#1
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?
I couldn't think of a thing that I hope tomorrow brings
#2
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?
I couldn't think of a thing that I hope tomorrow brings
#3
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 at Mar 14, 2013,
#4
I'm harmonizing a pre-composed melody, so options two and three are not feasible.
I couldn't think of a thing that I hope tomorrow brings
#5
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.
#8
Quote 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.

Italian - ♭6—1—♯4; A♭—C—F♯ in C major.

Ab — G
C — B
C — D
F# — G


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;

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.
Last edited by Life Is Brutal at Mar 14, 2013,
#11
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.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#12
Quote 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.
#13
Quote 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.
#14
...do you guys mean I 6/4....?

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#16
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.
#18
Quote 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 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.
#20
Quote 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.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#21
Quote by Xiaoxi
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.


No, it stays on 5, V 6/4 is just saying the suspensions over it, like;

6 - 5
4 - 3

The 6/4 is to notate suspension markings rather than inversion.

But, it sounds virtually the same as a I 6/4 (2nd inversion) moving to a V 5/3 (Root position).

How did you go about learning this, and what do you call a Cadential 6/4?
#22
Quote by Xiaoxi
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.

What you'll sometimes see notated in an analysis if there's roman numerals + figured bass is something like:

C6    7     
 4
 V_________I


Which is actually denoting a C6/4 to V to I, but I guess because the C6/4 is really a dominant chord in a way you just indicated the V being extended.

That's how I notated it in my theory courses.
#23
I can see how it could be framed that way, but if we take into account consistency, it starts to not make much sense.

If I understand this correctly, you're basing the roman numeral on the bass tone, regardless of harmonic context/function. So what's gonna happen when you have something like a D7 in 1st inversion as a dominant to V in C? The bass tone is F#. There is no roman numeral for that. And furthermore, it obscures the true place of harmonies. A vi becomes I 6/3? etc...

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#25
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Not at all. The roman numeral isn't there because of the bass note, it's denoting function because the C6/4 chord can be interpreted as a decoration/extension of a dominant chord.

Right, but that doesn't solve the consistency issue. If this is V 6/4, then what is G 6/4 (D G B)?

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#26
The 64 refers to figured bass symbols and the V refers to the dominant function. Meaning, the 64 refers to a sixth (E) and a fourth (C) above the 'root', which is G. You have to remember figured bass was around in a time before chords as we know them existed; a chord spelled G E C (from bottom to top) was, in fact, a 'G' chord - not a 'C' chord.
Last edited by timeconsumer09 at Mar 15, 2013,
#27
That's what the C in C6/4 is for. It means that it's a cadential 6/4 which everyone understands to mean I6/4 resolving onto a V chord. You wouldn't ever see that notation outside of the context of a cadence so the issue doesn't come up at all.

It's inconsistent because the C6/4 is an inconsistent harmonic device. It's a I chord that doesn't function as a I chord, it functions as a V chord.

It's just for analysis purposes anyway. If you don't like it, don't use it.
#28
Quote by timeconsumer09
The 64 refers to figured bass symbols and the V refers to the dominant function. Meaning, the 64 refers to a sixth (E) and a fourth (C) above the 'root', which is G. You have to remember figured bass was around in a time before chords as we know them existed; a chord spelled G E C (from bottom to top) was, in fact, a 'G' chord - not a 'C' chord.

Yes, but the original figured bass didn't include roman analysis at all. It only had numbers to indicate intervals above the bass.

Quote by jazz_rock_feel
That's what the C in C6/4 is for. It means that it's a cadential 6/4 which everyone understands to mean I6/4 resolving onto a V chord. You wouldn't ever see that notation outside of the context of a cadence so the issue doesn't come up at all.
I guess I've just never seen explicitly labeled "C 6/4" in addition to noting "V" I The whole purpose of the roman numerals is so that they can apply abstractly to every key without needing to specify C, D, etc

It's inconsistent because the C6/4 is an inconsistent harmonic device. It's a I chord that doesn't function as a I chord, it functions as a V chord.
But it doesn't necessarily have to serve as a dominant suspension/delay. It could be a passing tone to something else.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#29
Quote by Xiaoxi

I guess I've just never seen explicitly labeled "C 6/4" in addition to noting "V" I The whole purpose of the roman numerals is so that they can apply abstractly to every key without needing to specify C, D, etc

But how does this defeat that purpose? You can still abstractly understand V(C6/4 - 5/3) I in any key.

Oh wait I think I see the confusion (pun)... The C in C6/4 stands for 'cadential' not the note 'C'. So regardless of what key you're in you'd still say V(C6/4).
Quote by Xiaoxi
But it doesn't necessarily have to serve as a dominant suspension/delay. It could be a passing tone to something else.

True, but this is just notating a (very common) special case in which you have a second inversion I chord resolving to a V chord. If the I6/4 was doing something else, you'd just call it a I6/4, not specifically a C6/4.
#30
Ohh ok, yea I've never seen "C6/4". But that makes sense.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#31
I think it has a lot to do with the particular school of thought one comes from. I have seen a C6/4 analyzed as such and I've also seen it thought of as a suspension. Either way works I suppose. I've also seem analyses that take a step back and label massive sections as V and thing of the C6/4 as simply an ornament. It's a very Schenkerian approach, but, I suppose it that works best for you then that's okay.
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#32
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
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).



Semantics - depends on where you learned your theory. The reasoning behind calling in C6/4 or V6-5/4-3 (double sus on the V) is strictly to distinguish it from a functional I chord, since the idea of a "dominant I" even more confusing.

Most of the time, inversion symbols indicate nothing more than which note is in the bass given a root, but on occasion it's meant to convey the actual intervals above the bass without indicating a root. That's how a V 6/4 can mean "a chord built on the 5th scale degree with intervals of a 4th and 6th above", rather than "a V chord in 2nd inversion".