2.13 Appoggiaturas

In the above excerpt from the first movement of Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik the first violin's A (in red) at the beginning of measure 7 is approached by skip from an F-sharp and then resolves down by step to G, the root of the accompanying I chord. The A is nonharmonic with respect to this G chord and is called an appoggiatura (APP). In this excerpt the appogiatura serves to accent the first beat of the measure in a way similar to the trilled suspensions at the beginning of measures 6 and 8. (Measures 6 and 8 have a dominant-seventh harmony (D7) against a pedal tone G in the cellos and basses.)
In general, appoggiaturas are approached by a leap up and then resolve down by step. See the graphic to the right. Appoggiaturas are accented nonharmonic tones; they are sounded at the start of the accompanying harmony, not afterwards.

Occasionally a nonharmonic tone is approached by a leap downward and resolves upward by step. This is called an inverted appoggiatura, from the term, "melodic inversion."

In four voices
In the video on the left an appoggiatura expands the final tonic.

In the following excerpt from the second movement of Beethoven's Sonata Op.2 No.1, the high F in the next-to-the-last measure is decorated by an appoggiatura and neighbor tone.

An inverted appoggiatura appears in "Kije's Wedding," the third movement of Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kije. In measure 2 below, the cornet leaps down to an A-natural--a non-chord with respect to the accompanying E-flat major triad (see the chord in the horns) and a very dissonant tritone against the tuba's E-flat. The A-natural then resolves in the opposite direction by step to the chord tone B-flat.

Listen to more appoggiaturas on the nonharmonic tones Contextual Listening page.

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