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Thread: Augmented 6th Chords, What Key they are in.

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2016

    Augmented 6th Chords, What Key they are in.

    I am certainly missing something here everyone.

    An Augmented 6th eg the Italian is, I understand made up of the notes A flat, C and F sharp in the Key of C.

    I cannot work out what on Earth the Key of C has to do with it. In other words why is this in the key of C?

    Regards to all and do not laugh at me if it turns out to be simple.


  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Hi there

    This explanation will hopefully help: http://www.tonalcentre.org/Discords.html

    It's a part of common practice functional harmony to include chromatic alterations such as this (which is very often just a case of borrowing a tone from C minor for C major or vice-versa) to embellish the harmony and provide different resolutions.

    Last edited by Tom R; 05-15-2017 at 05:06 AM.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Its a good website, Many thanks Tom.

  4. #4
    tom it is nice

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Dallas Texas
    A quick way to look at these from a classical POV (rather than jazz) is that the augmented sixth chords a pre-dominant chord with the augmented sixth expanding out to an octave. A common use of this pattern is that the target chord is a dominant in come key. Note that the pattern is Ab-C-F# expands to G-B-D-G; the Ab-F# expands outward and the C moves to both B and D; the triton C-F# resolves along with the augmented sixth. In some sense, this is a "contrapuntal chord" and belongs to the chord of resolution rather than a key. Classical composers do use augmented sixths to set up temporary dominants or to change keys. They can also be used on the flattened second to move to the tonic (in which they are related to the jazz tritone substitution).

    These chords (particular the German Sixth) move to a "tonic" 6-4 chord before going to the dominant (thus avoiding parallel fifths) Ab-C-Eb-F# (which looks like an Ab dominant seventh but resolves differently) goes to G-C-E-G (or G-C-Eb-G in minor) thence to G-B-D-F (so the C64 decorates the descent). Again this analysis is contrapuntal rather than strictly harmonic.

    The French sixth is Ab-C-D-F# which has two tritons that resolve simultaneously to a C64 then to a G chord. Again this chord can act like an Ab7b5 (A flat seventh flat five) and go to G.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Thank you ttw, you have made a few points, new to me.

    Kind regards


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