[Smt-talk] The Six-Four Portion Only

Ninov, Dimitar N dn16 at txstate.edu
Wed Feb 15 13:08:44 PST 2012

Dear Bob,

Thank you for your observations and remarks. I used "we" to comment on the fact that we all discussed the cadential six-four chord. Have we not? How is "we" offensive in this context? 

No one can force anyone to relinquish the label V6/4-5/3. I am only saying that the word "cadential six-four" does not imply two chords, as your label V6/4-5/3 does. It implies one, and our discussion so far has been focused on this one chord that some label I6/4, others - cad. 6/4, and others - V6/4.

If some colleagues are bothered by the fact that I am cutting away the V6/4 structure to test its own dominant potential, I will remind them this: a dominant with suspensions is a dominant with suspensions only prior to the resolution of these suspensions. After that it is a dominant without suspensions. Is that false? 

On the basis of the above statement, I invite you to test the qualities of V6/4 alone, comparing it with another dominant, whose first portion is also cut away: the V5/4 portion of the complex V5/4-5/3. The former cannot work alone, but the latter can. Therefore, V5/4 is a genuine dominant with suspensions, and V6/4 is not.

You say that nothing has convinced you so far that the cadential six-four is not V6/4. Again, as you have the right to refuse to separate V6/4 from V6/4-5/3, I have the right to choose to use V6/4 alone, because other labels such as V5/4 or V7/4 may be used alone; if the whole complex is really dominant - its first phase is also dominant and can be used alone. 

OK, I will stop beating the dead horse. But not before inviting you, for one last time, to suspend the tone "D" over the C6/4 chord on a  down beat, and to resolve it into it. Why does "D" sound dissonant and foreign to something that you mark as V? Why does "C" sound as a resolution over something that you label as V? And this event is experienced even before the real V5/3 comes in! I have examples form the musical literature handy to support this phenomenon - the embellishment of the cadential six-four!

Thank you, and best regards,


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

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