[Smt-talk] FW: More "Neighboring" 6/4

Phillip Dineen pdineen at uottawa.ca
Fri Oct 7 09:44:48 PDT 2011

Not immediately pertinent to Matt's question, but perusing quickly Schoenberg's Harmonielehre, I note a truly curious instance of an "upper neighbouring" 6/4. This is example 62, no. 4, in A minor. The bass, starting on the second harmony of the example, is:

^#6   ^#7   ^#7  ^8    ^natural 7   ^natural 6

The 6/4 chord in question is over the second #7. The progression being (as Schoenberg notes it in Stufen): IV6 VII (diminished seventh chord) III6/4 (augmented triad) VI6 III6/4 and VI.  So:

^#6, bass of IV6, F#
^#7, bass of VII, G#
^#7, bass of III6/4, G#
^8, bass of VI6, A
^7, bass of III6/4, G
^6, bass of VI, F

Let us say, in non-Schoenbergian terms, that the G#'s and the G natural are upper neighbours to the F# and the F natural, and the G#'s are themselves prolonged by an upper neighbour A. This would be quite the reverse of what Matt is after it seems (sorry Matt).

In Schoenbergian terms, the III6/4 over G# takes part in a process called "neutralization": the F# and G# are neutralized in the A before their cross-related counterparts G and F are heard. In this instance, the melodic aspect of neutralization might take precedence over any sense of dissonance inherent in the 6/4 structure of either III6/4. Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice said.

Murray Dineen
Université d'Ottawa
pdineen at uottawa.ca<mailto:pdineen at uottawa.ca>

From: smt-talk-bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org [mailto:smt-talk-bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org] On Behalf Of Matt Bribitzer-Stull
Sent: October 4, 2011 4:06 PM
To: Society for Music Theory
Subject: [Smt-talk] More "Neighboring" 6/4

Dear Colleagues:

I'm heartened to see the volume of dialogue my brief query has initiated. I must say, however, I'm not sure I've found among the many worthy musings a convincing answer to my original question. Perhaps there isn't one. At the risk of repeating myself, let me rephrase the question and append some relevant commentary from three of the responses to the SMT list below.

Given that ^1-^2-^1 bass paradigms that expand tonic seem to be considerably rarer than either passing ^1-^2-^3 bass lines prolonging tonic or than ^1-^7-^1 and ^3-^4-^3 bass neighbor motions prolonging tonic for reasons many on this list have hypothesized, is it true that when ^1-^2-^1 bass lines prolonging tonic do occur, unaccented 6/4 chords above ^2 in the bass are rarer than other harmonizations of the same figure (say, with V 4/3 or vii65 chords), or is ^1-^2-^1 just such a rara avis that it almost never occurs as a tonic prolongation figure in common-practice music regardless of how it is harmonized? In either case, why? Is mode a factor? ... Matt

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