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I'm reading this book called "Tonal Harmony" and I'm not sure about the answer to the 15th question.

The notes in question 15 are A3, C5, A4 and D4, which is D Mm7 chord, (D F# A C), with A3, the fifth in the bass.

A seventh chord with the fifth in the bass would be second inversion right? which is 4 3

But the answer the textbook has near the end says it's 6 5, which is first inversion. Am I missing something here?

  • 1
    As it stands, there is no M3 (F#), so there shouldn't be any mention of major in the answer.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 6:01
  • 1
    @Tim As noted in the answer, the lack of F# is a misprint, but even if it weren’t a misprint, it’s completely reasonable to say that a D dominant seventh chord is clearly implied by the context. It’s crucial to be able to hear beyond the immediate surface details. Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 13:50
  • 1
    @PatMuchmore - I hear you, but at the lower level that this is aimed at, I don't think a student should, or would, be able to say. Had the 16th question been a G 'arpeggio' - and it most likely is, then yes, that could be construed as dom.7th. but it just isn't, without that M3. And that sort of question doesn't expect a student at that level to 'think outside the bar'... With the inclusion of that missing F#, all is well - the student has all the information needed - at that level.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 14:02

2 Answers 2


The "root" of the problem (so to speak) is that the exercise transcribed the piece incorrectly. The A (edit: in the bass) should actually be an F#. See this score on iMSLP, page 6, the measure before the "im tempo" on line 5.

So @phoog is correct. As given, the figure should be 4-3; but as composed, it would be 6-5.

  • Yes. The A in the bass should be F#. The A in the right hand is correct.
    – Rosie F
    Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 6:31
  • @RosieF Thanks. A necessary clarification. Answer updated.
    – Aaron
    Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 6:36
  • I was wondering about that, but didn't have time to check. The absence of an F♯ did seem odd. I should have mentioned the possibility in my answer.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 14:42

You are correct. The 6 5 figure would apply if the bass note were F♯, but since it's A, the figure should be 4 3.

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