4.4 The pre-dominant, ii6

"The Beautiful Blue Danube Waltz" by Johann Strauss, named after the river flowing through Vienna.

Johann Strauss, in his "Beautiful Blue Danube Waltz," inserted a first inversion ii before the dominant seventh at the end of the above phrase. This ii6 triad may well be the most common of the three pre-dominants presented in this chapter. The unusual leap of a seventh in the bass from G down to A is for dramatic effect, suddenly increasing the range of notes as the right hand rises in contrary motion to an appoggiatura.

The video below shows a phrase in four voices with ii6 as a pre-dominant. This phrase will be analyzed using a process which is the reverse of harmonic expansion. Instead of beginning with a short phrase and lengthening it by inserting notes, the video begins with a relatively long phrase from which notes will be deleted. This process is called harmonic reduction.
At 0:00 the full phrase is played (Level 1 or foreground). The bass features stepwise movement (D, E-flat, F) made possible by the chord inversions, followed by an octave leap on the dominant. Compare this common bass line to others on the page.

From 0:10 to 0:28 a neighbor tone, two passing tones and the octave leap are removed (Level 2). Removing these notes clarifies the standard voice leading and doublings when moving from ii6 to V: Double the third of ii6 (the bass, which in this case is E-flat) and move Contrary Motion Nearest (CMN) to V. Do not keep the common tone; Common Tone Stepwise results in parallel octaves and, in minor, in an augmented second which is uncharacteristic of this style of music. Play the example below in which a second playback isolates the tenor with its augmented second.
At this point in the reduction also notice that I6 does not participate in voice exchange as has been the case in earlier pages when moving from root position to first inversion. Voice exchange is not mandatory in these cases and the I6, with two thirds and one root on a weak beat, is not offensive.

From 0:28 to 0:42 the bass note D is removed leaving only the root position tonic chord before hearing ii6 (Level 3). The smoothest voice leading between I and ii6 is Contrary Motion Nearest, as it was before the removal of the D, and as it was on page 4.2 between I and ii.

The bracket under I and ii6, combining them as an expansion of I, is a result of western music's basic distinction between tonic and dominant--recall the fundamental harmonic progression, I - V - I. On previous pages pre-dominants have been labeled PD and have not been included with the initial tonic. However I and V in deep levels of analysis are two poles whose effects are more prominent than any other progression. Therefore when moving to deep levels, it is appropriate to combine pre-dominants with the initial tonic.

From 0:42 to 1:04 the pre-dominant ii6 is removed leaving only the chords I, V and I (Level 4). Though the soprano melody with scale degrees 3, 7, 1 has not yet been encountered in fundamental harmonic progressions, this reduction is perfectly musical, containing a soprano which leaps down followed by step in the opposite direction and ending with the leading tone resolving to tonic.

At 1:04 the phrase is reduced to two tonic triads whose soprano notes fall by third (Level 5). The primordial tonic would be one level deeper still, with the consonant skip removed and only one tonic triad remaining.

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