MUS 112 Study Guide L (Chapter 12)
Nonharmonic Tones II
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The Suspension (S): occurs when a
nonharmonic tone is approached by a harmonic tone of the same pitch
and resolved down by stepwise motion. The note of approach is
often tied into the dissonance. Unlike other nonharmonic
tones, the suspension is described not only as a melodic device, but
also harmonically by the interval between it and the lowest sounding
note (bass note). There are four basic suspensions:
The 4 3 suspension: The suspended note is
a fourth above the bass and it resolves to a third above the bass
(usually a M3).
The 7 6 suspension: The "6" of
"7 6" indicates that the suspension is found over a first
The 9 8 suspension: The "8" of
"9 8" usually indicates that the suspension is found in a
chord with its root in the bass.
The 2 3 suspension: This suspension is
always found in the lowest voice. "2 3" is not a
figured bass, but refers to the interval of a second above the bass,
which becomes a third when the suspension resolves. Even when
the compound intervals of a ninth and tenth are used, it is still
called a 2 3 suspension.
Special Uses of the Suspension (S):
Change of Bass Note: As the suspension resolves, the chord
may change to a different position, or the chord spelling may change
altogether. This is a common occurrence in 9 8 suspensions.
note of resolution is still consonant, regardless of the change in
The Ornamental Resolution: There is a wide variety of such
resolutions. These involve various notes and rhythms in the
decorative pattern leading to the resolution.
Suspensions in the Six-Four Chord: (See text page 259 for
two examples. These are not commonly encountered and analysis can be
Chain suspension: occurs when two or more suspensions
follow each other in succession, the note of one resolution of one
suspension becoming the note of approach for the next suspension.
The Double Suspension: Combines two suspensions
simultaneously in harmony, such as a 6 5 with a 4 3. In essence,
this particular combination is a second-inversion chord moving to a
root position chord; however, since the interval of a fourth is
involved in the first chord, it is technically a suspension.
Suspensions in Instrumental Writing:
Often, the note of
approach is of shorter duration than the dissonance. This is
sometimes because the harmony preceding the dissonance is
Other Nonharmonic Tones:
Retardation (R): like a suspension, except that the
dissonance ascends. These are not as common as suspensions, but are
Anticipation (A): is the same pitch as its following harmonic
tone, thus anticipating the note of resolution. It is commonly in
the soprano voice in four-part writing. (Double anticipations are
Appoggiatura (App): approached by leap and resolved by step.
The resolution is usually opposite to that of the leap. The App can
occur on a strong beat or a weak beat.
The term appoggiatura also has other meanings:
term is sometimes applied to any nonharmonic tone in a strong
rhythmic position, regardless of the note of approach. The
suspension tied to its resolution is an exception. (2) The term
is also given to a small note appearing before a principal note
in a melody. This appoggiatura receives half the value of the
following undotted note, or two thirds the value of the
following dotted note value. This practice principally applies
to music of the Baroque and Classical eras. This appoggiatura
resembles a "grace note," but without the slash across
The grace note is a small note with a slash across the
stem. It is performed without specific time value and as quickly as
Escape Tone (ET): also called échappée.
escaped tone is a nonharmonic tone approached by step and left by
leap. The resolution is usually in a direction opposite to that of
Successive Neighbor Tones (SN): also called changing
tones. This entity requires four notes, the second and third of
which act as successive upper and lower neighbors, or vice versa.
The first and fourth notes are usually the same.
Pedal (P): also called pedal point or organ
point. The pedal is a note sustained in one voice while the
harmonies are changing in other voices. It most often occurs in the
bass voice–the name derived from holding down one note with the
foot pedal of the organ. When the sustained tone is found as the
highest voice, it is known as an inverted pedal. When found
in an inner voice (not common), it is known as an inner pedal
or internal pedal. While being sustained, the pedal pitch may
sometimes be consonant and sometimes dissonant.
Various Other Uses of Nonharmonic Tones: wide and varied; following
are a few:
Successive Different Nonharmonic Tones: Successions of
different nonharmonic tones are also possible.
Simultaneous Different Nonharmonic Tones:
Combinations of any
two, and sometimes three, different nonharmonic tones are possible.
The only limitation (also true of simultaneous similar nonharmonic
tones) is that each nonharmonic tone must in itself be used
correctly, and each must be consonant with any other nonharmonic
Appoggiatura Chord: often applied to a group of tones (a
chord) over a bass tone that implies a different harmony.
Unprepared Nonharmonic Tone: This tone occurs when the first
note of a melodic line or motive begins with a dissonance. It is
usually analyzed as an appoggiatura.
"Consonant" Nonharmonic Tones: This contradictory
designation refers to a tone that is consonant above the lowest tone but
dissonant to the harmony implied in the chord progression. This happens
frequently in music for fewer than four voices. In four voices, this
type of nonharmonic tone is rather frequent, especially when it is a
sixth going to a fifth above the bass.
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