SOUND PATTERNS

A Structural Examination of Tonality, Vocabulary, Texture,
Sonorities, and Time Organization in Western Art Music

by PHILLIP MAGNUSON

THE ABC's OF CHORALE SETTING

Chapter 27. E is for EMBELLISHMENT

Chapter 23. A is for ANALYSIS
Chapter 24. B is for BASS LINES
Chapter 25. C is for COUNTERPOINT
Chapter 26. D is for DIVERSITY
.
Chapter 28. F is for FINISHING

27.1 ADDING EMBELLISHMENTS:

A chorale consisting of just chord tones is rather bland. Adding dissonance in the form of embellishments (non-chord tones) produces variety and color.

The three most common types of embellishments found in the Baroque chorale are neighbor tones, passing tones, and suspensions.

27.2 NEIGHBOR TONES:

Neighbor tones embellish a repeated pitch; they occur either above or below the main pitch, on the weak part of a beat. In order to add one to a basic texture, there must be two chord tones of the same pitch first. A neighbor tone departs from a chord tone and returns to the same chord tone.

27.3 PASSING TONES:

Passing tones fill in the gap of a third between two chord tones; they may move either up or down. They may occur on either the weak part of a beat or the strong part. On occasion, they can fill in the gap of a fourth (two consecutive passing tones) between two chord tones. In order to add one to a basic texture, there must be a gap to fill in. A passing tone departs from a chord tone and moves by step into a new chord tone.

27.4 SUSPENSIONS:

Suspensions delay a downward stepwise motion. A suspension is prepared as a chord tone, sustains over a new harmonic area, and then must resolve down by step to a chord tone. In order to add one to a basic texture, there must be a downward stepwise motion.

As described in Species IV, suspensions are labeled with the interval of the suspension above the bass, moving to the interval of the resolution, and must be one of the following types.

27.5 EMBELLISHMENTS AND PART WRITING:

All embellishments create the possibility of added parallel perfect consonances. Although not as serious as "regular" parallels, they violate the integrity of the counterpoint. Always examine each embellishment against each voice, and never permit parallel octaves or unisons to remain.

Embellishments do not solve parallels in the basic counterpoint.

27.6 EXAMPLE OF EMBELLISHMENT
Below is the sample chorale from previous chapters with non-chord tones added:

ASSIGNMENTS:

ANALYSIS

Circle and label the embellishments (non-chord tones) in each of the chorales below (compare these versions to the ones you analyzed in Chapter 25. C is for COUNTERPOINT):

Counterpoint 1: Nun ruhen alle Walder
Counterpoint 2: O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort
Counterpoint 3: Wie schoen leuchtet der Morgenstern
Counterpoint 4: Jesu, meine Freude
Counterpoint 5: Vater unser im Himmelreich
Counterpoint 6: Wo soll ich fliehen hin

PREPARATION FOR THE FINAL PROJECT

Add neighbor tones, passing tones, and suspensions to your final project.


Links to chapters in this unit:
Chapter 23. A is for ANALYSIS
Chapter 24. B is for BASS LINES
Chapter 25. C is for COUNTERPOINT
Chapter 26. D is for DIVERSITY
Chapter 28. F is for FINISHING

Link to previous unit: CHROMATIC PROCEDURES I: Moving from the Global Key

Link to next unit: LARGER PERSPECTIVES


Copyright 2008-2009 by Phillip Magnuson.

Content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.