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11-1  ROOT MOVEMENT

1. Root Movement

Root movement is the movement from the root of one chord to the root of another chord. There are six possible diatonic root movements.

a. Descending fifth (or ascending fourth) root movement is shown in Figure 11-1.

Figure 11-1. Descending Fifth

NOTE: Harmonically speaking, whether or not the root note (C) moves down to F (a descending fifth) or up to F (an ascending fourth), both roots move to the same scale degree (Figure 11-2). For the sake of simplicity, both are referred to as descending fifths. This description will be used for the intervals of the fifth, the fourth, and the third.

Figure 11-2. Root Movement Inversion

b. Descending fourth (or ascending fifth) root movement is shown in Figure 11-3.

Figure 11-3. Descending Fourth

c. Descending third (or ascending sixth) root movement is shown in Figure 11-4.

Figure 11-4. Descending Third

d. Ascending second root movement is shown in Figure 11-5.

Figure 11-5. Ascending Second

NOTE: The inversion of the ascending second (descending seventh) is not considered because root movement by the interval of the seventh is uncommon.

e. Descending second root movement is shown in Figure 11-6.

Figure 11-6. Descending Second

NOTE: The inversion of the descending second (ascending seventh) is not considered because root movement by the interval of the seventh is uncommon.

f. Ascending third (or descending sixth) root movement is shown in Figure 11-7.

Figure 11-7. Ascending Third

g. Root movement of an octave is not considered because no harmonic change takes place. This is considered repeated root movement.

SELF REVIEW EXERCISE 11-1

Write the interval that occurs, and whether descending or ascending, in the following root movements (Figure 11-8).

Figure 11-8. Write Root Movement Intervals

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Answer Key

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015