Non-harmonic Tones / Non-chord Tones


Non-harmonic tones, also known as non-chord tones, play a crucial role in creating tension, adding color, and enhancing the overall harmonic structure in music compositions. Understanding these tones is essential for musicians and composers alike to master the art of creating rich and dynamic musical arrangements.

One of the primary objectives of this course material is to help candidates develop a deep understanding of how non-harmonic tones interact with harmonic elements within a piece of music. By delving into the intricate relationship between non-chord tones and chords, students will be able to identify, analyze, and utilize these tones effectively in their own musical creations.

Non-harmonic tones can be classified into various categories based on their function and relationship to the surrounding harmonies. One common type is the passing tone, which involves a stepwise movement between two chord tones. This passing tone acts as a colorful embellishment, connecting two harmonies smoothly and adding a sense of forward motion to the musical phrase.

Another important category is the neighboring tone, where a non-chord tone is placed adjacent to a chord tone and then resolves back to the original harmony. This technique creates a sense of resolution and stability, enriching the harmonic progression and providing contrast to the primary chord tones.

In addition to passing and neighboring tones, students will explore the concept of the suspension – a non-harmonic tone that temporarily holds onto a previous chord tone before resolving to a new harmony. Suspensions create tension and anticipation in the music, leading to satisfying resolutions that captivate the listener's ear.

By mastering the use of non-harmonic tones, candidates will be able to enhance the expressiveness and emotional depth of their musical compositions. Through detailed analysis, practical exercises, and listening assignments, students will develop the skills necessary to incorporate these nuanced harmonic elements into their own musical repertoire.

Overall, this course material aims to equip students with the knowledge and techniques needed to harness the creative potential of non-harmonic tones in their musical endeavors. By exploring the intricate interplay between non-chord tones and traditional harmonies, students will embark on a journey towards creating compelling, engaging, and harmonically rich musical works.


  1. Analyze the Effect of Non-Harmonic Tones on Harmonic Progression
  2. Understand the Function of Non-Harmonic Tones in Relation to Chords
  3. Recognize Different Types of Non-Harmonic Tones
  4. Differentiate between Various Non-Harmonic Tones and Cadences
  5. Apply Non-Harmonic Tones in Four-Part Vocal Writing
  6. Identify Non-Harmonic Tones in a Musical Passage

Lesson Note

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Lesson Evaluation

Congratulations on completing the lesson on Non-harmonic Tones / Non-chord Tones. Now that youve explored the key concepts and ideas, its time to put your knowledge to the test. This section offers a variety of practice questions designed to reinforce your understanding and help you gauge your grasp of the material.

You will encounter a mix of question types, including multiple-choice questions, short answer questions, and essay questions. Each question is thoughtfully crafted to assess different aspects of your knowledge and critical thinking skills.

Use this evaluation section as an opportunity to reinforce your understanding of the topic and to identify any areas where you may need additional study. Don't be discouraged by any challenges you encounter; instead, view them as opportunities for growth and improvement.

  1. Identify the non-harmonic tone in the following progression: C-E-G
  2. A-C#-E
  3. D-F#-A
  4. B-D-F# A. E B. C# C. F# D. D Answer: D
  5. In the chord progression C-E-G
  6. D-F#-A
  7. G-B-D
  8. C-E-G, which note functions as a passing tone? A. D B. E C. F# D. G Answer: D
  9. Select the non-harmonic tone in the following sequence: C-D-E
  10. G-F#-E
  11. A-B-C
  12. F#-G-A A. E B. F# C. G D. B Answer: D
  13. In the progression C-E-G
  14. B-D-F
  15. G-B-D
  16. E-G-B, which note is an example of an appoggiatura? A. E B. G C. D D. B Answer: A
  17. Identify the non-harmonic tone in the progression: C-E-G
  18. D-F#-A
  19. G-B-D
  20. E-G#-B A. F# B. G# C. E D. B Answer: B

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Past Questions

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Question 1 Report

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Practice a number of Non-harmonic Tones / Non-chord Tones past questions