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Voice LeadingThe Science Behind a Musical Art$
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David. Huron

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034852

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034852.001.0001

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The Feeling of Leading

The Feeling of Leading

(p.129) 10 The Feeling of Leading
Voice Leading

David Huron

The MIT Press

A distinction is made between part-writing and voice leading. Even though music may exhibit correct part-writing, the music may nevertheless sounds like it is meandering aimlessly: voice leading adds the sense of tending, yearning, resolution, or momentum that contributes to the feeling of music “going somewhere.” Research on melodic expectation is summarized. When the music fails to conform to expected voice movements, the music is likely to evoke a wandering or purposeless quality. Predictability transforms good part-writing into good voice leading. Predictability is increased when musical patterns follow the norms and clichés of established styles. Familiarity with a given musical work also increases predictability. For unfamiliar works, predictability is increased when music makes use of recurring or imitative figures, themes, or motives.

Keywords:   music, music perception, music cognition, voice leading, part writing, leading, tending, imitation, prediction, expectation

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