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

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stepwise motion) that would take it there, displacing its trace.”133 In general, more
dissonant sonorities will also be less stable, but this is not always the case. I treat both
consonance/dissonance and stable/unstable as continua rather than binary oppositions.
For instance, an added 2 is more stable than an added 5, but less stable than a pure triad.
Similarly, the added 6 is dissonant, but not as dissonant as an added 1.
Single Tones
Added 1 – This added tone is quite dissonant. It is a semitone removed from the root
tone, as if it were attempting to subvert the root. The added 1 prevents the chord
in question from sounding like a tonic.
Added 2 – Listeners are likely familiar with the sound of the added 2 from popular music
and jazz, as well as the 9-8 suspension of the common practice period. Whitacre
treats the added 2 as a consonance, often ending his compositions with an added-2
chord.134 The tone may be treated as consonant because it forms no semitone
dissonances; additionally, it forms a perfect fifth with the fifth of the underlying
triad. The stability of the added 2 is a direct result of its position between the root
and third of the underlying triad. The added 2 fills in the third of the chord, and
the presence of the two triad pitches to which the added 2 could potentially
“resolve” negates any desire to resolve. Unlike a 9-8 suspension, where the 9 is
pulled downward to take the place of the root of the chord, the added 2 has no
tendency of motion. The added 2 is more dissonant with an underlying minor
133
134
Larson, p. 106.
See chapter 6.
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