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

Ciro Scotto ciro.scotto7 at gmail.com
Mon Feb 13 05:05:30 PST 2012

Hi Dmitri,

I guess in most contexts I would still hear it as V6-5/4-3. There is a great example of the exact progression you describe in mm. 4-5 of the tema from Beethoven's Seven Variations on "God Save the King, WoO78. The tune has the following scale step: 3-2-1 (m.4) followed by 3-2-1-7-1 (mm. 5-6). The harmonization in m.4 is V6-4/5-3, V6/5 of vi, to vi. The harmonization in m. 5 is ii6, V6-5/4-3, V and then I in m. 6. The key factor here is the return to the V6-5/4-3 in m. 5, which does move on to V rather than deceptively moving to vi as it did in m. 4. The bass line has scale steps 5-#5-6-4-5-5-1. Essentially, this creates a double neighbor around scale degree 5 with the first neighbor note being approached by a chromatic passing tone (embellishments of embellishments). It is a brilliant way of avoiding a strong cadence on scale degree 1 of the melody in mm. 4 and 5, and keeping scale degree 1 unstable until it aligns with the tonic chord in m. 6. In this case, I hear the V6-5/4-3 being prolonged by the double neighbor note motion in the bass. However, I would not uniformly rule out hearing the first chord in this type of progression as a I6/4, if the context supported that hearing.

All the best, 


Dr. Ciro G. Scotto             
Assistant Professor of Theory  
University of South Florida       
home:    (813) 443-6801
cscotto1 at usf.edu
cscotto at tampabay.rr.com

On Feb 12, 2012, at 7:41 PM, Dmitri Tymoczko wrote:

> On Feb 12, 2012, at 1:14 PM, Ciro Scotto wrote:
>> Well, actually my point was that I wouldn't simply label the chord at the moment of occurrence with V6-4 alone. I would label it V6-5/4-3.
> Ciro, I have a (genuine, not Socratic) question: how would you label those situations where the music arrives at what seems for all the world like a genuine cadential 6/4, only to move on deceptively, say by way of V6/5/vi?  Would you use I6/4 in that case (since V6-5/4-3 is unavailable) or would you use V6/4 to register the similarity to the standard cadential 6/4?
> I myself am a I6/4 guy, but I'm curious to know how to work the alternate notational system.
> DT
> Dmitri Tymoczko
> Associate Professor of Music
> 310 Woolworth Center
> Princeton, NJ 08544-1007
> (609) 258-4255 (ph), (609) 258-6793 (fax)
> http://dmitri.tymoczko.com
> _______________________________________________
> Smt-talk mailing list
> Smt-talk at lists.societymusictheory.org
> http://lists.societymusictheory.org/listinfo.cgi/smt-talk-societymusictheory.org

More information about the Smt-talk mailing list