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Topic: Suspensions & Passing tones

  1. #1
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
    West Seneca, NY

    Suspensions & Passing tones

    How do should you treat dissonance derived from using suspensions in a composition. If a person were to use suspensions and passing tones frequently in a composition, would not the composition become a series of dissonant sounds? If so, how does one resolve all that dissonance?
    What I never fully understood was how one prepares the suspension or how it is introduced without preparation later on? Does this mean \"without preparation\" it becomes a natural aspect of composing? And if it becomes \"natural\" then does the dissonance derived from it become also natural? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]
    Just thought I would ask.

  2. #2

    Re: Suspensions & Passing tones

    \"Suspensions\" is a topic that would occupy some two or three weeks in freshman theory, but here\'s an abridged explanation:

    Common Practice identified unisons, octaves, 3rds, 5ths and 6ths as consonants and 2nds, 4ths and 7ths as dissonants. The simplistic examples below show a 4-3, 7-6 and 2-3 suspension, I\'ve omitted the 2-1 (9-8) suspension, but the rules apply the same for all:

    Strictly speaking, the dissonant interval in a suspension occurs on a strong beat, is prepared by a consonant interval on the preceding weak beat and resolves to a consonant interval (by step wise motion downward) on the following weak beat. Suspensions are most commonly measured from the lowest sounding voice.

    This hymn I just finished has suspensions throughout (though some resolutions are ornamented):

    Let Us Now Praise Unknown Souls

    Adherence to these strict rules of preparation-dissonance-resolution was commonplace in the Renaissance and Baroque period, less and less so later on. These days, it\'s up to you and your style of writing.

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