Suggested Learning Resources


2) Video Lesson: Cadential Six Four Chords, Jennifer Hodil Channel

Bonus Video 1 6/4 Chords Donoald Sloan Channel

Bonus Video 2 Cadential 6/4 Dr. Gawboy Vimeo channel

3) Online Reading: The Cadential 6/4 Dr. Rubin

4) Interactive Lesson: 

Music Theory QuickThink: 

-          Root position and first inversion chords are thought of as relatively stable, and often exhibit the harmonic function that their Roman numeral indicates.  However, second inversion (6/4) chords are relatively unstable in terms of function, and usually function as embellishing other chords around them.  There are several categories of 6/4 chord embellishments.

-         The cadential 6/4 is a type of second inversion chord occurring at a cadence usually followed by a I chord (that ends the phrase)

-          The cadential 6/4 can also end the phrase itself resulting in a half-cadence

-          What is labeled the ‘cadential 6/4’ is actually the combination of two chords: second inversion tonic ( I 6/4 ) followed by root position dominant ( V 5/3 )

-          Although the literal notes involved of a cadential 6/4 are  I 6/4 going to V 5/3 , the ear does not really hear the I 6/4 as a tonic harmony (rather it hears both chords as one dominant functioning harmony), thus many theory texts will label a cadential 6/4 as     V 6/4 – 5/3   (see learning resources for better graphic representation)

-          The first chord of the cadential 6/4 should have the bass note doubled (otherwise voice-leading problems will occur)

-          Note – The second chord within a cadential 6/4 can involve the chordal 7th.   When this occurs the cadential 6-4 is usually written as  V 8/6/4 – 7/5/3

-          In terms of function, this type of 6/4 event usually has a dominant function


-          Identify a I chord in second inversion

-          See if the following chord is a root position V chord with the approaches to third, fifth, (and sometimes 7th) all descending by step

-          Usually the chord that precedes a cadential 6/4 has a predominant function (usually a supertonic chord or a subdominant chord)

Objective 19.1: Examples in Music: YouTube

Objective 19.1: Define and label the Cadential 6/4 in music exercises, and identify in real music examples