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This post is in reference to David Neumeyer's The Music of Paul Hindemith.

Please refer to the third chord of m.1 in example 3.12 (below). I see this chord spelled as C E E Bb. Having said that, I doubt myself because I see an Eb note in the first chord here, and I am not sure what that means for the E note we are looking at here. Adding to my doubt, we have the fact that the harmonic symbol that corresponds to this chord is a "VI" with an upward sloping line crossing through the I. We know from ex. 3.4 that this corresponds with the 6th scale degree, which would be a C note in Eb.

Neumeyer says,

Note that the 'VI-with-upward-sloping-line-through-'I'', despite its duration, becomes the weakest link in the harmony because its correct root lies high and contradicts the stereotype of the minor-minor seventh chord.

I would like to know why this is being called a minor-minor seventh chord (wouldn't this be the root, m3, 5, and m7: C Eb G b?), but that is not even my main concern: The lowest tone in this voicing is the root of the chord, the C note, so what is this about how "[the chord's] correct root lies high"

Neumeyer Example 3.12

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I see this chord spelled as C E E Bb. Having said that, I doubt myself because I see an Eb note in the first chord here, and I am not sure what that means for the E note we are looking at here.

The notation follows the standard convention that accidentals carry through the measure. Thus, the chord is C E♭ E♭ B♭. See also Understanding alternate key signature in Neumeyer's Hindemith analysis.

Adding to my doubt, we have the fact that the harmonic symbol that corresponds to this chord is a "VI" with an upward sloping line crossing through the I.

The VI-with-upward-slash means that the root of the chord is the "naturally occurring" sixth degree of the major scale. A downward slash means that the root comes from the minor scale (i.e., a flat 6 or its enharmonic equivalent). This is explained in Example 3.4

Neumeyer Example 3.4

I would like to know why this is being called a minor-minor seventh chord

A minor-minor seventh chord, also called just "minor seventh" chord, is spelled m3 M3 m3. Thus, with root on C, the (complete) chord is spelled C E♭ G B♭. Here, however, the fifth is missing from the chord, which is a common alteration. See E7 chord at 5th fret missing a B note.

The lowest tone in this voicing is the root of the chord, the C note, so what is this about how "[the chord's] correct root lies high"

The asterisk next to the chord symbol in Example 3.12 indicates a chord with a root other than what is apparent. Note the specific mention of minor-minor seventh chords.

A chord with a root other than that of the best interval (for example, certain presentations of the major-minor or minor-minor seventh chords). (p. 54. See also image below.)

Neumeyer p. 54, explaining asterisk attached to Roman numeral

Unfortunately, Neumeyer's specific meaning is unclear from based on the material provided. He seems to mean that while the chord presents as a VI chord, the "real" root of the chord is not C, but it's not clear what he believes the "real" root is.

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    I suspect the "correct" root, in Neumeyer's mind, for the third chord of measure 1 is actually E♭. Reasons include a possible sense of persistence of the lowest note of the first chord; and maybe more strongly, the V-I relationship this "real" root would create with the following chord. Apr 22 at 20:25
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    @ToddWilcox That explanation makes a lot of sense, and is further supported by the doubled E-flat that is persistent through the entire measure and into the next.
    – Aaron
    Apr 22 at 20:28
  • "The VI-with-upward-slash means that the root of the chord is the "naturally occurring" sixth degree of the major scale. A downward slash means that the root comes from the minor scale (i.e., a flat 6 or its enharmonic equivalent). This is explained in Example 3.4" Is this explained? There was no mention of "naturally occurring" or "the root comes from the minor scale" that I recall. Confusion regarding the symbols is the exact reason i've had difficulty with this book. Thank you for your thorough answer!!
    – 286642
    Apr 23 at 2:17
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    @286642 "explained" was probably a poor word to choose; "illustrated" might be better. Perhaps it would be more clear to say "note that the VI-with-downward-slash is positioned at the 8th semitone in the diagram, and the VI-with-upward-slash is positioned at the 9th."
    – Aaron
    Apr 23 at 5:17

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