[Smt-talk] a French aug-6th resolution

Jon Wild wild at music.mcgill.ca
Mon Sep 26 13:51:12 PDT 2011

On Mon, 26 Sep 2011, Ditto, Charles wrote:

> Does anyone know of a piece in which the (conventional) French aug-6th 
> resolves, rather than to the dominant, to the dominant of the key a 
> tritone away (due to its symmetry)?

This came up on the list before, and here's what I posted then: have a 
listen to Rehearsal 3 of the Adagietto of Mahler's Fifth. Chromatically 
expanding outer voices lead to a G-E#-C#-B-C# sonority which gives way not 
to a 6/4 chord on F#, the dominant of B, but instead to a 6/4 chord on C, 
the dominant of F (with an added high D that initiates the memorable 
2-octave-plus glissando).

You might quibble to what extent the dominant of B was truly expected at 
the double bar line; the effect relies more on the expanding outer voices 
A#-B-C#-(D#?) and A-G#-G-(F#?) than on any other suggestion of B major. 
You might also quibble whether the 6/4 on C "really" stands for the 
dominant, rather than the tonic, of F major (it has no conventional 
resolution to an unambiguous dominant, before the basses supply the tonic 
F--though it is hinted at on the last quarter note before the basses 


Jon Wild
McGill University

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