Download Added-Tone Sonorities in the Choral Music of Eric Whitacre

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Figure 24: Cloudburst, measures 1-10
On the final beat of measure 6, the chorus returns to the opening triad of the piece
as if ready to repeat the opening gesture.149 This is not to be, however, for the bass leaps
down an octave on the downbeat of measure 7. For the first time, all the other voices
move as well (the first time this has happened in the piece), forming an a(2,e)/0 sonority
that is sustained for the entirety of measure 7. Both added tones introduce half-step
dissonances into the sonority, and these dissonances are not tempered by whole-step
clusters as in the previous a(2,5,9,e) chord. The added e resolves upward in measure
eight, but the added two sustains into the following chord as a dissonance, becoming the
added 6 of a neighboring F(6)/0 chord in measure eight.150 The added 6 forms a tritone
dissonance with the bass as well as a semitone dissonance with the first soprano; the
149
If repeated, this gesture would be quite similar to the “breathing” motive of Lux Aurumque and Nox
Aurumque.
150
This F(6) chord appears to me to be a neighbor because it immediately returns to the a(2,e) chord , and
also because it seems to serve no function other than to add color and interest to the passage.
104