Voice-leading analysis of music 1: the foreground
Voice-leading analysis of music 1: the foreground

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Voice-leading analysis of music 1: the foreground

3.4 The concept of prolongation

These three basic ways in which dissonant notes occur in music all share one notable feature. They make a note or a harmony extend over a longer period of time than just its bare statement. Two notes of a chord may be stretched out by having a passing note placed between them; a single note may move to a neighbour note, and then return; a harmony may be extended by a suspension, such as a before a cadence. In all these cases, we say that the note or chord involved is being ‘prolonged’ by the use of dissonance. The concept of prolongation is absolutely central to voice-leading analysis, especially when we come to consider deeper levels of structure than the foreground.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus