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Old 03-14-2013, 04:28 PM   #1
thegloaming
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Voice leading aug 6th chords

The music teacher at my college has us following slightly different rules from what I was using at community college. He won't allow similar motion 5ths between any moving voices, rather than only counting it as a mistake if it's two adjacent voices (tenor and bass, soprano and alto).

This makes going from an augmented sixth chord to a V impossible; the root is going down to the fifth scale degree, the augmented 6th is going up. One of them is going to be in similar motion to the fifth of the chord. What would you do in this situation?
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:29 PM   #2
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I mean if this is about being stylistically appropriate, Bach leaves similar motion fifths in his music all the time. Don't certain situations arise where there isn't an alternative, so you just do it?
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:32 PM   #3
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First of all, it only makes it impossible if it's a German 6th. Second of all, there are three options to solving the German 6th parallel 5ths (that's fun to say).
In order of ascending elegance:
1) Leave it. Some composers just left them in. In fact, they're sometimes called Mozart 5ths.
2) Decorate the perfect fifth out by moving to an Italian or French 6th.
3) Move to a cadential 6/4 instead of directly to a dominant.

EDIT: ^Similar motion, not parallel motion, there's a huge difference.

Last edited by jazz_rock_feel : 03-14-2013 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:35 PM   #4
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I'm harmonizing a pre-composed melody, so options two and three are not feasible.
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:56 PM   #5
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Are you sure the perfect fifth interval is in the melody? A typical voicing would have the outer voices on the augmented 6th. If it is in the melody and the melody doesn't go to scale degree 3 on the next beat, there's nothing I can think of that you can do to avoid the fifths. Those are the only three ways that I know of to handle the German 6th.
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:08 PM   #6
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Can you post the melody for us?
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Old 03-14-2013, 05:39 PM   #7
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who the **** cares about similar motion.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chronowarp
who the **** cares about similar motion.


On piano they can sometimes sound clunky when used, and in chordal motion it leads to strange/out of place voice leading.

I don't particularly care, but its something to consider if you want smooth part writing.

Augmented 6th chords will pretty much always move to the dominant and have 2 notes that are a halfstep away on either side of the dominant's root.

These notes are the #4th and b6th scale degrees. The augmented 6th chord will also contain the tonic, so you have the scale degrees 1-#4-b6.

The b6th generally fills the bass while the #4th is in a higher voicing, and they both resolve outward to the 5th. Avoid doubling these or else you'll end up with parallel octaves in the resolution.

There are 3 variations on this, the Italian, the French, and the German. In Italian, the tonic is doubled if you're doing 4 part writing.

Code:
Italian - ♭6—1—♯4; A♭—C—F♯ in C major. Ab — G C — B C — D F# — G


Code:
French - ♭6—1—2—♯4; A♭—C—D—F♯ in C major. Ab—G C—B D—D F#—G


And now the resolution you're looking for in particular;

Code:
German - ♭6—1—♭3—♯4; A♭—C—E♭—F♯ in C major. F#—G—G Eb—E—D C—C—B Ab—G—G


Which ends up being;

Ger(6/5) -> V(6/4)

In which

6->5
4->3

So yeah, that should fix your troubles.

Make sure that you're only moving in step-wise motion, if your music doesn't move in steps its not going to be a very good part writing example and the flow won't be as good as it could have been.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:22 PM   #9
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^That Eb should move to an E natural not a D.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz_rock_feel
^That Eb should move to an E natural not a D.


Woop, fixed.

I typed out like all of that, so yeah.

You could also leave it as an Eb if you want to have the I(6/4) as a minor tonic instead.
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Old 03-14-2013, 06:45 PM   #11
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You mean you don't know what to do with the 5 of the bVI chord? Just move it up a whole step to become the 7th of V. Typically the Ger 6 is used to drive the harmony towards something other than the targeted dominant because of this 5.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
You mean you don't know what to do with the 5 of the bVI chord? Just move it up a whole step to become the 7th of V. Typically the Ger 6 is used to drive the harmony towards something other than the targeted dominant because of this 5.


Hes concerned about the voice leading which can only be fixed by a V6/4.

And you could go somewhere else other than the dominant with it, as a properly built German 6th in C Major could TECHNICALLY resolve to Db Major.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegloaming
The music teacher at my college has us following slightly different rules from what I was using at community college. He won't allow similar motion 5ths between any moving voices, rather than only counting it as a mistake if it's two adjacent voices (tenor and bass, soprano and alto).

This makes going from an augmented sixth chord to a V impossible; the root is going down to the fifth scale degree, the augmented 6th is going up. One of them is going to be in similar motion to the fifth of the chord. What would you do in this situation?

Even if your teacher never allows parallel fifths in typical 4-part harmony (which you shouldn't in most cases, despite whether or not they're in adjacent voices), he should still make an exception for German 6th chords, due to the extreme contrary motion caused by the augmented 6th resolving out. It's true that the ideal resolution is to move to V through a V6/4 chord, but this isn't always possible, so the resolution straight to V should be acceptable. Lots of famous composers did it, and you don't really hear the parallel motion because of the other things going on. As long as it's musically justifiable (due to the melody or a lack of time to throw in a cadential 6/4), you shouldn't get marked down.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:46 PM   #14
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...do you guys mean I 6/4....?
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:07 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xiaoxi
...do you guys mean I 6/4....?


Wait...

Yes, because derp.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:09 AM   #16
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I 6/4 =/= C6/4. Cadential 6/4 is enharmonic with I6/4, but it functionally distinct, and is frequently analyzed as a double sus on the V. It's only a I 6/4 if it doesn't appear as part of a dominant.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:26 AM   #17
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Doesn't the cadential 6/4 function as a dominant prolongation?
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:46 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgraves
I 6/4 =/= C6/4. Cadential 6/4 is enharmonic with I6/4, but it functionally distinct, and is frequently analyzed as a double sus on the V. It's only a I 6/4 if it doesn't appear as part of a dominant.

Nitpicking. A C6/4 is a I6/4, but a I6/4 doesn't necessarily have to be a C6/4 (although they are a large percentage of the time).
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenGuitar
Doesn't the cadential 6/4 function as a dominant prolongation?

Now it's my turn to pick nits.

I know what you mean, but no. Prolongation refers to the idea of prolonging a pitch (the tonic) over a period of time in which harmony might change underneath. For example, I-IV-V-I is prolonging the tonic.

But in the spirit of what you mean, yes. The C6/4 is essentially a dominant chord.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:00 PM   #19
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Wait-

Oh, I see;

The V 6/4 just notates the suspension above it, not the actual inversion.

Technically, the sound is that of a I 6/4 - V 5/3, but the whole thing functions as a dominant so you notate it as a V 6/4.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:13 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Life Is Brutal
Technically, the sound is that of a I 6/4 - V 5/3, but the whole thing functions as a dominant so you notate it as a V 6/4.

I've never seen that anywhere...

V 6/4 is very different from I 6/4 and would actually break the dominant pedal since it would go to the relative 2nd degree of key instead staying on 5.
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