Tertian Harmony
Harmony built on thirds
Quartile Harmony
Harmony built on fourths
Rules of Common Tone Voice Leading

  1. Double the root.
  2. Keep all common tones (CT) in the voices in which they originate; move other voices to the closest note in the new chord. Between two chords there will be one common tone if root movement is by fourth or fifth; two if root movement is by third (or sixth).
  3. There are no common tones if root movement is by step. In this case all three upper voices move in contrary motion to the bass, each upper voice moving to the closest note in the new chord.


Deceptive Cadence


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No common tones b/t V and vi

Leading tone in V moves up to tonic in vi

Resulting vi chord has doubled third instead of root

VI-V (in minor)

Normal voice leading creates augmented second

Double the third of VI instead of the root

One doubled third steps down to leading tone

Other two upper voices step up


There is a common tone- but it is not treated as such.


In major: use CT voice leading or all descending pattern


In minor: diminished ii rarely in root position. If it does all three upper voices much move down to V

Harmonic Progression

Directed motion, or movement toward a goal, and harmonic progression therefore implies harmonic movement that is goal directed.


A progression of chords is moving toward a goal and each harmony in the progression can be understood in terms of its place in that motion.

Tonic Function
Provides central context and identity for beginning, as well as rest and repose, the ultimate end goal of harmonic motion.
Dominant Function
Lack of repose; the dominant specifically seeks the tonic for resolution.
Subdominant / Pre-Dominant Function
Less dynamic than dominant; it seeks the tonic also, but more often than not moves to the dominant before arriving to the tonic.
Primary Chords

I, IV, V


All have major thirds (hence the capitol numerals)


I- tonic

IV- subdominant

V- dominant

in major and minor, generally plays a pre-dominant role.

in major, having two notes in common with both tonic and dominant triads, lacks strong function. Can be used to progress to vi


in minor, III is the tonic of the relative major. Alternative to minor tonic important in harmonic activity.


In major and minor, usually pre-dominant


Can substitute for I in a cadence creating a deceptive cadence


Weaker version of the dominant function


Seeks resolution to I


Pre-dominant chords ii and IV move to V


V does not move to ii or IV


V moves to I

A complete musical thought that has a beginning, middle and end (cadence)
Full / Authentic Cadence
Perfect Authentic Cadence

The tonic note is in the soprano of the I chord


Most final of all cadences

Imperfect Authentic Cadence
The 3 or 5 is in the soprano of the I chord.
Half Cadence

Cadence on V.


Not a final cadence; creates the need for an answering full cadence.

First Inversion

Third is in the Bass


Second inversion
Fifth is in the bass
Why are second inversion chords used less freely than first inversion?
The fourth between the bass and the root is considered a dissonance.
Why are inversions used?
To give melodic direction and flexibility to the bass line and lighten the functional weight of some triads.
Why first inversion is written I6.

Intervals present include sixth and third


Since sixth is characteristic to first inversion it is the superscript following the chord.

Why is second inversion written I64?

intervals present are fourth and sixth.


Fourth and sixth are characteristic of second inversion so they are both used.


more likely to double the root or fifth


lighter version of tonic function


not a final cadential goal


Generally doubles the third (bass note) when going to the V


All three upper voices descend to the closest note in the V chord-don’t keep the common tone.


In other contexts, ii6;may double root or third


Unstable chord in major b/c of similarity to V


Doubling should promote smoothness


In minor, III6;is more strongly functional chord and any doubling is possible.