# How to use figured bass over a stationary bass note

I am studying figured bass, and as a test I wanted to try and add figured bass symbols to the following passage marked with the pink arrow. I got stuck right at the beginning, because I am not sure what chord that is or how to number it.

The book I have says to first convert the chord into a close position triad, keeping the bass note the same, but I am not sure what triad DGE is. I assume it is part of a bigger triad but not sure. Maybe Em7 4/2? For the word "show" I get a G6/4 chord and for the word "you" I get a D 5/3 chord. Then the word "The" seems to be a D5 chord so question 2 is? how would this D5 be notated in figured bass?

In terms of literal chords, your analysis is fine, except for the D5 chord, which should be Dsus4(omit 5) or something like that.

However, it misses the purpose of figured bass, which is to specify the intervals above the lowest voice. Figured bass does not attempt to identify chords, nor does it indicate the chord voicing, aside from specifying the lowest pitch (which would be notated explicitly).

For the measure in question, the figured bass would look like this:

```I can show you the
5  4   6    5   8
3  2   4    3   4
```

And the 5-3 would typically be omitted as that figure is assumed if no other figure is given.

Roman Numeral Analysis includes figures but is distinct from figured bass. RNA is an analytical tool for understanding harmony, but, unlike chord symbols, it isn't intended as a literal description.

An RNA in this case might look like

```I can show you the
---4
I  --DN--   I
```

where DN = Double Neighbor

• Thanks Aaron, is 8/4 the usual way to write chords with just a root and 5th?
– user35708
May 22, 2021 at 8:51
• @armani There is no chord with just root and fifth. May 22, 2021 at 8:53
• @Aaron - there are thousands of guitarists who would really argue with your last comment..! But I agree.
– Tim
May 22, 2021 at 9:04
• @Aaron, so what is 8/4?
– user35708
May 22, 2021 at 9:06
• @Aaron: You said "There is no chord with just a root and a fifth". Then you said: "It (8/4) refers to a chord with with an octave and a fourth above the bass" Can you explain please?
– user35708
May 22, 2021 at 9:35