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12-1  VOICE LEADING OF REPEATED TRIADS

1. Voice Leading Of Repeated Triads.

When voice leading repeated triads, problems such as overlapped voices, crossed voices, or violation of ranges and interval limits are likely to occur. Two alternative methods of voice leading repeated triads are change of position and reposition. Both methods can help to avoid part writing problems and also provide variety from one chord to the next.

2. Open/Close Position.

a. Triads can be written in either open or close position. In close position, the distance between the soprano voice and the tenor voice is the interval of an octave or less (measure one, Figure 12-1). In open position, the distance between the soprano voice and the tenor voice is the interval of a ninth or more (measure two, Figure 12-1).

 

Figure 12-1. Close and Open Positions

b. Triads can be written in different positions (open or close) to:

avoid extreme ranges.
correct voice doubling.
avoid large leaps in an inner voice.

c. The first measure of Figure 12-2 shows extreme ranges. The second measure of Figure 12-2 shows an incompletely voiced triad. The third measure of Figure 12-2 shows overlapping voices and large leaps between inner voices. All three positions are to be avoided.

Figure 12-2. Avoided Positions

SELF REVIEW EXERCISE 12-1

Identify the position used (close or open) in each of the following chords (Figure 12-3). Write your answers in the spaces provided below the staff.

Figure 12-3. Identify Open/Close Position

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Answer Key

3. Change of Position.

a. Change of position is an effective way to vary the notes in the soprano voice when a chord is repeated. When changing position, the triad can move from either close position to open position, or from open position to close position. When triads change position, the chord remains the same while its notes occur in different voices. Figure 12-4 shows the change of position from close to open and from open to close position.

Figure 12-4. Change of Position

b. To change position (open to close, or close to open), keep the common tones in the bass voice and in one of the upper voices. Interchange the note names of the remaining two voices, ensuring that the new pitches fall within the normal range for each voice. In Figure 12-5, the bass and alto notes keep their common tones while the soprano and tenor voices exchange note names. The soprano note (C) moves up to an E and the tenor note (E) moves down to a C. In the first chord, the distance between the soprano and tenor voices is the interval of a sixth (close position). In the second chord, the distance between the soprano and tenor voices is the interval of a tenth (open position).

Figure 12-5. Exchanged Notes in Upper Voices

4. Reposition.

a. Reposition is an effective way to vary the notes in the upper three voices when a chord is repeated. Reposition uses a process similar to that of the change of position; however, the chords do not move from open to close or from close to open position. Figure 12-6 shows reposition between repeated chords.

Figure 12-6. Reposition

b. To reposition triads, move the three upper voices in similar motion. The bass voice keeps the same note. In Figure 12-7, the upper three voices move up.

Figure 12-7. Reposition of Triads

NOTE: The problems of hidden or parallel fifths or octaves do not occur when using change of position or reposition. However, you still must make sure that voices do not cross, overlap, or violate range and interval limits.

SELF REVIEW EXERCISE 12-2

Identify whether change of position or reposition has been used to voice lead the triads in the following examples (Figure 12-8). Write your answers in the spaces provided below the staff.

Figure 12-8. Identify Change of Position/Reposition

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David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015