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ChoraleGUIDE: writing four-part harmony in the style of Bach

Voice-leading in Bach chorales: Accidentals

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What's the problem with accidentals?

There is no real problem with accidentals except for the fact that students often forget to put them in their chorales! This is not really a matter of voice-leading, it is just something that needs checking very carefully.

Where are mistakes most commonly made?

The most common errors are as follows:

  • forgetting to sharpen the seventh degree of the scale in a minor key (e.g. G# in A minor)
  • forgetting about the necessary accidentals in modulations

How can they be avoided?

When you have decided on the key of each phrase (see method), lightly pencil in the accidentals you will need above the stave. This will remind you when you later go back to fill in the inner parts, when most mistakes arise.

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© Copyright Thomas Pankhurst