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My harmony book has not covered this kind of progression and annoyingly, it appears in this figured bass which I am supposed to harmonize. I am stuck on this V chord that appears to become a V6/4 (or I64 as it is sometimes called) which then moves to a IV chord. Now I have been told, for the level on which I am, that from V the only place I am allowed to proceed is to a I chord. In the following chapter I learn about deceptive resolutions etc but for now I am supposedly supposed to only be able to go to another inversion of V or to resolve to I or I6. But to resolve to I6/4 has not yet been covered. Is this progression common in common practice harmony? I thought the I6/4 cam before the V and resolved to the V at a cadence. Here it seems to be evading a cadence by moving to IV.

  • 3
    Could you be more specific about where you think the 6/4 chord should be (e.g., measure and beat)? I don't see one anywhere in the excerpt shown.
    – Aaron
    Nov 17, 2021 at 12:20
  • Aaron On beat 4 of bar 1. Is this still supposed to be a V chord from beat 3? If so then how does it move to a iv chord?
    – user35708
    Nov 17, 2021 at 12:35
  • 1
    I see Beat 4 of Bar 1 as the same V (of B minor) chord as Beat 3 of Bar 1. I agree that this V chord moving to Beat 1 of Bar 2's iv chord looks suspect, and V-iv is one of the chord progressions forbidden by my Royal Conservatory of Music theory books.
    – Dekkadeci
    Nov 17, 2021 at 12:50
  • 1
    A skim of Aldwell & Schachter doesn't reveal a justification for this progression, but the IV(7) chord could perhaps be viewed as an expansion of the V chord. In playing through a realization of these measures, it certainly sounds fine to the ear. "Fine", meaning no obvious violations of basic common practice harmony rules or expectations.
    – Aaron
    Nov 17, 2021 at 12:55
  • 1
    Sure. For example, a V chord over an arpeggiated bass: V - V64 - V6
    – Aaron
    Nov 17, 2021 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


Why assume that you need to change to a 6/4 on beat 4 of the first bar? After all, inversions are clearly marked throughout the exercise. It's quite easy to move the root position V to root position iv in this case. And it happens to sound lovely! (In my view, it sounds even better moving directly to the 7th chord.) There's another clue that the author wants two beats of dominant harmony in the first bar: bar two also has two beats of dominant harmony with no inversion change.


The answer to the literal title question is "yes". A V6/4 could come after V when there is a V chord over a descending arpeggiated bass.

The answer to the intended title question is "sort of". By definition a cadential 6/4 chord comes at the cadence — i.e., before the V chord. So while a V6/4 chord could certainly come after a V chord, it would be a cadential 6/4 chord only if the following chord(s) comprise a cadence.

This issue is also addressed from a slightly different perspective in Can an expanded dominant precede a cadential 6/4 chord?.

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