Anticipation is a musical technique that is used to create tension and excitement in a composition. It is a common device used in many different styles of music, including classical, jazz, and pop.

At its core, anticipation involves playing a note or chord before it is expected, creating a sense of anticipation and leading the listener towards the next part of the melody. This can be achieved in several ways, including by playing a note from the next chord or by playing a note that is not part of the current chord but will be part of the next one.

One common example of an anticipation is when a musician plays the dominant 7th chord before resolving it to the tonic chord. The dominant 7th has a strong tension that creates a sense of anticipation for the listener, who then expects to hear it resolve to the tonic chord.

Anticipations can also be used in melody lines to create interest and variation. For example, a melody might start on the third beat of a bar instead of the first beat, creating a sense of anticipation for the listener who expects to hear it start on beat one. This can create a feeling of forward momentum and keep the listener engaged with the music.

Another way anticipations can be used in music theory is through syncopation. Syncopation involves placing accents or beats on unexpected parts of a measure, creating an off-kilter feeling that adds interest and excitement to music.

In addition to creating tension and excitement, anticipations can also be used for comedic effect. For example, in “I Got Rhythm,” George Gershwin uses an anticipation on the word “got” to create humor and playfulness: “I got [anticipation] rhythm.”

Overall, anticipations are an important tool in any musician’s arsenal. They add interest and variation to melodies and chords while keeping listeners engaged with music’s forward momentum. Whether you’re composing classical symphonies or pop songs, understanding and using anticipation can take your music to the next level.