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Hi guys! Just wondering if I've done this properly.

We are newly in Csharp minor from the relative major E major, and we need to finish in the home key- F sharp minor. As it stands, I have written the ending as a half cadence in F sharp minor.

The bar begins in C sharp minor, with chord i7, then to chord iv, then to chord i in second inversion (my pivot chord to Fsharp minor), followed by the same chord with a flat 7, which is how I end the piece (V7 in F sharp minor).

I am not sure this makes sense? I am not sure I am using second inversion chords in the right way. I tried to substitute the second one (labelled 643) with a chord Va (in C sharp minor) to have as my pivot, however this would contain a D sharp and a B sharp- both of which are not in F sharp minor.

Any help gratefully received as usual!



2 Answers 2


I pretty much agree with the analysis in Peter's answer. Just to add a further hint, here -- first, this looks like two-voice counterpoint in a pseudo-baroque style. Am I correct?

In that case (or if you're writing something like that), I'd encourage you to not necessarily think about "pivot chords" to accomplish the strongest modulation. Rather, think of the local tritone in the key you're trying to get to, and set that up on a strong beat, and then resolve it. Thus, if you're trying to move toward F♯ minor, you'll need to have the E♯-B tritone to resolve to F♯-A somewhere. Either voice can be in the top or bottom, but that's something to aim for. Try to have the voices move smoothly into that tritone, and then the motion toward the new key will likely feel natural. After that, work toward a cadence in the new key (like the strong cadence in C♯ minor you've written in the question).

There are other ways to modulate in two-voice counterpoint (notably sequences, where you may gradually introduce the accidentals of the new key). But I think you'll get closer to a strong baroque-style modulation by focusing on "active interval" resolution in the new key -- usually the tritone of the V7 -- rather than worrying too much about common/pivot chords.

  • thanks! my latest analysis (starting from the cadential 64): Csharp (i64)-Gsharp7 (Va)-Csharp7 (down a fifth), Fsharpm (first inversion), Gsharphalf dim (ii in F sharp m). This supports your idea of the local tritone resolving to the first chord of the new key. The only snag is, the chord after the resolution of the tritone is a ii half dim- then we are out of room, so i have not had the opportunity to cement the new tonality with a cadence in the new key. this is from a figured bass exercise book, so maybe finishing on a cadence isnt important? although this is definitely strange!
    – EdB123
    Aug 29, 2020 at 11:30

The middle of the bar is in C sharp minor, and the modulation into it looks good. The 643 chord should be 53 (blank) or 753 (7) - it is a G sharp chord (or possibly dominant 7th) in root position, as it should be.

The third-last note in the LH may have moved the C sharp minor to an A major chord (not key yet) and the rest looks like it is leading into A major or F sharp minor. You haven't established the key though and I can easily think of continuations that go into other keys instead.

  • Hi there, thanks for your help! Taken your advice on the cadential 6/4. regarding the A in the left hand, i had that down as a passing note as I thought the whole thing was V7 (in fsharp minor) after the cadential 6/4, but looking at it again this cannot be the case down to the leap at the very end of the top part between the B natural and the D. So, this is my new analysis (starting from the cadential 6/4). Csharp (i64)-Gsharp7 (Va)-Csharp7 (down a fifth), Fsharpm (first inversion), Gsharphalf dim (ii in F sharp m). Would like to hear your thoughts if possible! Thanks, Ed
    – EdB123
    Aug 27, 2020 at 17:42
  • Yes, I agree. My only concern now is that you described the ending as a half-cadence (which I learned as an imperfect cadence), and I don't think the end of this bar is a cadence of any sort. Probably I misunderstood. Btw if you are keeping 2 parts, you have some opportunities arising from the ambiguity between C sharp major and minor, then F sharp minor or A, and so on. Your bar reminded me of the Gigue from Bach's 5th French Suite, which has some nice 2 part sections as well as 3 part bits.
    – Peter
    Aug 28, 2020 at 10:58
  • Hi Peter. yes, The half cadence suggestion was as a result of my initial analysis, and the most recent analysis does not involve any sort of cadence. I cannot really see how any cadence would fit here, I don't know if you have any suggestions?? thanks!
    – EdB123
    Aug 28, 2020 at 14:03

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