Chapter 16

Report
The 6/4 and Other Linear Chords
The 6/4 and Other Linear Chords
Root & First Inversion Triads (5/3 & 6/3)
can be used freely – all consonant
intervals
 6/4 (2nd inversion) has dissonant 4th
which must be approached and resolved
correctly

 6/4 functions linearly – comes between more
stable harmonies; much like a viio6 between
a I and I6 or a neighboring IV between two
tonic triads
Types of 6/4 Chords

Accented Cadential
 Occurs at authentic or half cadence

Unaccented Passing
 Between two harmonies

Sustained or Pedal
 Over which a neighboring or passing chord
occurs

Arpeggiated
The Accented/Cadential 6/4
Useful in the progression IV-V-I or ii6-V-I
to help alleviate parallel 5ths
 Built on the 5th of tonic; however more
closely attributed to a dominant harmony
because it aurally lacks the stability of
tonic
 Functions as an expansion of dominant
harmony

Accented/Cadential 6/4
I6
IV
V
Unintended //5th
I
I
I6
IV
V
6/4
I
5/3
Accented/Cadential 6/4
Accented 6/4 followed by root position
dominant chord
 Dissonant 4th prepared by common tone
from the previous IV and resolves
downward by step (typical suspension)
 Frequently appears at an authentic
cadence
 Soprano outlines (^4 -^3-^2-^1) but may
appear as (^8-^8-^7-^8)

Accented/Cadential 6/4
8
8
7
8
Cadential 6/4
indicated by
Roman numeral
as part of the
suspended
dominant
function
cm:
i6
iv6
i
Accented/Cadential 6/4
Dominant 6/4 to 5/3 sometimes may
occur as a half cadence, with the final
triad of the authentic cadence omitted
 This occurs frequently in slow
movements of the Classical period

Accented/Cadential 6/4

In partwriting…
 The bass note of the 6/4 is almost always
doubled
○ This doubled note (^5) may remain or
descend to ^4 (of a V4/2) on its way to ^3
Elaborating the Cadential 6/4

No matter the elaboration, the voice
leading should always remain constant
A:
ii6
( 6/5
6/4
5/4
V
5/3 )
I
The Passing 6/4 Chord





May occurs as a passing sonority between
chords of similar function
Invariably occurs on an unstressed beat
Non-essential linear chord
Passing V6/4 (2nd inversion) may function
as a passing sonority linking a root-position
tonic to a first-inversion tonic; I – (V6/4) –
I6 or the reverse
Commonly used to link two pre-dominant
chords with stepwise motion
 Most common: IV6 – (6/4) – ii6/5
The Passing 6/4 Chord
Eb:
D:
I6
IV6
6/4
(6/4)
I
ii6/5
V7
I
The Pedal 6/4 Chord

Features a sustained bass note over
which the dissonant 4th may occur in
either neighboring or passing motion
The neighboring version in
the first example shows the
5–6–5
3 4 3 voice leading
progression over a
stationary bass note.
On both accounts the 6/4
chord is marked only
with figured bass
numerals.
The Pedal 6/4 Chord

Be careful when identifying the note that
functions as the actual bass in
accompanimental parts
 In most cases the first bass note of the
measure of figuration is the real bass
C:
5/3
5/3
6/4 (!)
The recurring bass
notes in m. 1-2 are
not 6/4s. The bass
note is sustained
bass and root!
Measure 3 is a legit
6/4. The F# in the
5/3 RH is a chromatic
passing tone
The Pedal 6/4 Chord
In this case the dissonant 4th appears as part of a three-chord
passing progression over the sustained or pedal bass.
The Arpeggiated 6/4 Chord
Created by having a broken chord or
arpeggiation in the bass
 Usually extends over a series of
measures rather than just one

Other Treatments of the 6/4
See text pg. 278 – 279 for further
examples and treatments of the 6/4
 See especially the Beethoven (16.11b)
and Scarlatti (16.11d)

Cadenzas and the 6/4





Italian for cadence
Written and performed for a solo instrument in a
concerto; typical of Classical period works
Usually virtuosic in nature; usually on thematic
material from earlier in the movement
Usually begins with an extended 6/4 followed
by improvisations and movement toward the
dominant
A long trill on ^2 usually leads in to an
orchestral tutti on the tonic harmony
6/4 Chords in Harmonizations

Cadential 6/4 : 4-3-2-1, 8-8-7-8, or 2-8-7-8
when the second chord is 6/4

Passing 6/4: 7-(8)-2, prolonging dominant,
or 4-(3)-2 & 6-(5)-4, prolonging pre-dominant

Pedal, neighboring 6/4: 3-(4)-3 or 5-(6)-5
over tonic harmony or passing 2-(3)-4 over
dominant harmony
Other Diatonic Linear Chords

Consonant Passing I
 Used when //5th are looming
 Helps link IV- V; stepwise in upper voice

V – IV progression (inherently retro)
 Interrupted the tonic to dominant motion
 Appears frequently in sequences and in a
standard blues progression
 Usually appears in major modes
Other Diatonic Linear Chords

V- IV Progression (continued)
 Sounds like a plagal cadence
 Delays tonic by rerouting it through the sub-
dominant
 Frequent tool of Romantic composers

Apparent Seventh Chords
 Arise out of linear voice leading
 Incorrectly analyzed as ii4/2 or ii6/5 ; they do not
resolve properly (8-7) or progress to dominant
 When analyzing just provide the figured bass in
parentheses
Other Diatonic Linear Chords

Interplay of Harmony and Melodic
Dissonance
 Usually the origin of weirdo passing harmonies
○ Confusion comes with embellishing tones played
simultaneously with reiterated chords
○ Do not give these chords Roman numerals or even
begin to analyze them

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