Abstract

This paper offers a broadly applicable model for atonal voice leading, a model of pitch-class counterpoint to connect any two harmonies. Voice leadings are evaluated by three criteria: (1) uniformity: the extent to which the voices move by the same interval distance and thus approach traditional transposition; (2) balance: the extent to which the voices move by the same index number and thus approach traditional inversion; and (3) smoothness: the extent to which the voices travel the shortest possible distance. The most uniform, most balanced, or smoothest way of moving from one set to another in pitch-class space, or from one set class to another in a proposed voice-leading space, provides a standpoint from which to assess any specific compositional realization in pitch space.

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