From Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto 1st movement 2nd subject:

I've been trying to understand what's going on structurally in this passage but I'm having trouble figuring out what's going on. In the picture I've presented my chord analysis. In particular I don't understand what he's doing in the red section of the image. What I'm thinking is he's just treating D as borrowed "extension" of I(63) and then walking down to ii and then slowly back to V? Can anyone help me understand what's going on here?

enter image description here


I analyze this, broadly, as

I | V/ii | ii | V

In more detail:

m1: I          I[6-4]           I(over CPT)   ii∅[4-3]/(V/ii)(from G minor)

m2: V/(V/ii)   c.t.○(over PT)   V[6-5]/ii     V7/ii

m3: ii         V7/(V/ii)         ii[6-5]       V/V

m4: c.t.○7     V                ii[4-3]       V[6-5]

CPT = chromatic passing tone
c.t.○ = "common-tone diminished chord": see: A chord progression from Leavitt: how to analyze it correctly

  • Please could you explain such notation as V/ii? (I see e.g. G/B as meaning a chord of G with B in the bass, but you seem to be using / in some other way.)
    – Rosie F
    Nov 20 '20 at 7:04
  • V/ii means the V chord in the ii key - so a secondary dominant leading to (a very temporary) c minor Nov 20 '20 at 7:12
  • @RosieF In addition to Alexander Woo's comment, you can read about "secondary dominants" in What is a secondary dominant chord?
    – Aaron
    Nov 20 '20 at 8:04
  • @AlexanderWoo Thanks -- I know what secondary dominants are, but am used to the notation "V of ii" (and iv of vi etc.; the chord needn't be the temp key's V).
    – Rosie F
    Nov 20 '20 at 9:56

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