This is the eighth bar of fugue no. 9 in Ariadne Musica by Fischer...

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...transposed to C# minor.

In terms of figures the two tones above the bass are a third which is raised and a diatonic sixth, so I labeled it like this...

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Is that the correct way to write it in figured bass?

In terms of roots, the chord is an inverted III+, but the dominant bass harmonized with a raised leading tone is obviously dominant harmony. If I take a queue for the older style of labeling a cadential six four chord as V6/4 rather that I6/4, where that reads as, rather than root, but bass scale degree V, with 6/4 above, I could label the chord like this...

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...scale degree V in bass with # (raised third) and diatonic sixth above.

I like that provided the figured bass is good. Does that label seem wrong or confusing?

Just to complete the picture, I also made these examples...

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...other ways to notate and label the chord, but not specifically what is in the Fischer fugue.

Detail from the Fischer fugue...


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  • Your title regards figured bass, but your question seems more about RNA. Since it's two distinct subjects, some clarification would help.
    – Aaron
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 18:59
  • Where does the soprano E ultimately go? Does it resolve to D# as a part of the V chord?
    – Richard
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 19:32
  • 1
    @Richard, the soprano E is held into the C#m chord. I added the original to my post. Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 20:45
  • @Aaron, just skip the stuff about chord roots, etc. My question really is just if you have the dominant in the bass, in minor, and you wanted to harmonizing voices in the Fischer notation, what figure would go on that bass. Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 20:48
  • FWIW, Ariadne Musica is supposed to be one of the precursors to Bach's WTC. Preludes and fugues systematically order through the keys. Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


For figured bass, the 6# figure is correct. Figured bass doesn't concern itself with chord roots, just intervals above the lowest pitch.

In functional terms, the harmony is V, with the 6 being a non-chord-tone anticipation of the third in the chord of resolution. It would still be noted as V6#. To help differentiate it from a first-inversion V chord, connecting lines could be added to show how the tones correspond to the following chord.

6 ——— 3

As a side note, cadential 64 chord are often labeled C64 to avoid the ambiguity of calling them I64 or V64.

  • Thanks Aaron, in fact I labeled it just that 'anticipation' in my copy of the score! Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 21:07

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