[Smt-talk] Mozart harmonic progression

Eytan Agmon agmonz at 012.net.il
Mon Apr 22 20:14:45 PDT 2013

Dear Eric,

If you mean the Don Giovanni progression, where the raised “VI7” (minor, not
half-diminished) results from a 7-6 suspension (but is very striking
nonetheless), Chopin replicates it in the opening of his E-minor Concerto.
There is no doubt in mind that Chopin learned the progression from Mozart.

Eytan Agmon

Bar-Ilan University


From: smt-talk-bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org
[mailto:smt-talk-bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org] On Behalf Of Eric
Sent: Monday, April 22, 2013 7:59 PM
To: smt-talk at lists.societymusictheory.org
Subject: [Smt-talk] Mozart harmonic progression



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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