It should be clear but in case anyone objects with confusion over stylistic conventions: My question relates to tonal harmony and voice leading as is taught in the majority of the western worlds syllabus.

We are taught that a 7th should resolve down by step. When a 7th chord is inverted, the dissonant 7th is also usually resolved down by step. When a 65 chord is arepeggiated however, all the intervals become linear against the bass so, in the case of a ii65 chord, all the notes become consonant against the bass and the dissonant 7th - which is the 5th above the bass and is supposed to resolve downward by step - may no longer be heard as a dissonance. Does my reasoning hold then that if a 65 chord is arpeggiated you lose the essential nature of the chord and its need for resolution in the following chord? Of course, a V7 in first inversion has a diminished 5th as the 7th so it definitely still pulls down to ^3 but in the case of a ii65 as below, I can't really hear ^1 as a tendendy tone anymore after arepggiation of this chord. Since it comes at the end of the arpeggiation whatever identification on the part of the listener as identifying the D as belonging to a ii65 is considereably weakened. This could be that I am listening on a piano which has less sustain however.

Here is an example of an arpeggiated ii65 chord in C major. you will notice I put the "dissonant tone" at the end to lead into the V chord as is correct in the resolution of the ii65 chord in tonal harmony. enter image description here

  • Note that this chord can also be read as a chord with added 6th, in this case on the IV. This chord we also call sixte ajoutée.
    – Lazy
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 18:41
  • Are you asking whether you could replace the B3 with a D4? The answer is no, but there's no need to get into tendency tone analysis to reach that conclusion.
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


Generally, (at least in Goetschiu's "Exercises in Melody Writing"), all "good" chords can be arpeggiated. His definition of "good" chords includes I, V, V7, V9, IV, ii, ii7, II, and II7, (and by implication, secondary dominants but he implies this indirectly by "local tonics" or whatever was prevalent jargon at the time.) He does point out that arpeggiation allows all inversions. Minor chords follow the same "rules" including i, iv, v, V, V7, V9, ii0, ii07, ii, ii7, II, II7, etc.

One point he makes is that arpeggiating a V9 in minor keys does allow for a melody with an augmented second (steps 6 to #7).

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