[Smt-talk] Quarter-comma meantone and augmented sixth chords

Kyle adams adamsk01 at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 26 09:27:36 PDT 2010

Eric et al.,

To answer your original question, a couple of the keyboard works of Bernardo 
Storace have augmented-sixth chords in them. You can find these in the Corpus of 
Early Keyboard Music vol. 7. The "Passagagli" [sic] no. 11 has several of what 
we would call the Italian (spelled Ab-C-F#), and the "Passagagli" no. 13 has 
what we would call the French (spelled G-B-C#-E#) in m. 351.


Kyle Adams
Assistant Professor of Music Theory
Indiana University

From: Eric Knechtges <eric.t.knechtges at gmail.com>
To: smt-talk at societymusictheory.org
Sent: Thu, August 26, 2010 11:16:59 AM
Subject: Re: [Smt-talk] Quarter-comma meantone and augmented sixth chords

Thank you for those of you who have responded already.  Just to clarify why I 
was asking:

A number of just intonation zealots have remarked that a QCM tuning of a German 
augmented sixth chord is a fairly close approximation of overtones 4 through 7 
in the harmonic series... and some sources go so far as to say that composers 
actually *intended* that quality of sound for the Ger+6, distinct from the 
enharmonic dominant seventh.

I find this line of thinking suspect, since I'm not sure that there was much 
historical overlap between QCM and the German sixth.  I can believe it might 
have been intended in Gesualdo, given his improvisation and experimentation on 
Vicentino's microtonal harpsichords... but I'm not sure about other composers.

Eric Knechtges, DM
Assistant Professor, Coordinator of Composition/Theory
Northern Kentucky University

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