[Smt-talk] Mozart harmonic progression

Eric Knechtges eric.t.knechtges at gmail.com
Mon Apr 22 09:59:02 PDT 2013


Point of curiosity -- those of you with corpus studies of Mozart at hand
may have a ready answer to this.

There is a certain harmonic progression that seems to pop up in Mozart's
music in minor keys, and I have yet to find an example of this exact
progression in any other composer.  Arguments of counterpoint vs. harmony
aside, here is the basic idea:

i - v6 - #viø7 - +6 - V (or cadential 6/4)

So, in d minor, for instance:

Dm - Am/C - Bø7 - It+6 - A

While I know that chromatic and diatonic descents to the dominant are
commonplace and have a rich history, it is this precise sequence of
harmonies that I haven't found in any other composer with nearly the
frequency that I've seen it in Mozart.  Does anyone have examples of this
from another composer?  Is it more common in Mozart than his contemporaries?

Eric Knechtges, DM
Assistant Professor, Coordinator of Composition/Theory
Northern Kentucky University
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