Suspension is a musical technique that creates tension and release by delaying the resolution of a dissonant chord. It’s a common device used in many genres of music, from classical to pop. One particularly exciting type of suspension is the vivace blanche, which adds a sense of urgency and energy to the music. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this technique and how it’s used in various styles of music.

What is a Vivace Blanche?

A vivace blanche is a type of suspension that occurs when a dissonant chord is held over a bar line, creating a sense of anticipation for the resolution that comes in the following bar. The term “vivace” means “lively,” so this technique is often used to create a sense of urgency or excitement in the music. The “blanche” part of the name refers to the length of the suspension: it is typically held for a full beat or longer, which is denoted by a whole note in notation.

Example 1: Classical Music

One of the most famous examples of a vivace blanche can be found in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. In the first movement, the four-note “fate” motif is introduced and repeated throughout the piece. In bar 170, the motif is played in a dissonant chord that is held over the bar line, creating a sense of tension:

(Notation Example)

The resolution of this chord in the following bar (bar 171) is one of the most satisfying moments in the piece, bringing the tension to a climax before the music continues.

Example 2: Pop Music

While the vivace blanche is often associated with classical music, it can also be found in many other genres, including pop. One example is the song “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child. In the chorus, there is a line that goes:

(Notation Example)

The dissonant chord on “name” is held for a full beat, creating tension and anticipation for the resolution on the following beat. This technique is used multiple times throughout the song, adding to the overall energy and excitement of the track.

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