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

gzar at mail2.gis.net gzar at mail2.gis.net
Sun Oct 2 10:48:32 PDT 2011

Dear Matt and All,

In the haste of my previous reply I also seem to have assumed that 
the bass of the 6/4-chord could as well be (and maybe better ought to 
be) part of a PT-figure, rather than just a NT-figure. I think the 
comments I made still apply, one way or another, but let me add that 
in the case of a truly "upper-NT-bass" on ^2, the "direction" of the 
resultant figure probably would be to aim the initial prolonged Tonic 
toward a deeper N/P-chord, as part of a longer, turn-like Initial 
Ascent (quasi-Schleifer) -- rather than as a P-figure immediately 
aiming towards "S"-function, as I proposed in the previous posting.

Here is an example of the actual "NT-^2" ("^  - - " indicates the 
smaller prolongation, "^^ --^ --^ " the larger):

^^1/5/3/1-2/5/4/7-1/5/3/1--^7/5/2/2--^1/5/1/3 (-- ^^4/6/1/2 
[not great spacing -- sorry!]



Gerald Zaritzky
Faculty, Department of Music Theory
New England Conservatory of Music
290 Huntington Avenue (Room JH 325)
Boston, Massachusetts 02115  USA
gerald.zaritzky at necmusic.edu
office: 617-585-1373 (voicemail only)

At 10:38 AM -0500 9/29/11, Matt Bribitzer-Stull wrote:
>Dear Colleagues:
>I find when instructing undergraduates in core harmony courses that 
>students accept the guidelines we provide for part-writing much 
>better if they understand the reasoning behind them. I'm at a loss, 
>however, to explain why common-practice composers rarely used a 6/4 
>chord above scale degree 2 as a bass neighbor motion expanding 
>tonic. V4/3 is most often a passing bass gesture (in which, of 
>course, there's a good reason why students need not resolve the 
>chordal seventh in the soprano - namely, it's not a dissonance with 
>the bass and often completes a pleasing parallel-tenths idiom) or 
>part of a collection of dominant-functioned chords, though it can 
>and does function as a bass neighbor expanding tonic; and vii 6 an 
>vii 6/5 harmonize bass neighbor notes with much more frequency than 
>a 6/4 chord.
>I'd be interested if there are any compelling contrapuntal or 
>harmonic reasons why composers tended not to harmonize neighbor 
>motions in the bass with unaccented 6/4 chords.
>Matthew Bribitzer-Stull
>Associate Professor of Music Theory
>University of Minnesota School of Music
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