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# neapolitan chord function

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It acts instead as a passing tone—a dissonant diminished fifth or perfect fourth above the bass—on the way to the leading tone. b $\hat2$ leaps down a diminished third to the leading tone. A parallel phrase follows in mm. In such circumstances, the Neapolitan sixth is a chromatic alteration of the subdominant, and it has an immediately recognizable and poignant sound. As you can see in the melody, the D§ is a chromatic upper neighbor to C#. Consider the following example: In this excerpt from a Chopin Nocturne, we find a Neapolitan following a root position III chord. The F# in the bass allows for a smooth, stepwise ascent to scale degree $\hat5$ (m. 143). However, there is little historical justification for this as the chord was certainly used earlier and by composers as far away as England. It often does this directly—moving to V or V7 without delay—though frequently an applied chord or cadential 6/4 intervenes. In other words, the Neapolitan chord routinely signals and leads to some form of dominant. Does the b $\hat2$ of the Neapolitan move to the leading tone or diatonic $\hat2$? The second scale degree of F minor is G, and lowering it by a half step would give me Gb. Write a Neapolitan chord with scale degree $\hat4$ in the bass in C# minor: (Answers may vary as long as F# is the lowest pitch and the upper voices consist of D§, F# and A.). Now you know how to build a Neapolitan chord, but how and where do you use it? The same technique appears in Example 31–16. Now consider the following example (Example 31–9b provides a reduction): This passage consists of two parallel phrases. (In major keys, scale degree $\hat6$ must also be lowered.) The heightened harmonic tension brought on by this delay makes the Neapolitan chord a potent dramatic tool. Note: The name of the Neapolitan chord links it to the so-called “Neapolitan school”—a group of composers active in and around Naples, Italy in the 18th century. What two other pre-dominant chords intervene between the Neapolitan and the true dominant harmony? Like the leading tone, b $\hat2$ is only a semitone away from the tonic and as such has a strong tendency to resolve to $\hat1$. Let’s try another example. (For more information on applied chords, see Chapter 27.). Look for a chord that measure whose pitches are that of a dominant seventh chord. It may also serve as a pivot chord in modulations where it is the N in one key and a major triad in the other key. When analyzing Neapolitan chords, it is essential that you be able to recognize the altered pitch or pitches and trace the voice-leading from one chord to the next. In this chapter, we will examine the origins and structure of the Neapolitan chord. The bass note (scale degree $\hat4$) almost invariably steps up to $\hat5$ while the upper voices move down to the nearest chord members: In SATB settings such as the one in Example 31–12, the bass note ( $\hat4$) is usually doubled. Your email address will not be published. Let us know in the comments! (Note that despite the key signature, this passage is in the key of A major. It does not indicate that the chord is in an inverted position.) And that’s the scoop on the Neapolitan chord (sorry, I had to). Now I need to build a major triad on top of Db, which would be Db, F, and Ab. in that it often resolves toward a dominant function. Following the voice leading in the upper parts, we can see that the Bb of the Neapolitan comes directly from the root of the ii6/5 chord (B§).

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