# Sharp Fourth Scale Degree in the Goldberg Variation “Aria”

My question relates to the C# in the 3rd measure.

I understand that the section eventually modulates to D major which contains that C#, but that does not seem to happen until the 9th measure. What would be the customary harmonic analysis of the 3 measure?

• V/V, as bar 4 is V, so bar 3 prepares for it with a dominant of that dominant. – Tim Jul 3 '17 at 11:23
• @Tim there's no A in that measure. It's vii/V (in first inversion, of course). – phoog Jul 3 '17 at 12:31
• @phoog - doesn't playing the mordent introduce an A into the equation? The feel of bar 3 is A dominant 7. – Tim Jul 3 '17 at 12:38
• @Tim true, I overlooked the ornament. Still feels like a vii to me. – phoog Jul 3 '17 at 12:44
• Also, even if there were no A in the measure, the chord C#/E/G still functions as a five of five. – Scott Wallace Jul 3 '17 at 12:55

Measure 4 is clearly a V chord (D), and that C♯ clearly suggests a tonicization of that V chord. When we stack that chord in m. 3 in thirds, we get `C♯–E–G`, which is a vii° triad (the ° means diminished) in the key of D. With the E in the bass it's in first inversion, so this chord is best called a vii°6/V (read "seven-diminished six of five"), which is a very common occurrence in step-descent basses like this one.
And as some of the comments above discuss, if one wishes to include the A in the chord, we're left with `A–C♯–E–G`, which is a V7 chord in D, but now in second inversion. If you include the A, the chord is then best labeled V43/V.