[Smt-talk] Uncommon six-four chords

Ninov, Dimitar N dn16 at txstate.edu
Tue Feb 7 19:36:51 PST 2012

Dear Jason,

I appreciate all the references that you have listed, but the nature and the name of a six-four chord which moves stepwise in the bass is determined by the profile of the bass line itself. Thus:

1) in the passing 6/4 the bass note is a passing tone;
2) in the pedal 6/4 the bass note is a pedal (a short organ point upon which three chords unfold); and
3) in the very rarely employed neighboring 6/4 the bass note is either a lower or an upper neighbor. 

Clear bass, clear names - just like in the description of non-chord tones. I would not confuse any students by mixing up the bass line with the line in the upper voices - in the pedal six-four the upper voices are neighbors, but the bass is not, and it is the bass that gives the name.

Thank you for this discussion!

Dr. Dimitar Ninov, Lecturer
School of Music
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, Texas 78666

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