or 3rd to the nearest chord member in the second chord)

Subsection 26.7.3 Bass movement of the interval of a 2nd

Move the three upper parts in contrary motion to the bass line.

Figure 26.7.3.

There is one exception, which leads us to the following principle:

In this situation, two voices move in an upward direction and two voices move in a downward direction. This results in a doubled 3rd in the VI chord. In the major mode, use this voice-leading solution if \(\hat{7}\) is in the soprano voice (because it is a tendency tone—see Item 1).

Figure 26.7.5. Voice leading the deceptive progression in minor

The following two examples demonstrate the two possible ways to deal with the deceptive progression in the major mode.

Figure 26.7.6. \(\hat{7}\) in the soprano voice in the deceptive progression in major
Figure 26.7.7. \(\hat{7}\) in an inner voice in the deceptive progression in major

Subsection 26.7.4 Repetition of the bass note

Repeat the upper three notes or arpeggiate the upper notes to different chord members while maintaining the voicing of a doubled the root, one 3rd and one 5th.

Figure 26.7.8. Repeated notes in the bass line