Symbols for Schenkerian Graphs 

copyright 2002 by Larry Solomon


Half Notes (or other "white notes") indicate notes that are a part of an important structural harmony, or domain.

Quarter Notes indicate motion (normally stepwise) to and from domain notes.


Unstemmed black notes may be used to show most immediate level of voice leading when other notes are insufficient.

Different types of notes from longest to shortest indicate differing structural levels of voice leading, from remote to immediate.

Notes with separate flags indicate immediate auxiliary notes, such as incomplete neighbors and bass leaps of 4ths or 5ths. They should be accompanied by a slur or arrow to indicate the primary note of function.

Parenthesized notes represent those that are implied but not actually present, or they represent notes marked for deletion on the next structural level.

Beamed notes connect notes in one domain harmony. They are the notes that are part of this harmony; i.e., harmonic tones, while intervening black notes connected to the same beam show the stepwise voice leading between domain notes. A solid beam indicates a chord arpeggiation, while a broken beam represents note repetitions. Other authors use beams to show large scale connections in general.

A broken beam with "to" indicator represents a long term connection.

A slur shows the voice leading connections between one domain and the next domain, although they are most often used by other authors to show voice leading in general. The broken slur is used to show voice leading when notes repeat.


Lines, arrows, and ess-shaped slurs represent changes of register, octave displacements, or displacements of a line by a 7th, 8ve, 9th, etc. These should be accompanied by a number that indicates the interval displacement.

Voice exchange is shown with crossing lines between the voices involved.
Interruptions are represented by two parallel, vertical lines.


Dominance of a single harmony over a large scale is represented by domains, shown with brackets or braces. Remote symbols are largest.

A structural soprano line may be shown with carreted numbers. Uncarreted numbers may be used for more immediate levels in any voice.



Unfolding; a single part splits into two voices


Fastest note values indicate most immediate level of voice leading. They may also be used for immediate chord arpeggiations.


Other Recommended Symbols

Circled notes represent reinstated notes from a previous level of structure.

X-notes may be used for notes to be deleted. This is recommended instead of using parenthesized notes (see above) to keep separate from implied notes.




Octave doublings may be shown this way, with the voice abbreviations in parentheses. This also marks the doubled inner voice for deletion.

Useful Abbreviations Found on Schenkerian Graphs

Arp arpeggiation
CS consonant skip (leap, arpeggiation)
D or Div divider, usually a V chord, that marks sections.
DF chord of double function; i.e., one that exhibits both immediate and remote voice leading functions.
IN incomplete neighbor
NC passing or neighbor chord
Kopp coupling (German: Koppelung); i.e., showing octave transfer or register change
LN lower neighbor
N neighbor
P passing
RT register transfer
UN upper neighbor
6 - 5 - 6
10 - 10 - 10
Arabic numbers may be used for scale degrees or for intervals.
V Roman numbers and figured bass are used for chords.

 

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