Figured Bass Analysis

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finalizer
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Figured Bass Analysis

Post by finalizer » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:08 am

Is there a way to get Finale to do the Chord Analysis in Figured Bass mode? Or maybe a plugin that can do that? What I'd like to get is this, but automatically:
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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

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motet
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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by motet » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:12 am

I don't think so. The second chord is the second inversion of a G chord, or V-6/4 in C major, not II-6/4, so it might be good practice to do it yourself. :-)

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zuill
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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by zuill » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:28 am

And the C/G is a I-6/4.

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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by Perotinus » Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:46 pm

Indeed they are (the chords). Yet there is also a school of thought that labels the tonic chord in second inversion as a dominant when it occupies its frequent role as the antepenultimate chord of a V-I cadence. This could be the reason that these specific chords are labeled as they are by the OP. Some have dubbed this a "cadential 6/4." In any event, the 6/4 chords in the above example don't fit this context.

(After several edits, I think I have this right now)
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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by ebiggs1 » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:45 pm

Amen
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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by Anders Hedelin » Tue Aug 20, 2019 3:55 pm

I think the V 6/4 might be inspired by functional analysis (Tonic, Dominant, Subdominant etc.). In that kind of analysis you often see D 6/4, where the 6/4 are thought of as being suspensions resolved in 5/3, D(7), i.e. to a chord in root position. In C major: C/G resolved in G(7).

Roman numerals analysis, together with figured bass analysis, is more factual, describing what the harmonies are: in C major a C/G is always a I 6/4, and you have to understand when (not always) it has the role of a cadential 6/4-chord, without it being spelled out in the analysis. Functional analysis tries to explain how the harmonies work, sometimes, but not always, successfully.
Last edited by Anders Hedelin on Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:05 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by motet » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:32 pm

Perotinus wrote:Indeed they are (the chords). Yet there is also a school of thought that labels the tonic chord in second inversion as a dominant when it occupies its frequent role as the antepenultimate chord of a V-I cadence. This could be the reason that these specific chords are labeled as they are by the OP. Some have dubbed this a "cadential 6/4." In any event, the 6/4 chords in the above example don't fit this context.

(After several edits, I think I have this right now)
Exactly right. Having the fifth in the bass doesn't sound good, so is pretty much restricted in common-practice harmony to that situation (where it's a kind of suspension, as Anders said).

It's true that in what are labelled "6/4" in the picture above there are notes in the chords a 6th and a 4th above the bass, but the system doesn't work that way. If the first one were a "ii" chord it would be missing the third and the fifth!

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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by Anders Hedelin » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:13 pm

finalizer wrote:Is there a way to get Finale to do the Chord Analysis in Figured Bass mode? Or maybe a plugin that can do that? What I'd like to get is this, but automatically:
Finalizer, it strikes me that we haven't asked you what you need the figured bass analysis for. Is it for teaching purposes, or something else?
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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by zuill » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:28 pm

I guess I'm out of step. Walter Piston's book was my "Bible" for harmonic analysis.

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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by motet » Tue Aug 20, 2019 6:27 pm

I learned from Piston, too. I'm not sure why you say you're out of step.

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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by zuill » Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:26 pm

In C, I 6/4 was a second inversion I chord built GCE. We never called that a V 6/4.

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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by motet » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:21 pm

I don't think it's you who are out of step here.

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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by Nick Mazuk » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:04 pm

Different schools and theorists call the cadential 6-4 differently. Some call it a I 6-4, others a V 6-4. The I 6-4 interpretation is more literal, while the V 6-4 is more functional.

I 6-4: Literal

Yes, a GCE chord in C major is a C Major chord, and so it is technically a I chord in second inversion. Therefore it's a I 6-4.

This is a perfectly valid way of reading the chord.

V 6-4: Functional

Many schools teach that it's really a V 6-4. This is where functional/Schenkerian analysis meets Roman Numberal analysis. Within the basic phrase (tonic, pre-dominant, dominant, tonic) structure, a I 6-4 almost always is in the dominant section. And 9/10 times it almost acts like a suspension resolving to a V 5-3. Therefore, functionally, it acts like a V chord.

And many argue that this is a necessary consistency, as most 6-4 chords are analyzed as embelishments on other chords, whether that be a passing 6-4, pedal 6-4, or other type. So if you're thinking functionally, you should remain consistent and call it a V 6-4.

This is also a perfectly valid way of reading the chord.

In my opinion, either one is perfectly fine as long as you know why you labeled it how you did. Knowing the reasons for both arguments is even better.
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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by motet » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:20 pm

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Last edited by motet on Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Figured Bass Analysis

Post by ttw » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:44 am

The 64 chord (in common practice) takes special handling. I find it easier just to note that there are several places that they occur.

The most common is in a cadential context (as being discussed above). Some form of a subdominant (ii, augmented sixth, Neapolitan Sixth, IV) followed by a I64 then a V7 (or V). It's not so important to label the I64 as I or V or whatever as to note that the overall progression is from some sort of subdominant to some sort of dominant. The I64 also avoids parallels in cases like a German Sixth moving to the dominant.

Other cases are in arpeggios where the I64 is part of a bunch of tonic chord notes strung together.

Passing chord between IV6 and IV or vice versa (seems similar to me to the cadential use; a passing chord to make voice leading easy.)

In the "Pachelbel Canon Progression" or other similar (Romanesca), the fourth chord is often a I64 rather than a iii: I V6 vi iii IV I6... or I V6 vi I64 IV.

Actually as above I tend to see the cadential, Romenascia, and passing 64 chords as similar.

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