[Smt-talk] Nature and Labeling of the Cadential Six-Four

Nicolas Meeùs nicolas.meeus at paris-sorbonne.fr
Sun Feb 12 10:34:48 PST 2012

Pierre Boulez, in /Penser la musique aujourd'hui/, complains about the 
very principle of figuring which, he writes, remains less precise than 
the score itself. This misunderstands the essential aim of analytic 
figuring, which is to simplify the music in order to make it more easily 
understood. In other words, a figuring cannot give a _full_ account of 
what is happening, it always is a simplification. And the corollary is 
that it would be pointless to read a figuring (or a Schenkerian graph, 
or any such representation) without keeping an eye on the score.
     In the case of the ambiguous 6/4 dominant preparation, the analyst 
cannot hope to convey the ambivalence with simple figures and, in 
complex cases, only the score will express the full ambiguity. The 
figuring chosen depends on what one wants to stress. If you want to 
stress the "moment of occurrence" on the beat, you may write I6/4; but 
if you want to draw attention to the overall meaning of the passage, 
V6-5/4-3 will be better. In any case, the reader would be fool not to 
consider the score itself, which says all.

Nicolas Meeùs
Université Paris-Sorbonne

Le 12/02/2012 16:44, Ninov, Dimitar N a écrit :
> Dear Ciro,
> Thank you for the comment. At the moment of occurrence which occupies the beat taken by the cadential alone, you label it as V-6/4. This is what is confusing. But how would you label it when you resolve non-chord tones into it as if it were a tonic? Such moments defy the notion of suspensions or appoggiaturas to V, because what is being introduced is suspensions or appoggiaturas to I, only that the vertical sonority is not I but I6/4. A 9-8 suspension to I, or a 4-3 suspension to I, each of them harmonized by the cadential six-four. What would you say about that?
> Best regards,
> Dimitar
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