Harmonization contest:  prize $50 US, real money, paid to the person or to the person’s church or charity of choice who first answers correctly the following simple music question.  Contest ends February 28. Enter your answer as a comment here or use the contact form under “about the Intonalist”.

Of the many possible chord progressions that might be used to harmonize the five note fragment below, identify all that the intonalist would permit according to the rules below.

Update: note that “ALL” are wanted, not just one workable one



  • Begin and end on the tonic Bb, tuned the same, in root position
  • key of Bb major, no accidentals
  • triads only, root or first position
  • no non-harmonic tones, no suspensions, etc
  • no chord may be repeated or followed by a different inversion of same chord – this implies 5 chords the first and last of which are root position tonic: so easy problem, 3 chords!
  • no consecutive octaves or fifths; I’ll allow direct octaves and fifths where one voice moves by step
  • every melodic interval must be tunable (see previous posts for third, fourths, fifths); I’ll accept any kind of second you care to use and I will allow a diminished fifth as a melodic interval.
  • every harmonic interval must be tunable
  • no seventh chords
  • no doubled leading tone
  • no triad on the leading tone, nor the first inversion of the leading tone triad: either is an incomplete dominant seventh

Foote and Spalding (1905) made the requirement about new chord per note: the natural, simple harmonization is a chord per measure: I – V – I.

Your answers may be notated in four voices, or just chord symbols with inversion ( I V6 ii IV I, for example).
Extra credit, your name here with a star, for first identifying exactly how many possible harmonizations there are according to basic harmony (the above rules, triads only, and so on, but without the tunability, consecutive octave/fifth, doubled leading tone, and direct octave/fifth limitations).

[Edit] I won’t add ‘comments’ to respond to answers, but I’ll add a line here:
Tim: nope but props for first entry
AtheoryofMusic: nope, see rules: no vii allowed,sorry (perhaps I used antiquated language: “leading tone” vs “seventh” but same thing). Other than that, your solution works and is tunable.
Melofluent: no, I I6 not allowed
James, no; you gave only one and I’ll show later why it is not allowed.
***CHRIS HUTCHINGS*** wins the extra credit (but not the prize)
Salieri, no, need all the answers to win.
Chris, the point of the contest is to show things about intonation, and how intonation should influence structure, including harmonic choices.