Voice leading


Voice leading

In music, voice leading is the relationship between the successive pitches of simultaneous moving parts or voices. For example, when moving from a root position C triad or chord played C–E–G to a 6/4 chord over the same bass (C–F–A), one might say that the middle "voice" rises from E to F while the top "voice" rises from G to A, this being a way to "lead" those voices. Instead of considering the two successive chords vertically as separate, one focuses primarily on the "horizontal" (temporal or linear) continuity between notes, though the concept applies to homophonic as well as polyphonic musics. When focusing on horizontal continuity, parallel motion between octaves, fifths, or unison is not allowed. However, popular and jazz music, which focuses more on vertical progression commonly uses parallel octaves. Concern for voice-leading often means a predominance of stepwise motion and may assist or replace diatonic functionality.

In traditional western music, voice leading is generally derived from the rules and typical patterns of counterpoint.

Voice leading may be described as parsimonious if it follows "the law of the shortest way"ref|autonumber moving as few voices as few steps as possible and thus often retaining common tones. Anti-parsimonious or circuitous voice leading is "voice leading between trichords that avoids double common-tone retention, thus requiring at least two instrumental voices to move to different pitches."ref|autonumber

An auditory stream is a perceived melodic line and streaming laws attempt to indicate the psychoacoustic basis of contrapuntal music. It is assumed that "several musical dimensions, such as timbre, attack and decay transients, and tempo are often not specified exactly by the composer and are controlled by the performer." An example of one law is that the faster a melodic sequence plays the smaller the pitch interval needed to split the sequence into two streams. Two alternating tones may produce various streaming effects including coherence (perceived as one unit), a roll (one dominates the other), or masking (one tone is no longer perceived).

ee also

*Tonality
*Chord progression
*Polyphony

ources

# Schoenberg, Arnold. "Theory of Harmony", trans. Roy E. Carter. Belmont Music Publishers, 1983, 1978 (original quote 1911). Page 39. ISBN 0-520-04944-6
# Hisama, Ellie M. (2001). "Gendering Musical Modernism: The Music of Ruth Crawford, Marion Bauer, and Miriam Gideon", p.153-154. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-64030-X.

Further reading

*McAdams, S. and Bregman, A. (1979). "Hearing musical streams", in "Computer Music Journal" 3(4): 26–44 and in Roads, C. and Strawn, J., eds. (1985). "Foundations of Computer Music", p.658–98. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.


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