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Section 20.1 The Neapolitan Chord

The label “Neapolitan” is used in classical music for the ♭\(\left.\text{II}\right.\) chord and is labeled as “\(\left.\text{N}\right.\)” instead of ♭\(\left.\text{II}\right.\). For example, when the Neapolitan chord occurs in first inversion—its most common inversion—it is labeled as \(\left.\text{N}^{6}\right.\).

Being a chromatically altered \(\left.\text{ii}\right.\) chord, the Neapolitan has pre–dominant harmonic function.

Notice the special character of the Neapolitan and how composers sometimes alter texture, register, and dynamics when the Neapolitan occurs, as in the first movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, Op. 92.

Figure 20.1.1 Beethoven, Symphony No. 7, Op. 92, I (1812)