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In reference to voice leading in four-part harmony (SATB), close and open structures refers to the relative spacing and voicing considerations of the chords.

  • Open Structure: A voicing is considered to be of an open structure when an interval of an octave or more occurs between the soprano and tenor voices.

  • Close Structure: A chord is considered to be of a close structure when the interval between the soprano and tenor voices is less than an octave.


This is a generally accepted terminology among musicologists and musical theorists, and should be recognized as such when used in conversation or analysis.

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