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The Combination of Harmony and Counterpoint (cont.)
Back to Guide | Introduction | Arpeggiation | Consonant Skips | Linear Progressions | Neighbour Notes | Combinations | Diminution

The arpeggiation is perhaps the easiest diminution to spot. It prolongs a harmonic unit by arpeggiating (making into an arpeggio) the notes of the triad.

In a Schenkerian analysis, diminutions generally prolong both a harmonic unit and a particular note from that unit. In the arpeggiation (where all the notes belong to the triad) only context could tell us which note is the main one being prolonged, although diminutions are always a prolongation of either their first or last note. The Schenkerian model is a dynamic one - the diminution is not static but moves either to or from a principal note.

Here is an arpeggiation of a root position C major triad. Arpeggiations may ascend or descend but they cannot do both. They can arpeggiate any inversion of a triad, but must do so without missing any notes out (C - G - C would not be an arpeggiation):

Here is an arpeggiation of a first inversion C major triad in the bass:

Note the way that Schenkerian analyses are notated: there are no stems on the noteheads and a slur spans the linear unit or diminution in question. Stems, beams and minim noteheads are used at other stages of an analysis (see Notation Guide)

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