Dimitri Tymoczko has a very nice overview of fauxbourdon harmony in this syllabus. While he gives several example for fauxbourdon in major, he doesn't give examples for minor. I don't know of any examples.

Can anyone cite some examples of fauxbourdon in minor - especially from the time period of Haydn/Mozart?

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    – user28
    Feb 11 '16 at 22:58

I contacted Dr. Tymoczko and asked for an example. His response was Mozart, piano sonata K310 in A minor, 3rd movement, starting at m.211.

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First - you should be aware that Tymoczko's usage here is not standard. The term fauxbourdon is usually only used to refer to the late Medieval/early Renaissance technique of almost pervasively harmonizing in this manner. This is all before tonal harmony, and fauxbourdon can be employed in any mode, though care needs to be taken to use B-flat or B as necessary (or musica ficta in the earliest appearances) to avoid tritones. That said, I could guess correctly what he meant before reading the link.

The example that comes to my mind - a little later than what you're looking for - is the minor variation in the 2nd movement of Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata. It begins with parallel 1st inversion triads as 16th notes over a C pedal. This first looks like a series of passing tones over a V7 chord, but in measure 4 we get a #iiidim65 - iv6 progression, followed by i6 - flatii6 - V7 - i in measures 5-8. The last four measures have a completely different harmonization in all the major variations.

  • Gjerdingen uses the term fauxbourdon in his book Music in the Galant Style. Why do you say it is not standard use if two published music scholars use the term for styles other than medieval/Renaissance? Regardless, thanks for the Beethoven example. I will look at it tonight. Feb 3 '16 at 22:19
  • Maybe "not widespread" is a better rephrasing? Feb 4 '16 at 2:33
  • Two published scholars does not a standard usage make. Faux bourdon was a form of polyphony that used primarily parallel fourths and sixths beneath the cantus, but it should be noted that the bass was quite a bit freer than just sixths dropped down from the cantus. It derives from the English practice of faburden, which set a tenor cantus with a very similar texture. It should be noted that early Tudor English organists used faburden to describe a bass punctus that was derived by faburden rules, again more than just sixths dropped beneath the (unstated) cantus. (more)
    – user16935
    Feb 6 '16 at 0:28
  • If you look at Dufay's Ave maris stella, you'll note that the bass tends to use fifths by contrary motion as well as parallel sixths while the tenor runs in parallel fourths with the cantus, and Dufay specifically marks the tenor as "faux bourdon". (Dufay is the first composer we know of to use the term to describe his methods.) The important thing to note is that the perfectly consonant chord in music that uses faux bourdon or faburden is the octave-and-fifth sonority, and it is not just used at cadences. (more)
    – user16935
    Feb 6 '16 at 0:28
  • Now note how parallel first inversions tend to be used in functional tonality: primarily as approaches to strong progressions, or as harmonic sequences (as in Michael's prof's example) which function as extended approaches to strong progressions.
    – user16935
    Feb 6 '16 at 0:29

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