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Nov 28

In tonal harmony, the function of the Neapolitan chord is to prepare the dominant, substituting for the IV or ii (particularly ii ) chord. The following excerpt provides another example of a tonicized Neapolitan, This passage includes a Neapolitan chord in the opening phrase. 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. The first important thing to know is that Neapolitan chords are most often found in first inversion (that is, the third of the chord is in the bass). You might also see the chord labeled “Phrygian II,” referring to Phrygian scale which differs from major and minor scales by beginning with a minor second between its first and second degrees. To summarize, the Neapolitan can be thought of in two ways. (Remember that in this case the superscript 6 is a bass figure indicating that a sixth appears above the lowest note. It does not indicate that the chord is in an inverted position.) Composers will occasionally expand this sort of tonicization by modulating to the key of the Neapolitan for extended passages. In the first, the fifth of a subdominant triad is replaced by its chromatic upper neighbor. In this case, the Neapolitan must be considered an embellished iv. If the Neapolitan is considered a derivation of iv, it is in fact the root (the bass) that is being doubled—the norm for root-position triads! Table of Standard Interval Progressions. Although the Neapolitan usually appears with scale degree [latex]\hat4[/latex] in the bass, other positions are possible. Your email address will not be published. In this chapter, we will examine the origins and structure of the Neapolitan chord. We will return to this topic momentarily in the section on tonicizing the Neapolitan. b [latex]\hat2[/latex] leaps down a diminished third to the leading tone. This is due in part to the remaining chord members having a strong tendency to move down: (b) [latex]\hat6[/latex] steps down to [latex]\hat5[/latex] and, as described above, b [latex]\hat2[/latex] leaps down a third to the leading tone. Instead of playing the ii6 or IV chord as written, try substituting the N6. The Neapolitan leads to a viio7/V in m. 32 and then a cadential 6/4 in m. 33 before getting to the dominant in m. 34. It then moves directly to a V chord in the following measure which in turn resolves to i at the end of the phrase. Neapolitan chords appear more frequently in minor keys, in part because they avoid the tritone between [latex]\hat2[/latex] and [latex]\hat6[/latex] in the iio chord. Suppose I am playing in F minor. This time, however, the Neapolitan has been replaced by iio 6. If the first half of m. 5 is regarded as V/N, then the Neapolitan in this case has loosened its ties to the original iv chord with 5–6 motion over the bass ( [latex]\hat4[/latex]). 7–13) includes a Neapolitan chord as an extension of iv through an auxiliary passing 6/4 chord: i–iv6–(i6/4)–N6–V–i. In what measure does the root-position dominant seventh arrive? These first-inversion Neapolitan chords are called Neapolitan sixth chords. 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. A major triad built on the lowered second degree of a scale. The chromatic alteration is striking in any context and is often used to heighten the dramatic tension of important passages. Teach Music. It is labeled N6. Neapolitan sixth chords usually function as predominants. Example 31–6 shows how Neapolitan chords can be derived this way in both major (a) and minor (b) keys: In both cases, the resultant chord consists of the same three tones. Notice how much more interesting the progression becomes by changing just one chord! On the second beat of m. 2, we see an E in the bass with G and C§ in the upper voice—a typical example of a Neapolitan chord. ): A good way to identify Neapolitan chords is to look for the expected chromatic alterations. When N6 moves to V7, the doubled note ( [latex]\hat4[/latex]) may be suspended in one of the upper voice: Problems arise when the notes of the Neapolitan do not move in contrary motion to the bass: In Example 31–14, the motion from b [latex]\hat2[/latex] to § [latex]\hat2[/latex] in the soprano line creates an awkward chromatic contour. 13–20 and mm. The structure of the minor scale makes this particularly convenient since the diatonic VI chord is equivalent to the dominant of the Neapolitan. Recall that the dominant chord is the major chord built on scale degree five of a major or minor scale. Example 31–10 and Example 31–17 show Neapolitan chords following VI. The Neapolitan chord (sometimes referred to as Phrygian II) is notated as a major triad built on b [latex]\hat2[/latex], but can be conceptualized in different ways. The same chords that are typically used to approach ii(o)6 are also used to approach the Neapolitan. Composers also tonicize it or modulate to that key. (The bass note has been changed too—from F to D—allowing for smooth passing motion between the i6 in m. 24 and the cadential 6/4 in m. The following example shows a Neapolitan derived from an altered ii chord (Example 31–7b provides a reduction of Example 31–7a): The ii6/5 chord in m. 366 leads to a Neapolitan in m. 368. It leads to the V7 chord in the very next measure, which makes it a predominant chord. in that it often resolves toward a dominant function. Here, an unprepared Neapolitan is used to begin a phrase following a half cadence. The Neapolitan chord first appears on the downbeat of m. 30. 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. The parallelism between these two measures shows the strong connection between iv6 and N6. Let’s look at the Neapolitan Chord in a progression. The more you know…. Note that in major keys, however, the Neapolitan requires two accidentals: b [latex]\hat2[/latex] (Db in this case) and b [latex]\hat6[/latex] (Ab). 21–28) are nearly identical. Do you see the F# octave in the bass line and the A, D natural, and F# in the right hand? A Neapolitan is a major triad built on the lowered second degree of a scale. The melodic resolution of b [latex]\hat2[/latex] occurs with the arrival of the leading tone over V, and the harmonic resolution occurs when that V resolves to I. All in all, the Neapolitan is generally used as an expressive device. The resultant sonority is a major triad: N6. The chord that comes right before the V or V7 chord. (Note that instead of N6, the chord is labeled N5/3 indicating the third and fifth that appear above the bass.) If you’re wondering where to find examples of the Neapolitan chord in action, take a look at this video of the first movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (this piece starts out very quietly, so you might want to turn up your volume): Look at the last half of the third measure. Now I need to build a major triad on top of Db, which would be Db, F, and Ab. In a major key, these are the lowered scale degrees [latex]\hat2[/latex] and [latex]\hat6[/latex]. In the second conception, the Neapolitan is derived by chromatically lowering the root of a diatonic iio chord. The following excerpt consists of two phrases, the second of which has a Neapolitan chord: The two phrases in Example 31–5 (mm. Though not rare in major keys, Neapolitan chords are more commonly encountered in minor. Other texts use the abbreviation bII6, since the chord can also be thought of as a major triad built on b [latex]\hat2[/latex]. The major quality of the Neapolitan differs dramatically from the diminished diatonic iio chord and provides an effective means of stabilizing it by eliminating the tritone between its root and fifth (minor scale degrees [latex]\hat2[/latex] and [latex]\hat6[/latex]).

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