I will use the Stand By Me progression for example:

A - F#m - D - E - A

If, while transferring from A to the F#m, I want to use the bass note G# and play a whole chord, how can I tell what to play? Would it be a G# major, a G#m, OR a G#/A? also what would you do for the rest? I know the bass from F#m to D would be E, but I dont know what chord with E as bass.
Well, to stay in key, you would play a G# diminished. However, that will pull so strongly back to the A that going to the F#m won't sound nearly as powerful.
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Voice leading ftw

C#   x    C#
E    x    A
A    G#   F#

So these are our chords, we know we're moving from A to F#m. We know A, G#, F# will be in our bass notes. So now we need some notes to put in between these chords.

Seeing as in the upper voice we have C# to C#, we can either put a C# in (meaning a G chord) or put an embellishment in. I'd rather put an embellishment in because I don't really like that dronning C#.
If we put an embellishment in (either B#, B, D, D#). Seeing as it's a passing chord and the lowest and highest parts are both moving stepwise (meaning either 1 or two semitones) any dissonance is allowed between the upper and lower parts.
I'd avoid making the upper part a D#, as that would mean parallel fifths between the highest part and the lowest part.

The middle part is a bit more free. I'd suggest you make this part consonant (meaning a harmonic third, sixth or fifth from that G#) and that you make it a note thats in between A and E, so thats B, B#, C, C#, D, D#. I'd also suggest you make this note stepwise from either A or E.

Well heres a few options I came up with and liked:

C#   D#   C#
E    B   A
A    G#   F#

This one has alot of movement to it. It feels like the upper voice is going to continue moving down, probably because the embellishment is higher than C# (meaning the upper voice melody wants to keep lowering). I don't like the parallel fifths, but it's not as bad as parallel fifths between the lower and middle voices.

C#   B#    C#
E    D    A
A    G#   F#

This one sounds sort of unstable, which I like. The upper voice embellishment is below C# so the melodic voice wants to keep going up. You could also make that D a D# which sounds good too, just a little more harmonically stable. Pity this would mean melodic instability (due the to melodic tritone) EDIT: and a parallel fifth, so avoid it.

I'm rushed, so sorry if I made some errors.
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Last edited by demonofthenight at Jan 20, 2009,