Voice Leading II and other thoughts

Here are some insights on Voice Leading and Functional Analysis from Saturday:
– There are two important tendency tones – anything that is a 7 in a sub/superscript, and the leading tone, which is always 3 of D. (Other added tones such as 6 and 9 will have their own desires as well.)
– 7 desires to go to 3 of the next chord if the roots are in 5th relation. (If not a 5th, it might be a common tone.)
– LT3 desires to go to 1 (do)
– When these rules are bent (frustrated LTs, linear 7ths in passing progressions), the progression is not as stable or structural.
– Chords with a T-Tr or T-Tv type relation have 2 common tones.
– Chords with a 5th relation have 1 common tone. These may be D-T, T-P type relations (also Tv-Pv etc) or Tv-Tr type relations.
– We can highlight these numerical relations with chord symbols that show the voice leading.


After that we spent some time talking about Schenker and pop analysis, which was fruitful and exciting! I’m starting work on an article about using Functional Analysis to teach Schenker, so expect to hear more about that soon.
As to pop analysis, the tricky part is that there is not always a LT to mark the dominant function, yet often even lacking an LT we hear a dominant function. I haven’t yet decided how to mark/label these dominants, but an interesting thought that was that perhaps in modal/pentatonic idioms, the last note of the scale, whether it’s te, la, or le, can act with the pull to do similar to the CCP Leading Tone ti.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: