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Cambiata (changing tone) most commonly refers to a figure in which a metrically unaccented dissonance is left by a small leap and the following note moves by step back toward the original note. A typical cambiata begins with a downward second to the unaccented dissonance, then a downward third followed by an upward second to another unaccented note, so that it ends a third away from its beginning. Both the second and third notes can be dissonant. It was normally considered undesirable to leave a dissonance by leap or to follow one dissonance with another, but this figure seems to have had a melodic impetus strong enough to overcome that objection.

Jeppeson says that a dissonant third tone in the Cambiata is not part of the Palestrina style, though Fux allows it.

A similar figure that begins and ends on the same tone is called a double auxiliary tone:

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