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

Ninov, Dimitar N dn16 at txstate.edu
Mon Feb 13 10:57:26 PST 2012

Dear Colleagues,

I also think that Rick Cohn's message was very clever. In addition, I too, hear the approach of the 5th scale on an accented beat (or on the more accented portion of a divided weak beat)  as a passage which leads us to dominant harmony. Not only this - I do recognize the initiation of a dominant function in the bass (as part of cadential six-four) but then my ear detects an overall structure which fully coincides with the tonic, and creates a functional conflict rather than a dissonant upper voice that needs to resolve. In other words, what many of you explain as a dominant arrival with displaced tones, I explain as a collision between tonic and dominant (T/D). Think of this unique structure as one that embodies the two most polar functions in the key - tonic and dominant. If there is a genuine pre-dominant phase, that is the cadential six-four, which is typically attached to the dominant and relies on it for validation. But it is a chord in its own; ambiguous, but a chord. This allows us to interpret all kinds of embellishments of the the cadential six-four as adornment of the tonic which occurs over a dominant bass, and creates no difficulty in interpreting any kinds of leaps out of the cadential six-four.

Best wishes,

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

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