Chord Progressions: Voice Leading

Voice Leading refers to the arrangement of chord tones within a chord progression such that each tone moves horizontally through the chord changes as a single voice.

Consider, for example the chord progression I-V-I in the key of C…

Without Voice Leading, this chord change could be played like this:


where each chord is conceived as a separate, self-contained vertical structure.

With Voice Leading, this chord change could be played like this…


where each chord consists of three individual voices that flow horizontally through the chord progression.

Voice leading has two important features:

  1. Tones that are common to each chord typically remain stationary.
  2. Tones that are different typically move to the nearest note.

Voice leading is used in a wide variety of musics and highlights the practical importance of knowing how to play your chords in a variety of inversions.


About Frank J Peter

A uniquely burdened and blessed citizen of the world thinking and acting out loud!
This entry was posted in Aural Comprehension, Chord Progressions, Music Theory and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Chord Progressions: Voice Leading

  1. paula graham says:

    I understand and it makes sense and sounds lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Blues School: 12 Bar Major Blues Form & Harmony – Variation #1 | Piano-ology

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s