[Smt-talk] Uncommon six-four chords

Nicolas Meeùs nicolas.meeus at paris-sorbonne.fr
Tue Feb 7 07:57:02 PST 2012

Even although I can understand a desire to consider the harmony without 
the voice leading, I think that the limit is reached when ^7 is dubbed 
"the leading-tone" (and vii° "the leading-tone triad"), while this tone 
does not lead to the tonic. In the case of IV--vii°6/4--IV, it seems 
unavoidable that the voice leading includes ^6--^7--^6. (It might be 
possible to hear ^6--^7--^8, but that probably would be an inadequate 

This raises the question whether a chord including ^7 can be considered 
a dominant when this tone does not resolve on the tonic -- or, in other 
terms, whether the attraction (and the accompanying tension) exists 
without being resolved, whether tonality involves expectations even in 
the absence of realization. In my opinion, attraction and tension are 
retrospective: one realizes that they existed when resolved (and, in the 
absence of resolution, that they were not there, at least in the 
habitual sense).

A neighboring 6/4 decorating a subdominant is merely that, in my 
opinion, a neighboring decoration, an effect of voice-leading. Note that 
in m. 11 of "La Paix", the true ^7, the major 3rd of the V chord, does 
not resolve as a leading tone either: the progression is IV -- I -- V -- 
ii -- vi, a "reverse" progression, in which tonal functions are suspended.

Nicolas Meeùs
Université Paris-Sorbonne

Le 7/02/2012 03:22, Dan Zimmerman a écrit :
> Hi Jason,
> There's a neighboring 6/4 decorating the subdominant in m. 11 of "La 
> Paix" from Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks.
> Best,
> Dan Zimmerman
> U. of Maryland, College Park
> On Feb 1, 2012, at 10:23 AM, Solomon, Jason wrote:
>> I am also looking for instances of the leading-tone triad serving as 
>> a neighbor (or, pedal) six-four to IV: IV -  viio6/4 - IV. Here, I am 
>> primarily interested in either the leading-tone triad alone or one 
>> with a m7 added to produce the diatonic, half-diminished LT7. (The 
>> fully-diminished LT7 in this context could be analyzed as a 
>> common-tone diminished seventh chord, and I have plenty of examples 
>> of this).
>> Thanks in advance for any suggestions that you might have to offer!
>> Best wishes,
>> Jason
>> --
>> Jason W. Solomon, Ph.D.
>> Assistant Professor of Music Theory
>> Department of Music
>> Agnes Scott College
>> Office: Presser 101
>> 404-471-6261
>> _jsolomon at agnesscott.edu <x-msg://46/jsolomon@agnesscott.edu>
>> http://www.agnesscott.edu <http://www.agnesscott.edu/>_
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