Very embarrassing

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    A question for teachers who teach both harp and music theory. Although I got my BA in music education several decades ago, I never was able to master voice leading in music theory.

    Now with plenty of time to practice, I’m taking a terrific Level 1 class at the local community college, with an excellent professor.

    Unfortunately, I still have a terrible time with voice leading in standard diatonic harmonic progressions. I’ve learned an enormous amount of material that I didn’t catch the first time around, but I have yet to reach the “Ahah!” moment, and I’m terribly frustrated. I’m a good sight reader, write my own music, have above average listening skills- this is just an awful


    Hindemith is what we used, and I liked it. It’s a two-volume series, I forget the exact name. Music Theory or something.

    Anyway, the secret is:

    move each voice the SMALLEST possible interval to the next chord tone. That way, you will perhaps never have parallel fifths or anything else forbidden. My professor taught us that in college and it worked like a charm, made voice leading easy as pie. Do you understand what I mean?


    I was through Hindemith the first time around, but as I recall, what I had was published as one volume.

    I do faithfully obey the “smallest possible interval” rule, but still find myself at the end of a chord progression with too many errors, hence my desire for additional practice.

    Thank you for the response, though!


    I’m not sure how that can happen. Maybe there’s something wrong with the bass line.


    The bass line is given. The assignment is to write SAT lines and do the chord analysis and write the figured bass symbols.

    The challenge is to work within the limits of the given bass line. I’m doing better but it’s the hard musical task I’ve ever learned. Sight reading is a breeze in comparison.


    That’s the challenge, I was thinking of only doing inner voices. I find it impossible to compose a melody to an existing bass line. The soprano always wants to go its own way, won’t cooperate, except for a section in my Nocturne that worked out with an ascending bass line. Still, I think if you avoid leaps of more than a major sixth, it should help. I would do the soprano first using chord tones of the bass (are you given figured bass at all?), then apply my rule to the alto and tenor. No figured bass, you’re on your own. Never had to do that.

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