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12-3  VOICE LEADING OF FIRST INVERSION TRIADS

7. Soprano Doubling In First Inversion Triads.

a. In previous lessons, you were taught to double the bass note of a root position triad or to double the third of a first inversion triad. As an alternative to either of these voicings, it is also acceptable to double the soprano note in first inversion triads, regardless of whether the soprano note is the root, third, or fifth of the triad (Figure 12-14). The soprano note is doubled to avoid voice leading problems in subsequent chords.

Figure 12-14. Soprano Doubling

b. When connecting triads in first inversion, the primary concern is the correct approach and resolution of the doubled note. Use contrary motion, oblique motion, or similar motion to approach the doubled note (Figure 12-15).

Figure 12-15. Three Ways To Approach Doubled Note

c. Use contrary motion, oblique motion, or similar motion to resolve the doubled note (Figure 12-16).

Figure 12-16. Three Ways to Resolve Doubled Note

8. Approaching The Doubled Note Of First Inversion Triads.

a. First, write the triad in inversion (measure 1, Figure 12-17).

b. Then, approach the doubled note by contrary or oblique motion (measure 2, Figure 12-17).

c. Finally, keep the common tone if possible (measure 3, Figure 12-17).

Figure 12-17. Approaching Doubled Note

9. Resolving the Doubled Note of First Inversion Triads.

a. First, move from the doubled note by step using contrary or oblique motion (measure 1, Figure 12-18).

b. Then, keep the common tone if possible (measure 2, Figure 12-18).

c. Finally, move the remaining voice by step to the nearest tone of the new chord (measure 3, Figure 12-18).

Figure 12-18. Resolving Doubled Note

10. Soprano Doubling to Avoid Parallel Octaves and Fifths.

When writing first inversion triads in succession, care must be taken to avoid creating parallel octaves and fifths between the soprano and the two inner voices. In Figure 12-19, parallel octaves occur between the soprano and tenor voices.

Figure 12-19. Parallel Octaves and Fifths

a. Double the soprano note with a different chord member (root, third, or fifth) in each successive chord to avoid parallel octaves and fifths. In Figure 12-20, the root is doubled in the first chord and the fifth is doubled in the second chord to avoid parallel octaves and fifths.

Figure 12-20. Different Soprano Doubling

b. You can also double the soprano note with the same chord members (root, third, or fifth) in each successive chord as long as the doubled note occurs in a different pair of voices in each chord. In the first chord of Figure 12-21, the doubled root occurs between the soprano and tenor voices. In the second chord of Figure 12-21, the doubled root occurs between the soprano and alto voices. Doubling in different pairs of voices avoids parallel octaves and fifths.

Figure 12-21. Same Soprano Doubling in Different Pairs of Voices

NOTE: Avoid doubling the leading tone or any altered tone. When part writing successive triads in first inversion, use the same principles of approaching and resolving the doubled note presented in paragraphs 8 and 9.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015