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    Incomplete V+9 as Fr.6+?


    Collective Wisdom:

    I had a dream last night in which I was arranging the 1924 tune “Hard Hearted Hannah,” whose opening melody (in C) goes G-A over a I-V progression.  I harmonized the second bar as B-D#-F-A, with an implied but unstated G as the root—effectively, V+9.  This is pretty standard for the style.

    Waking, I noticed that this is a Fr+6 chord pun (and here's where I depart wholly from the actual song into theoretical realms).  The hypothetical move to Am/E-E7-Am sounds pedestrian, but the enharmonic resolution is appealingly zany: Ebm/Bb-Bb7-Ebm.

    I know that we occasionally teach irregular resolutions and enharmonic puns toward the end of our Theory 3 semesters (or what-have-you).  Does anyone know of this move happening in the wild?  

    In short, an incomplete V+9 (preferably with a leading tone in the bass) becoming the Fr.+6 of biii?


    Best wishes,

    Alex Reed

    Associate Professor of Music

    Ithaca Colleg

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    • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
    • Of course the +6 chord names are merely stand-ins for what amount to passing harmonies—it's always nice to be reminded of that.  Indeed as you put it, what I'm referring to is altered dominant doubling as altered subdominant, and I wonder still if there are moments in the repertoire where this occurs.

      (Alternatively, I can imagine its reverse: in C minor, try having that Ab-C-D-F# sonority resolve to a schmaltzy A major chord.)

    • Dear Alex, 

      I don't know if this counts as occurring "in the wild," but something similar occurs at the turnaround of my composition "Epilogue," which you can hear below (turnarounds occur at 2:30, 6:10, and 8:35).  The changes in this part of the tune (minus repetitions) are:

      Dm/A, A susb9, A7#9, BbM7/D, Dm6, BbM7/D, A/C#, A7b5/C#    ||    Ab/C (C super locrian)

      d: i6/4       V         V7      VI6           i         VI6       V6     V6/5 (w b5)        

                                                                                    Ab:   Fr+6 ("1st inv")       I6



      Rich Pellegrin

      Assistant Professor of Music Theory

      University of Florida



    • Dear Alex,

      Geographic names are functionally irrelevant, and many people who think along this line cannot evaluate chords functionally. What if I told you that most musicians in the world (including jazz practitioners and theorists) do not use geographic names and find their way in chromatic harmony much better than many who reside in the "dry theoretical world"...

      What you are talking about is an altered dominant in C which becomes enharmonically re-interpreted as an altered subdominant in Eb minor.

      Thus, in C major, at the level of the VII chord, you have a VII half-dim7 with a raised third (practically a VII7-5) which, in Eb minor becomes a II half-dim7 with a raised third (practical size II7-5). At the level of the bigger dominant, in C major you have a G9+5 (root omitted, as you noticed), which becomes again a II7-5 (the tone G being irrelevant and nonexistent) in Eb minor. You can also call II7-5 a V7-5 of V, if it resolves direclty into the dominant triad or seveth chord. But If it resolves into the tonic or cadential six-four, (which has a tonic structure), it is better to analyze the chord in question as an altered SII.

      That is it. When you say Italian, French or German, you are actually pronouncing chord structures with no functional assignment. The three geographic chords are nothing more than altered S or D chords, according to context. Altered dominants are built on V or VII, altered subdominants are built on raised IV, diatonic IV, raised II, or diatonic II.

      Best regards,


      Texas State University