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Section 16.4 Other Occurrences of Six–Four Chords

Second–inversion chords with the fifth of the chord in the bass, also known as \(\left.\text{}^{6}_{4}\right.\) chords, are special chords found only in four situations in Classical music.

  1. Cadential six–four (discussed in the previous section)

  2. Passing six–four: the bass line will look like a passing–tone figure, with three stepwise ascending or descending notes, and the middle chord will be a \(\left.\text{}^{6}_{4}\right.\) chord

  3. Pedal six–four: the bassline will consist of three repeated notes, and the middle chord will be a \(\left.\text{}^{6}_{4}\right.\) chord.

  4. Melodic bass six–four: in this situation, the bass voice has the melody; when the fifth of the chord occurs in this bass voice melody, the result will be a \(\left.\text{}^{6}_{4}\right.\) chord.