Melodic Figuration and Dissonance * Part 1

Embellishing Tones
Important Notes vs. Pretty Notes
 Embellishing tones may or may not be chord tones
 Embellishing tones contribute to the forward motion
of the music
 Chord tones tend to skip or leap
 Non-Chord tones (dissonant harmonies) tend to move
by step
 Dissonances – 2nd, 4th, 7th, 9th, & tritone
Chordal Figuration (Fig. 7.1a) tones related to the supporting harmony
Non-harmonic Figuration (Fig. 7.2) tones dissonant to the supporting harmony
 Melodic profile – managing dissonances
 Rhythmic accentuation – metric implications
 Unaccented/Stepwise (US)
 Offbeat or weak metric position – approached/left by step or
common tone
 Unaccented/Leaping (UL)
 Offbeat or weak metric position – approached/left by leap – in rare
cases, both
 Accented/Stepwise (AS)
 Strong metric position – approached and left by step or common
 Accented/Leaping (AL)
 Strong metric positions – approached/left by leap – in rare cases,
 Unaccented Passing Tone (P)
 Bridges a melodic interval of a 3rd (rarely a 4th)
 Stepwise motion; either up or down
 Pairs of passing tones that occur simultaneously may move in similar or
contrary motion
 Unaccented Neighboring Tone (N)
 Decorates same chord tone by stepwise motion; upper or lower neighbor
 Move back to their original note rather than moving
 Anticipation (A)
 Anticipated the next chord tone by arriving early
 Approached by step from above or below; lands on the unaccented beat
 Occurs frequently at cadences – precedes the final soprano note
 Incomplete Neighbors (IN)
 Include a leap to a dissonant in their melodic contour
 Escape Tone (eschappé) (E)
 Approached by step and resolved by leap
 Found at cadences usually in conjunction with an anticipation
 Leaping Tone (LT)
 Sometimes called an appoggiatura (this is a bit of a misnomer)
 We’ll discuss that a little later
 Dissonant note of the IN approached by leap and resolved by step
 The wacky Double Neighbor (DN) or Changing Tones (CT)

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