[Smt-talk] "Neighboring" 6/4 Chords

Dmitri Tymoczko dmitri at princeton.edu
Sun Oct 2 10:48:37 PDT 2011

On Oct 2, 2011, at 10:51 AM, Justin London wrote:

> Dear Matt & Colleagues,
> This is really a question for David Huron and some of his students/colleagues who have done empirical studies of musical corpuses, as the first question to be answered (aside from our anecdotal encounters with CPP idioms) is just how often neighboring 1-2-1 motions really do occur in the bass, and of those motions, what are he relative frequencies of various harmonization of 2(?).

I actually have a decent amount of data here as well, which I will try to publish soon: all the Mozart sonatas, 70 Bach chorales, two books of Monteverdi madrigals (still mostly unproofread), a few other isolated pieces.

If people can think of any specific statistical questions to ask, that might shed light on the question, I'd be happy to try to do so.  Matt is entirely correct that I-V6/4-I is extremely rare in the corpora I have.  It's not in the sonatas at all, for example ...

I had thought the question was a why-question, not a whether question, so I wasn't immediately inclined to go searching through data.  The first order fact is that 6/4 chords are very very rare, and are confined to just a small number of categories, primarily cadential 6/4s, but also the "passing" I6/4 between IV6 and IV (or ii), and just a few others.


Dmitri Tymoczko
Associate Professor of Music
310 Woolworth Center
Princeton, NJ 08544-1007
(609) 258-4255 (ph), (609) 258-6793 (fax)

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