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The total voice leading between sets X and Y is defined as the complete collection of ordered pc intervals formed between the pcs in X and the pcs in Y. These interval multisets (imultisets) describe the sonic signature of the motion from X to Y, and they always have the property of transpositional combination. In some cases, the same total voice leading may be produced by different pairs of X and Y (Cohn 1988 refers to this as “multiple parentage”). In such cases, the total voice leading may remain the same even though the generating chords differ.


This item appeared in Music Theory Online in Volume 20, Issue 2 on June 2014. It was authored by Joseph N. Straus,, with whose written permission it is reprinted here.

JStraus2014_Total Voice Leading_examples.pdf (15903 kB)
MTO 20.2 Examples: Joseph N. Straus, Total Voice Leading.

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