Augmented sixths

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paradoxical

Augmented sixths

Post by paradoxical » Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:42 pm

Hello everyone. I just learned about the German/Italian and French sixth chords today and am eager to see them at work in a classical guitar context. Anybody aware of any pieces or studies that use one of any of these chords; or if they are even used for classical guitar? I have never come across them in any guitar pieces or studies before.

Thanks

Chris Davis

Re: Augmented sixths

Post by Chris Davis » Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:31 am

I haven't seen them anywhere in guitar music, but I also haven't played a lot of 19C composers. Look around in some Mertz, Regondi, Coste and Arcas they all are pretty firmly in the romantic period (stylistically); you might have some luck. Just beware the guitar itself requires a lot of manipulation of chords to fit into our arpeggiated textures. They won't be easy to spot like in piano music (as if in analysis is every easy).

If you feel like finding some and doing some "fun" analysis, you can check out some Schubert songs. :twisted:

paradoxical

Re: Augmented sixths

Post by paradoxical » Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:27 pm

Thanks I just checked some Schubert. Didn't see any augmented sixths but I think I spotted a pretty nice cadential 6/4. I thought the augmented sixth would be a difficult one for the guitar espicially the French sixth. That is probably why they don't seem so common. There out there somewhere. Thanks.

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Augmented sixths

Post by Larry McDonald » Fri Oct 03, 2008 2:13 pm

Hi,

Sor uses them quite often, so does Carcassi.

I found the three main varieties in the Sor/Segovia 20 studies in just a few minutes.

Estudio 1 Op.6, #8, m.12.3 It/6 [Read as measure 12, beat 3, Italian sixth]
Estudio 4 Op.6, #1 m.23.1 G/6 [German 6th]
Estudio 5, Op.35, #22, m.7.2 another It/6
Estudio 6, Op.35, #7, m23.3-4 F/6 [French 6th]

In a quick scan of Estudio 9 Op. 31#20 I found 6 Italian Sixth chords.

That big C7 chord in Leyenda is actually a German 6th, BTW.

All the best,
Larry McDonald

ksjazzguitar

Re: Augmented sixths

Post by ksjazzguitar » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:24 am

There is also that Italian Aug 6th in Tarrega's Adelita.

In the B section, measure 6, beat 3. In E major, the chord is C, E, A#.

I know I've seen others, they just don't come to mind. I just notice them because the 5th scale is being approached from a m2 above and a m2 below. In the example above, the C and A# "pincer" the B (in different octaves.)

Peace,
Kevin

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Larry McDonald
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Re: Augmented sixths

Post by Larry McDonald » Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:35 pm

ksjazzguitar wrote:There is also that Italian Aug 6th in Tarrega's Adelita.

In the B section, measure 6, beat 3. In E major, the chord is C, E, A#.
Good catch. That's a pretty cool Augmented sixth chord use. Working from my memory, if you look at the C, E, A#, the chord is the Italian type. If you take into account the ornament [F#], it becomes a French Sixth.

LMc

ksjazzguitar

Re: Augmented sixths

Post by ksjazzguitar » Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:11 pm

Lare wrote:...If you take into account the ornament [F#], it becomes a French Sixth. ...
Interesting point, I hadn't thought of it that way. I do use the ornament, but never really thought of the F# as being a functional part of the harmony. I think it would be debatable. The F# certainly gives it the hint of a French, but it doesn't resolve the way we could expect, i.e., to the F# in the V chord. But you could say that the thin texture allows a little ambiguity and that the F# is implied by the V chord.

I would still call it an Italian, and say that the F# mordent is just an embellishment from the scale, and not a separate voice. But the "French Connection" is interesting to note.

Peace,
Kevin

leevshan

Re: Augmented sixths

Post by leevshan » Sat Oct 18, 2008 1:50 pm

isnt augmented 6th means 7th? it's enharmonic?

ksjazzguitar

Re: Augmented sixths

Post by ksjazzguitar » Sat Oct 18, 2008 4:14 pm

leevshan wrote:isnt augmented 6th means 7th? it's enharmonic?
Yes, it is enharmonic, but in terms of analysis, they aren't quite the same thing. A m7 tends to want to resolve in (like most lowered intervals) and a A6 tends to want to resolve out (like most raised intervals.)

In the key of Cm, the GerA6 chord would be essentially and Ab7, but instead of spelling it Ab C Eb Gb, it is spelled Ab C Eb F#. This lets us know that the F# will resolve to G (instead of a Gb resolving to F.) It is an important distinction in music theory. The way I spot an A6 chord is by the #4th and b6th scale degrees that both resolve by m2 to the 5th scale degree.

The Aug 6 chord is essentially a dominant 7th built in the b6 scale degree. (Jazz players often note that it is essentially a tri-tone sub of a secondary dominant to the V.) The A6 chord comes in different "flavors":

German Aug6 - 1 3 5 #6

Italian Aug6 - 1 3 #6 (The 5th is omitted, double the 3rd if in 4-part texture.)

French Aug6 - 1 3 #4 #6 (In analysis, the chord is easily mistaken for a V7/V with a b5, having exactly the same notes.)

Swiss (or doubly) Aug6 - 1 3 ##4 #6 (This is enharmonic with the German, but the ##4 means that it will resolve out instead of in.)

Russian Aug6 - 1 3 #5 #6 (This is rare - I've only heard one teacher talk about it.)


Each of these chords has certain resolution considerations. They will resolve to a V chord, however a few can get there through a 2nd inversion I chord. Just pay attention to the resolutions implied but the enharmonics, and that will tell you what to do.

Peace,
Kevin

Chris Davis

Re: Augmented sixths

Post by Chris Davis » Sat Oct 18, 2008 4:28 pm

leevshan wrote:isnt augmented 6th means 7th? it's enharmonic?
Yes! KSJazz is right, though, the spellings and the chords themselves have different tendencies. But using augmented sixths (especially the german 6/5) has some interesting possibilities as far as modulation goes.

Fully diminished seventh chords also have some interesting possibilities.

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Re: Augmented sixths

Post by Larry McDonald » Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:10 pm

Hi,

Did you ever play that game called "Clue" with the secret passages that took you to the other side of the game board? This is what augmented 6ths can do.

If you spell the chord with a minor seventh then it will resolve with a root movement up a Perfect fourth, in the traditional dominant-tonic formula. If you spell the chord with an augmented sixth, then the root movement will move down a step.
For example, if you spell a chord Bb, D, F, Ab, the resolution will be to an Eb chord with the Ab resolving down by step If you spell the same chord as Bb, D, F, G#, then the resolution is to an A chord, with the G# resolving up by step.

Notice that the final root-destinations are an Augmented 4th apart. In other words, they are at the opposite ends of the harmonic spectrum, like the corners in the clue game. By respelling the chord to an augmented 6th, you indicate that you are going to go through the secret door to the other side of the circle of fifths. Very useful in late-post romanticism as a modulatory device.

Also, look out for the inversion of this chord, which is a diminished third resolving inward. It's exceedingly rare (except on exams).

All the best,
Larry McDonald

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Re: Augmented sixths

Post by Jeremiah Lawson » Sat Oct 18, 2008 9:10 pm

I'm rusty on this but I think augmented sixth chords show up in ragtime frequently

My favorite, very dry joke about this topic was when a theory professor I studied under saw a chord that had a split between the German and French forms of the augmented sixth. Having studied a bit of military history I got his joke when he said, "We'll just call this an Alsace-Lorraine chord and move on."

jrannik

Re: Augmented sixths

Post by jrannik » Sun Oct 19, 2008 5:23 am

There's an It6 at the end of Torroba's Nocturno, though it's misspelled (it should be F, A, D#, but is actually written as F, A, Eb).

leevshan

Re: Augmented sixths

Post by leevshan » Sun Oct 19, 2008 4:53 pm

Wow, so much theory in jazz music... it's very interesting, but so hard for me :(

I wish i could play jazz and improvise, but i only read music and play the way it is written, i'm not creative enough to improvise, i simply dont know what to play when improvising :D
Need more lessons here. :D

Cheers everyone..

tjustus

Re: Augmented sixths

Post by tjustus » Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:07 pm

Actually, classical guitar music is heavy with all kinds of musical devices you will learn about in the theory of music. Augmented sixth chords, secondary dominants, borrowed chords/modal mixture, secondary diminished seventh chords, Neapolitan chords. Here is a short list of examples, some of which may have already been mentioned. It+6: Giuliani, Op. 48, No. 23, ms. 36, Carcassi, Op. 6, No. 13ms. 4, Op 21, No. 23, ms. 3, Sor, Op. 31, No. 20, ms. 4. Fr+6 Sor, Op. 1 No. 56 before the repeat. also a beautiful example of chromatic writing that includes in this 8 measure passage suspensions secondary dominants, borrowed chords, and other chromatic devices. Legnani, Intro Theme, Variations and Finale4 before the fermata. Giuliani, Op. 122, Fantasie kon Themes of Rossini. Carulli, Op. 330, Variations on La Marseillaise, 3 before the whole note end of the variation 1 I think. Ger+6- Sor, Op. 6 No. 1, 4, Op. 2 No. 3. Also a beasutiful example of chromatic writing. The passage contains It+6 as well, and many secondary dominants. Op. 2 No. 6.

There are too many to mention in a short reply. If I may be so bold, I've taught college theory for 30 years, and actually am in the process of completing a book, (Music Theory with the Guitar). Let me know if you (or anyone) is interested. I've spent my life looking for these things.

In short, the guitar composers of the classical and romantic era (I didn't mention Aug 6's by Tarrega, Llobet, Bosch, Sagreras, etc.) were just that, composers, who used the melodic and chromatic devices of the craft, and just happened to be guitarists. Their compositions were written in the common practice style just as those for piano, violin, etc.

More good advice would be to do a harmonic analysis of the pieces you study with your teacher. You will discover many tings about the structure of your music.

Best...

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