Part-writing Chords: Summary I
Doc Snow’s Hubs on part-writing chords offer you not only the chance to read about part-writing, not only the chance to see and hear the various harmonic progressions, but the chance to practice writing them yourself and to get feedback on your work! It's a uniquely useful slant on learning this important skill.
The series now includes Hubs on all root-position diatonic chords, including those in minor keys. It's a lot of material--so it’s time for a Hub to summarize and systematize everything for the convenience of you, the reader and user.
There is a logical sequence to these Part-Writing Hubs, and it is recommended that you follow it if you are a beginner. But of course you may also ‘browse’ for Hubs that cover content of particular interest. In either case, this ‘syllabus’ should be helpful.
First, it lists the Hubs in sequence, and second it describes their content, with links given as sidebars. The ‘rules’ of part-writing are shown in bold, letting you easily access the Hubs in which those concepts are discussed.
I hope this will make it easier to find what you want to know, and make it easier to know where to begin exploring the gentle art of part-writing!
I: Part-writing Inverted Chords: Primary Triads In First Inversion
II: I: Part-writing Inverted Chords: The Supertonic In First Inversion
III: Part-writing Inverted Chords: Mediant, Submediant And Leading-tone Triads
IV: Part-writing Inverted Chords: Interlude--Passing And Auxiliary Tones
V: Part-writing Inverted Chords: Second-inversion Patterns I--Arpeggio, Neighbor
VI: Part-writing Inverted Chords: Second-inversion Patterns II--Passing, Cadential
Suggested Sequence Of Hubs
I: Tonic and Dominant (I & V)
II: Tonic and Dominant Exercises
III: Subdominant (IV)
IV: Supertonic (ii)
V: Mediant and Submediant (iii & vi)
VI: Minor Keys I
VII: Minor Keys II
I: Inverted Dominant sevenths
Below you will find a detailed list of the Hubs in Series I (root-position triads.) Each Hub in the list has its own link for one click convenience.
If you feel that Series II (inverted triads) is where you need to be, just use the link below to navigate directly to the series summary!
Series III (seventh chords) is in progress; so far there is just one Hub, an article on part-writing inverted dominant sevenths. It is linked immediately below.
- Part-writing Chords: Summary II
The second 'syllabus' and summary for Doc Snow's Hubs on part-writing. Sequence, content and links.
- Part-writing Seventh Chords: The Dominant Seventh Chord
The first of Doc's series on part-writing seventh chords: clear explanations and interactive exercises to help you master the essential skill of part-writing.
- PWC 1: Tonic & Dominant I
How to write the most common Classical chord progression, with audio/video examples and easy-to-understand explanations.
Content in PWC I: Tonic & Dominant I
- Lead sheet
- Chordal doubling
- Root position
- Relative motion: parallel
- “Voice” (in the sense of line within a texture)
- Relative motion: similar
- Scale degrees acting as chord roots—chord symbols
- Resolution of leading tone
- Relative motion: contrary
- Close and open position chords
- PWC 2: Tonic & Dominant II (Exercises)
A companion to PWC I--the 'nitty gritty' companion where you can practice the applying the concepts.
Content in PWC 2: Tonic & Dominant II
- Standard 4-part choral texture (SATB)
- Vocal ranges
- Common tone voice-leading
- Review of key signatures
- Review of semi-tones
- Review of scale degrees
- Exercises to harmonize 1-7-1
- Exercises to harmonize 3-2-3
- Exercises to harmonize 3-2-1
- Exercises to harmonize 3-7-1
- Exercises to harmonize 1-2-3
- PWC 3: Subdominant
Third in a series, this Hub examines the use of the subdominant chord.
Content in PWC 3: Subdominant
- Tonic and dominant chord function; “Polarized” harmony
- “Common Practice” or Classical style
- Dominant preparation function
- Root motion by fifth
- Root motion by second
- Avoidance of parallel perfect intervals
- Standard voice-leading for IV-V (and one variant)
- Review of open and close spacing
- Reminder: rules for sharp and flat key signatures
- Exercises in harmonizing I-IV-V-I
- Avoidance of similar fifths and octaves
- Incomplete triads
- PWC 4: Supertonic I
Learn to use the 'ii' chord in true Classical style with essential concepts, practice exercises, and audio-video examples. This fourth Hub in Doc Snow's series on part-writing.
Content in PWC 4: Supertonic
- Primary and secondary triads
- ii-V progressions and exercises
- I-ii progressions and exercises
- “Doc Snow rule of doubling” (really credited to Walter Piston)
- ‘Hybrid spacing’
- IV-ii progressions and exercises
- Root motion by third
- Chord substitution
- Voice overlap
- Deceptive cadence
- I-ii versus I-IV
- PW 5: Mediant and Submediant I
The triads built upon scale degrees 3 and 6--the mediant and submediant chords--are the least common but also the most colorful diatonic triads. Learn (and practice) their common patterns of usage here!
Content in PWC 5: Mediant & Submediant
- Review of chord substitution
- Mediant and submediant in tonal context
- Harmonic functions: tonic, dominant, dominant preparation
- iii-vi-ii-V-I (‘falling fifths’) progression and exercises
- Chord substitutions involving iii and vi
- I-vi-V-I and exercises
- Deceptive cadence: I-IV-V-vi, I-ii-V-vi with exercises
- I-iii-IV-V-I with exercises
- I-iii-ii-V-I with an exercise
- I-vi-ii-V-I with an exercise
- I-vi-IV-V-I with an exercise
- “Challenge question”, with ‘walk through’
- PWC 6: Minor Keys I
Part-writing In Minor Keys I, the sixth in a series of Hubs on the skill of part-writing, looks at issues and common voice-leading patterns in writing root-position tonic, dominant, subdominant, and supertonic triads in minor keys.
Content in PWC 6: Minor Keys 1
- Parallel major and minor
- Natural, melodic and harmonic forms of minor scale:
- Dominant function and V versus v
- Raised leading tone in minor
- Augmented second in b6-to-#7 melodic lines
- Chords affected by altered 6th and 7th scale degrees
- i-V-i and exercises
- A particular use of v
- i-iv (IV)-V-i and exercises
- Avoidance of root-position diminished triads
- i-ii-V-i and exercises
- PWC 7: Minor Keys II
This, the second of two Hubs on part-writing in minor keys, teaches useful voice-leading patterns for writing mediant, sub-mediant, and sub-tonic triads. Tricks, traps, and practice questions to build your skill!
Content in PWC 7: Minor Keys II
- Reminder to raise leading tone
- Reminder to avoid melodic augmented seconds (b6-#7)
- i-VI-iv-V-i and exercises
- Uncompensated melodic leap
- Outlining dissonant interval melodically
- i-III-iv (ii)-V-I and exercises
- The subtonic (VII) triad
- Relative major and minor
- i-VII-III-VI-iv-V-I and exercises
- i-VI-VII-i with exercise
Doc Snow on Wordpress!
- snowonmusic | A music theory blog that's NOT all work!
Less-weighty (read: more fun!) stuff from Doc Snow is now on Wordpress! Check out the Doc's new music theory blog. Ask a question, play "What Would Johann Do?", or just hang out.
Other Music-related Hubs by Doc Snow
- Part-writing Inverted Chords: Primary Triads In First Inversion
Continue learning part-writing--learn inverted triads in common-practice four-part writing. Write tonic, dominant and subdominant in first inversion; these explanations, illustrations, and practice examples make it easy! (1st Hub in Series II.)
- String (or Restring) Your Guitar: How (Not) To Do It
An illustrated guide to restringing an acoustic guitar. If you've been too intimidated to try this yourself, pluck up your courage and save yourself $15!
- Strange Days Again: Remembrance And The Doors
Music and memory intertwine: The Doors' most innovative album,