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Abbreviated as NCT for learning purposes, a non-chord tone is a tone (either diatonic or chromatic) that is not a member of the chord.

The tone might spend it's entire played duration as a non-chord tone; however, if the harmony that surrounds it changes before the actual tone itself does, the NCT might change to a chord tone before it ends.

NCT's are often times passing tones or neighboring tones.

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