This week we added arabic numeral superscripts and subscripts to our functional letter labels.
These numbers represent interval relations to the root of the chord. To review, the root of each chord in solfege and scale degree numbers:
Primary functions, major and minor Major keys Minor keys
T, t – 1, do Tr – 6, la tR – 3, me
P, p – 4, fa Pr – 2, re tV – 6, le
D – 5, sol Tv – 3, mi pR – 6, le
. Pv – 6, la
When the root is not the same as the bass/ lowest note of the chord, we indicate this with a numeric subscript.
Tonic triad with the third in the bass:
When there are no numbers next to a label, a diatonic third and diatonic fifth above the root are assumed. When a seventh is added to the triad, there is a superscript 7:
Sometimes, a function is weakened by taking away its root. This is particularly common with D7. The slash indicates the missing root. All numbers in sub- or superscripts are in relation to this missing root.
To see some examples, I posted an analysis of the first couple lines of the Chaccone from Bach’s unaccompanied Violin Partita #2. If the practice partwriting on the assignment seems tricky, try the extra spelling practice, also posted yesterday.
Note: There are multiple cases in which the same 3 or 4 pitches have more than one correct functional analysis. For example, Tr and Pv are the same triad. However, with this as with other cases, each analyst may choose which label is most appropriate functionally in each instance.
Importantly (I find) one symbol never means more than one thing. A cadential 6/4 is Dominant with the sixth and the fourth replacing the fifth and the third (superscripts), while what is also known as V6/4 – the passing 6/4 – is D with the fifth in the bass (5 as subscript).