2.6 Escape Tones

The above video opens to the last phrase of "The Star Spangled Banner." In the arrangement to the right the E-flat in the melody does not belong to the sustaining tonic (or cadential) 6/4. This note is a nonharmonic tone called an "escape tone."
An Escape Tone is approached by step by a more stable note and then skips in the opposite direction to a chord tone. It is shown schematically in the graphic to the right. In the "Star Spangled Banner example above, the escape tone is approached by step by the more stable note D, and resolves by skip in the opposite direction to C, a chord tone in the dominant triad, F Major.

In four voices, the first measure to the left illustrates an escape tone embellishing the initial tonic and interrupting the soprano's stepwise descent from tonic to leading tone.

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

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