Voice Leading Patterns Combined

When more than two voices are involved it is possible to combine more than one type of voice leading pattern at the same time. The following example shows how basic voice leading patterns can be combined and how voice leading can be built up in layers:

The following extract is from Palestrina's Jesus junxit se discipulis

This section is in three voices, each moving at different paces, thus combining different voice leading patterns. We can see how the voice leading elaborates the underlying chord progression if we strip away the voice leading and then add it back, step by step. The following is the underlying chord progression: a D minor chord moving to a C major chord.

This is elaborated firstly by dividing up the notes of the D minor chord by arpeggiation and repeating notes as follows:

The arpeggios are indicated here by slurs. The slurs are used as analytical symbols. They are not intended to have their normal meaning.

This is now further elaborated by the addition of an auxiliary note, two passing notes and a double suspension moving in 6ths as follows:

The auxiliary note is indicated by "A", the passing notes are indicated by "P" The two suspended notes move in parallel 6ths and are prepared and resolved correctly for a suspension. The F forms a compound 4th from the bass at the third beat of bar 2 and the A forms a 6th with the bass. These descend to form a 5th and 3rd with the bass as indicated in the figured bass notation. This effectively combines second species, third species and fourth species counterpoint in one simple example.

This is a very simple example of how an underlying chord progression (D minor to C major) can be elaborated by voice leading. This elaboration involves a combination of voice leading devices and these are applied in layers. There are two layers involved here, because the arpeggios have to be applied first and the auxiliary notes and passing notes can only be applied once the arpeggios are in place. This illustrates the way elaboration can be built in layers and shows that some voice leading devices can have greater structural importance than others. The suspensions would, in this example, have to be applied first to accommodate the passing note in the last beat of the second bars shown.

See latter sections for further examples of voice leading with combined patterns.

Next Topic: Movement in 10ths




Ver. 2.6