Suggested Learning Resources


2) Video Lesson: 6/4 Chords Donoald Sloan Channel

Bonus Video: 6/4 Chords Dr. Gawboy Vimeo Channel

3) Online Reading: 6/4 Chords

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 passing 6/4 usually takes place as a chord in-between a root position chord moving to its first inversion (example  I – V6/4 – I6 )

-          The Passing 6/4 chord can also appear in the above progression in reverse (example I6 – V6/4 – I)

-          In terms of harmonic function, this type of 6/4 chord prolongs, or expands, the functional area of the chord that precedes it.


-          Identify a chord in second inversion

-          Look at the chords that precede and follow the chord

-          If the chords that precede and follows the 6/4 are the same Roman Numeral quality, and one is in root position while the other is in first inversion, you may have a passing 6/4 chord in-between them.

-          The 6/4 will be a different Roman Numeral label than the preceding and following chords

-          There is likely a voice exchange between two voices over the duration of the three chords

-          (Example IV – I6/4 – IV6)

-          Note: a passing 6/4 can also connect two different chords as long as those two chords serve the same function (Example IV6 – I6/4 – ii6)

Objective 19.4: Examples in Music: YouTube

Objective 19.4: Define and label the Passing 6/4 in music exercises, and identify in real music examples