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Encyclopedia > Augmented sixth chord
The interval of an augmented sixth normally resolves outwards by semitone to an octave
The interval of an augmented sixth normally resolves outwards by semitone to an octave

An augmented sixth chord contains the interval of an augmented sixth above its bass. The chord had its origins in the Renaissance,[1] was further developed in the Baroque, and became a distinctive part of the musical style of the Classical and Romantic periods.[2] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... In music theory, the term interval describes the difference in pitch between two notes. ... An augmented sixth is one of three musical intervals that span six diatonic scale degrees. ... Typical fingering for a second inversion C major chord on a guitar. ... Baroque music describes an era and a set of styles of European classical music which were in widespread use between approximately 1600 and 1750. ... The Classical period in Western music occurred from about 1750 to 1820, despite considerable overlap at both ends with preceding and following periods, as is true for all musical eras. ... The era of Romantic music is defined as the period of European classical music that runs roughly from 1820 to 1900, as well as music written according to the norms and styles of that period. ...


The augmented sixth interval is typically between the sixth degree of the minor scale and the raised fourth degree: ♭6–♯4. The chord is then usually followed directly or indirectly by some form of the dominant chord, in which both notes have moved to the fifth degree of the scale. This tendency to expand outwards to the octave is why the interval is spelled as an augmented sixth rather than enharmonically as a minor seventh. Although such an augmented sixth chord is more natural in the minor mode, it also came to be used in the major mode by borrowing the flattened sixth degree of the parallel minor scale.[3] In music or music theory a scale degree is an individual note of a scale, both its pitch and its diatonic function. ... In music, the dominant is the fifth degree of the scale. ... In music, an enharmonic is a note which is the equivalent of some other note, but spelled differently. ... The musical interval of a minor seventh the first note (the root or tonic) and the seventh in a minor scale. ... In music, the adjectives major and minor can describe a scale, key, chord, or interval. ... A borrowed chord is a chord borrowed from the parallel key. ... In music, the parallel minor of a particular major key (or the parallel major of a minor key) is the key which has the same tonic and a different key signature, as opposed to relative minor (or major, respectively). ...


There are three standard types of augmented sixth chord, each named after a European nationality, although the names are irrelevant to their origin and function. Theorists have struggled for centuries to explain the origins of these chords, define their roots, and fit them into conventional harmonic theory.[4] The root (basse fondamentale) of a chord is the note upon which that chord is perceived or labelled as built or centered, the root of a chord in root position or normal form. ...


These chords are sometimes used with a different augmented sixth interval from ♭6–♯4, or with a different member of the chord in the bass, or both.

Contents

Function of augmented sixth chords

The different varieties of augmented sixth chord have the same function harmonically: as altered supertonic or subdominant chords leading to a dominant chord. This movement to the dominant is heightened by the chromatic raising of the fourth scale degree (F♯ in c minor). This characteristic has led many analysts to describe augmented sixth chords as variants of the secondary dominant V of V. In the major mode, the chromatic effect is more pronounced, because while the minor scale already has a minor sixth degree (♭6), the major has a major 6, so the Italian sixth introduces two chromatically altered tones, rather than just one. A diatonic function, in tonal music theory, is the specific, recognized roles of notes or chords in relation to the key. ... Secondary dominants are a kind of chord used in musical harmony. ... In music theory, the major scale (or major mode) is one of the diatonic scales. ... In music, chromatic indicates the inclusion of notes not in the prevailing scale and is also used for those notes themselves (Shir-Cliff et al 1965, p. ...


Italian sixth

The Italian sixth moving to V
The Italian sixth moving to V

The Italian sixth (It + 6) is derived from chord iv6 (scale degrees ♭6, 1 and #4; A♭–C–F# in c minor), with a raised fourth degree (F♯). This is the only augmented sixth chord comprising just three notes; in four-part writing, 1 is usually doubled, because it is the only stable member of the chord.
Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...


French sixth

The French sixth chord; the distinguishing tone is highlighted in blue.
The French sixth chord; the distinguishing tone is highlighted in blue.

The French sixth (Fr + 6 or Fr_3^4) is like the Italian, but with an additional tone on scale degree 2 (♭6, 1, 2, ♯4). This creates a sonority that is both enharmonically inversionally reflexive and enharmonically equivalent to itself transposed at the tritone. Mozart was particularly enamored of this chord. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... For other uses, see Tritone (disambiguation). ...


In the late Romantic period, the French sixth gained more significance, since because of its equivalence to itself at the tritone it could be used not only to resolve to V, but also to ♭II, the Neapolitan sixth. This enabled modulation to rather distant keys: a significant means of expression for Romantic composers. The era of Romantic music is defined as the period of European classical music that runs roughly from the early 1800s to the first decade of the 20th century, as well as music written according to the norms and styles of that period. ... In music theory, a Neapolitan chord is a major chord built on the lowered second (supertonic) scale degree. ... In music, modulation is most commonly the act or process of changing from one key (tonic, or tonal center) to another. ...


The late Romantic composer Alexander Scriabin made extensive use of the French sixth, exploiting its unique sound and its harmonic ambiguity in an extreme way. Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin (Russian: Александр Николаевич Скрябин, Aleksandr Nikolajevič Skriabin; sometimes transliterated as Skryabin or Scriabine (6 January 1872 [O.S. 26 December 1871]—27 April 1915) was a Russian composer and pianist. ...


German sixth

The German sixth; the distinguishing tone is highlighted in blue.
The German sixth; the distinguishing tone is highlighted in blue.

The (Gr + 6) is also like the Italian, but again with an added tone, this time on scale degree ♭3 (♭6, 1, ♭3, ♯4). It is enharmonically equivalent to a dominant seventh, specifically the applied dominant V of ♭II. Thus, like the French sixth, it was often used in this relationship by Romantic composers as a method of modulation to remote keys. In Classical music, however, it appears in much the same places as the Italian sixth, though it is less used, perhaps because of the contrapuntal difficulties outlined below. It appears frequently in the works of Beethoven. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... In music, an enharmonic is a note which is the equivalent of some other note, but spelled differently. ... Secondary dominant (also applied dominant) is a type of chord used in musical harmony. ... “Beethoven” redirects here. ...

The German sixth is typically followed by a 6/4 chord to avoid parallel fifths.
The German sixth is typically followed by a 6/4 chord to avoid parallel fifths.

It is difficult to avoid parallel fifths when proceeding to V. Although these parallel fifths were occasionally accepted by common practice composers (and referred to as Mozart fifths), there are two ways they are avoided: Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... In music the common practice period is a long period in western musical history spanning from before the classical era proper to today, dated, on the outside, as 1600-1900. ... In the course of the development of classical music from the Renaissance to the Baroque period, a number of musical rules sprung up which, although harmless to our modern ears, were considered taboo in the classical age. ...

  • The chord can move to a "cadential six-four" chord (whether this is thought of as an intensification of V or a second inversion of I); this, in turn, is normally followed by a root-position V. This resolution allows for two common notes (when resolving to a minor chord or tonic), or one common note (for major). Composers often then respell the ♭3 enharmonically as ♯2, to ensure proper voice leading to 3 in the next chord. This doubly augmented or ♯2 respelling of the German chord allows it to be approached and resolved like the French chord, with frequent motion to through the cadential 6/4 chord. On account of this mixing of national characters, the chord is sometimes called the English augmented sixth, or the "Swiss" or "Alsatian" chord.[5]
German sixth chord respelled with doubly augmented fourth (highlighted in blue) for voice-leading purposes
German sixth chord respelled with doubly augmented fourth (highlighted in blue) for voice-leading purposes
  • The chord can be converted to the Italian or French version just before resolving to V.[6]

An example of Gr + 6 can be found in the high passage heard twice in the "Passepied" from Debussy's Suite Bergamasque. In music theory, the word inversion has several meanings. ... In music, an enharmonic is a note which is the equivalent of some other note, but spelled differently. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...

An example of a German sixth chord from Michael Haydn's Requiem in C minor, first movement. ( Listen )
An example of a German sixth chord from Michael Haydn's Requiem in C minor, first movement. ( Image:Loudspeaker.png Listen )


Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 488 pixelsFull resolution (1047 × 639 pixel, file size: 109 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) An example of a German sixth chord from Michael Haydns (1737-1806) Requiem in C minor, first movement. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 488 pixelsFull resolution (1047 × 639 pixel, file size: 109 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) An example of a German sixth chord from Michael Haydns (1737-1806) Requiem in C minor, first movement. ... Michael Haydn Johann Michael Haydn (September 14, 1737 – August 10, 1806) was an Austrian composer, the younger brother of (Franz) Joseph Haydn. ... Image File history File links Loudspeaker. ...


Roots of augmented sixth chords

Theorists vary in their treatment of the roots of augmented sixth chords. The root (basse fondamentale) of a chord is the note upon which that chord is perceived or labelled as built or centered, the root of a chord in root position or normal form. ...


Inversions of augmented sixth chords

Augmented sixth chords are occasionally used with a different chord member in the bass. Since there is no consensus among theorists that they are in root position in their normal form, the word inversion isn't necessarily accurate, but some textbooks use it nonetheless. Composers often use such positions because the voice-leading calls for them. For an excellent example, see Tchaikovsky's, Symphony no. 5 (op. 64, I), Allegro con anima (bars 3–4).

Excerpt from Bach's Mass in B minor
Excerpt from Bach's Mass in B minor

The example shows an augmented sixth chord in inversion used by Bach. At the end of the second measure of the example, the augmented sixth (here inverted to a diminished third or tenth), is between the bass and the soprano; these two voices resolve inward to an octave. This form of the chord, if in its usual position, would be a German sixth chord.
Image File history File links BMM.jpg File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links BMM.jpg File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... The Mass in B Minor (BWV 232) is a work of music by Johann Sebastian Bach. ... “Bach” redirects here. ... In music, a diminished third is the interval produced by flattening a minor third by a chromatic semitone. ...


Augmented sixths on scale degrees other than ♭6

Occasionally the lowest note of the augmented sixth interval is on a different scale degree. Most often, this results from a temporary tonicization, and the resulting augmented sixth chord is borrowed from the key of the secondary dominant which follows it. However, there are a few examples in the literature of these chords appearing without such a context. Schubert used it in some of his last compositions, in dramatic final cadences. In music, tonicization is the treatment of a pitch other than the overall tonic as a temporary tonic in a composition. ... In Western musical theory a cadence (Latin cadentia, a falling) is a particular series of intervals or chords that ends a phrase, section, or piece of music. ...

Augmented sixth chord on scale degree ♭2 in Schubert's piano sonata D. 959. Italian form, preceded by a Neapolitan sixth chord in root position.
Augmented sixth chord on scale degree ♭2 in Schubert's piano sonata D. 959. Italian form, preceded by a Neapolitan sixth chord in root position.


Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... In music theory, a Neapolitan chord is a major chord built on the lowered second (supertonic) scale degree. ...


Augmented sixth chords in the literature

The second movement of Beethoven's piano sonata in F-sharp major, op. 78, begins with an Italian sixth chord: Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 17 December 1770; died 26 March 1827) was a German composer of classical music, who lived predominantly in Vienna, Austria. ... The Piano Sonata No. ...


Image:BeethovenOp78.png Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...


Richard Wagner's famous Tristan chord (indicated below with Tr) is often analyzed as a French sixth with an upwardly resolving appoggiatura in the upper voice: Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner (22 May 1813 – 13 February 1883) was a German composer, conductor, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or music dramas as they were later called). ... The Tristan chord is a chord made up of the notes F, B, D# and G#. More generally, it can be any chord that consists of these same intervals, viz. ... In music, ornaments are musical flourishes that are not necessary to the overall melodic (or harmonic) line, but serve to decorate or ornament that line. ...


Image:Tristanchord.png Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...




Other aspects of augmented sixth chords

Augmented sixth chords with compositions other than those shown above are sometimes seen, and they too are sometimes given whimsical geographical names. For example, a chord comprising 4, ♭6, 7, and ♯2 is called by one source an Australian sixth.[7] Like some of the chords examined earlier, such innovations as these usually have alternative interpretations.


In jazz, the French augmented sixth chord would typically be described as a tritone substitution, and spelled as a dominant chord. Tritone substitutions are used more freely in jazz than augmented sixth chords are in common practice style. From a jazz perspective, the French form on ♭6 would be seen as a specific idiom for V7 of V, used mainly in the minor mode. For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... In jazz music a tritone substitution is the use in a chord progression of a dominant seventh chord (major/minor seventh chord) that is three steps (a tritone) away from the original dominant seventh chord. ... In music the common practice period is a long period in western musical history spanning from before the classical era proper to today, dated, on the outside, as 1600-1900. ...


See also

A chord progression (also chord sequence and harmonic progression or sequence), as its name implies, is a series of chords played in order. ... A diatonic function, in tonal music theory, is the specific, recognized roles of notes or chords in relation to the key. ... In music theory, a Neapolitan chord is a major chord built on the lowered second (supertonic) scale degree. ... The Tristan chord is a chord made up of the notes F, B, D# and G#. More generally, it can be any chord that consists of these same intervals, viz. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Andrews, HK, The Oxford harmony, Vol. 2, OUP, 1950, pp. 45–46.
  2. ^ Andrews, HK, op. cit., pp. 46–52.
  3. ^ Aldwell, E, and Schachter, C, Harmony and voice leading, 2nd ed., Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, San Diego, 1989, pp. 478–83.
  4. ^ Some general sources for the modern theory of these chords are Aldwell and Schachter (op. cit.); Gauldin R, Harmonic practice in tonal music, Norton, New York, 1997, ISBN 0-393-97074-4, pp. 422–438; and Christ, W, DeLone, R, Kliewer, V, Rowell, L, and Thomson, W, Materials and structure of music, Vol. 2, 2nd ed., Prentice-Hall, NJ, 1973, pp. 141–171. (Christ et al. offer a usefully detailed consideration of augmented sixth chords along with the Neopolitan sixth chord.)
  5. ^ The respelled chord is sometimes illogically called a "doubly augmented sixth chord"; but the fourth between ♭6 and ♯2 (such as A♭ to D♯ in C major) is the interval that is doubly augmented.
  6. ^ Benjamin, T, Horvit, M, and Nelson, M, Techniques and materials of music, 7th ed., Thomson and Schirmer, 2008 [sic], p. 165. Beethoven frequently moves from one form of the chord to another in such a way, sometimes passing through all three.
  7. ^ Burnard, Alex, Harmony and composition, Allans Music (Australia), 1950, pp. 94–95.
Chords

By Type Triad Major · Minor · Augmented · Diminished · Suspended

Seventh Major · Minor · Dominant · Diminished · Half-diminished · Minor-major · Augmented major · Augmented minor

Extended Ninth · Eleventh · Thirteenth

Other Sixth · Augmented sixth · Altered · Added tone · Polychord · Quartal and quintal · Tone cluster· Power

By Function Diatonic Tonic · Dominant · Subdominant · Submediant

Altered Borrowed · Neapolitan chord · Secondary dominant · Secondary subdominant


  Results from FactBites:
 
Augmented sixth chord - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (365 words)
An augmented sixth chord is a chord which often has the interval of an augmented sixth between its highest and lowest notes.
All augmented-sixth chords derived from subdominant-function Stufen of the tonic key have a flattened submediant, that is the sixth degree of the scale (e.g., A flat in C major), and a raised fourth (F# in C major).
Augmented sixth chords usually have the flattened sixth as the bass note.
Augmented chord - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (237 words)
In twelve tone equal tempered tuning, an augmented chord has 4 semitones between the third and fifth, 4 between the root and third, and 8 between the root and fifth.
The augmented chord is considered dissonant, or unstable, and lacks tonal center or drive.
It symmetrically divides the octave and is ambiguous as to root because an augmented chord built from any note of an augmented chord produces that same chord.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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