Read e-book online A Chord in Time: The Evolution of the Augmented Sixth from PDF

By Mark Ellis

for hundreds of years, the augmented 6th sonority has involved composers and intrigued song analysts. the following, Dr Mark Ellis provides a sequence of musical examples illustrating the 'evolution' of the augmented 6th and the altering contexts within which it may be came across. unusually, the sonority emerged from one of many final remnants of modal counterpoint to outlive into the tonal period: the Phrygian Cadence. within the Baroque interval, the 'terrible dissonance' was once almost always linked to unfavourable textual imagery. Charpentier defined the augmented 6th as 'poignantly expressive'. J. S. Bach thought of an incidence of the chord in a single of his forebear's motets 'remarkably bold'. in the course of Bach's composing lifetime, the augmented 6th developed from a comparatively infrequent chromaticism to a virtually typical point in the tonal spectrum; the chord displays specific chronological and stylistic strata in his track. Theorists started carefully to just accept the chord, yet its inversional chances proved really contentious, as commentaries by way of writers as diversified as Muffat, Marpurg and Rousseau display. through the eighteenth century, the augmented 6th grew to become more and more major in instrumental repertoires - it was once maybe Vivaldi who first liberated the chord from its unfavourable textual institutions. through the later eighteenth century, the chord started to functionality virtually as a 'signpost' to point very important structural limitations inside sonata shape. The chord didn't, notwithstanding, solely lose its darker undertone: it indicates, for instance, the subject matter of revenge in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Romantic composers exposed far-reaching tonal ambiguities inherent within the augmented 6th. Chopin's Nocturnes usually appear beguilingly uncomplicated, however the floor tranquillity mask the composer's strikingly unique harmonic experiments. Wagner's much-analyzed 'Tristan Chord' resolves (according to a few theorists) on an augmented 6th. In Tristan und Isolde, the chord's mercurial

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