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The Rayleigh-Taylor instability (RTI) in an infinite slab where a constant density lower fluid is initially separated from an upper stratified fluid is discussed in linear regime. The upper fluid is of increasing exponential density and surface tension is considered between both of them. It was found useful to study stability by using the initial value problem approach (IVP), so that we ensure the inclusion of certain continuum modes, otherwise neglected. This methodology includes the branch cut in the complex plane, consequently, in addition to discrete modes (surface RTI modes), a set of continuum modes (internal RTI modes) also appears. As a result, the usual information given by the normal mode method is now complete. Furthermore, a new role is found for surface tension: to transform surface RTI modes (discrete spectrum) into internal RTI modes belonging to a continuous spectrum at a critical wavenumber. As a consequence, the cut-off wavenumber disappears: i.e. the growth rate of the RTI surface mode does not decay to zero at the cut-off wavenumber, as previous researchers used to believe. Finally, we found that, due to the continuum, the asymptotic behavior of the perturbation with respect to time is slower than the exponential when only the continuous spectrum exists.