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Topic: OT - Figured bass and non dominant seventh chords

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sonare Coeli's Avatar
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    OT - Figured bass and non dominant seventh chords

    Hey everyone,

    So, I'm trying my hand at realizing figured bass. I've been through theory, and have been composing music regularly since high school, so I have all of the basics down and then some. However, there are some odd spots that seem to imply either a major or minor seventh chord. During my intro theory class, none of the examples of figured bass given to us contained these, and furthermore we were told that major an minor sevenths generally only appeared as passing tones in rare cases, as opposed to an individually stated sonority. To my ear, being that I live in the present instead of 400 years ago, most of these sound fine. However, I'd just like to know if I'm interpreting these correctly.

    Here's an example from Marcello's Sonata in D minor for Recorder and Continuo (Op. 2):



    On the second beat of the first measure here, this is marked as a G minor seventh chord in first inversion, and on the second beat of the second measure, an F major seven chord is spelled out in the first inversion. Is this correct?


    In another example here:



    On the first beat of the second measure is a B natural with a 7 indicated above it. With the 3rd and 5th implied this would spell out a B half diminished 7th chord. While this sonority is technically more acceptable, this jumps out to my ear as awkward in context. I'm using a recording to double check myself, and the players actually substitute a G major chord in first inversion. Which one is correct?


    Thanks for taking a look, I would appreciate any insight!

    Tyler

  2. #2

    Re: OT - Figured bass and non dominant seventh chords

    In the first example I wonder whether the 6 and 5 are meant to be read in sequence, rather than simultaneously, so that they spell out the passing notes that appear in the top part.

    The second example I wouldn't have a problem with. The 7th is well prepared in the chord before, and resolves onto a G in the next chord.
    David

  3. #3
    Senior Member Sonare Coeli's Avatar
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    Re: OT - Figured bass and non dominant seventh chords

    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu View Post
    In the first example I wonder whether the 6 and 5 are meant to be read in sequence, rather than simultaneously, so that they spell out the passing notes that appear in the top part.

    The second example I wouldn't have a problem with. The 7th is well prepared in the chord before, and resolves onto a G in the next chord.
    You're correct, thanks! This is is a different style of figured bass notation than I'm used to (that and I'm probably rustier than I thought on figured bass ). I checked further in the score and there are some 6 4's, 5 3's, etc., that are stacked vertically, so in this case these are definitely meant to be read in sequence since they're not stacked.

    As for the second example, I suppose it sounded awkward to me because it was different from the recording that I had, and therefore stood out. I prefer the first inversion G major, but if it's not correct then I suppose I don't have a choice .

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