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

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Transcript
V/V – V – I progression, but inverted: an applied subdominant progression. The
insertion of the d(2,5)/7 chord between the IV and I here acts much as the d(5,t)/0 chord
will at the beginning of i thank you God for most this amazing day.
On paper, the final resolution to the C(2)/7 does not look like the motion one
would expect at the end of a piece. The soprano has just stepped up from scale degree
one to scale degree three; the bass is on the fifth of the chord, and there was no hint of a
dominant or leading tone in the penultimate chord. Despite this, the move to the final
chord does sound like a resolution to my ear. I believe this effect is a direct result of
sonority. The added 2 and 5 within the penultimate D chord were none other than the
third and fifth scale degrees of the key of C major. As the sonority changes to the final
chord, we hear notes that were previously dissonant added tones become consonant as the
other voices move around them. Essentially, the added E and G anticipate the chord of
resolution; when the C chord arrives, one feels as if it has been expected all along.
Lux Aurumque
The final phrase of this piece (Figure 31) begins by quoting the breathing motive
from the opening of the work. The i-v motion is repeated three times before the voices
seem to get stuck on the v chord at measure 36. At measure 38 the chord changes to a C#
triad in second inversion. This chord is decorated with a neighboring D#(2,5,t)/0 chord
which, as in the breathing motive, contains all the pitches of the C# triad within itself.
We have seen this sonority act as a passing chord between I and IV, but here the sonority
acts as a neighboring chord to tonic, a neighboring chord which contains all of the pitches
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