What would that look like voice-leading-wise? I'm assuming more or less traditional common-practice harmony rules. Examples from the literature would be much appreciated.

1 Answer 1


My hunch is that, if a ♭II6 did resolve to vii°7, it would tend to resolve to one in second inversion (that is, vii°43). This way, the bass scale-degree 4 stays constant. This is one reason why ♭II6 resolving to V42 is so common.

I know of two examples in the literature where ♭II resolves to vii°7. First, and I think most in line with what you're looking for, is from the opening measures of Saint-Saëns' "Organ" Symphony. Here, the ♭II6 resolves to vii°65:

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Another example to consider is from Weber's Overture to Der Freischütz.

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There are a few things to notice here:

  1. The Neapolitan (mm. 4–5) is in second inversion (!).
  2. It resolves to a vii°7 chord in third inversion (m. 6).
  3. But most importantly, that vii°42 really just delays the appearance of V7 on the downbeat of the last measure. In other words, I view the A♭ in the next-to-last measure as a suspension from the ♭II64. As such, I hesitate to call that measure a vii°42; in my opinion, the final two measures are V7, we just have a long suspension in the bass.

More common, as you probably already know, is for the Neapolitan to resolve to an applied diminished-seventh chord of the dominant. As one example of many, consider this quick example from the last movement of Mahler 2:

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The Neapolitan is on the third beat of the first measure, and it moves through vii°7/V on beat 4.

  • Thanks for this excellent and well-documented answer! Nov 8, 2018 at 13:29
  • Where do you get your music examples from, if I may ask? Some sort of database? Nov 8, 2018 at 13:32
  • 3
    @KimFierens The database of a theory professor's brain :-)
    – Richard
    Nov 8, 2018 at 14:17
  • 1
    @KimFierens Oh, I see! I make these examples in a program called LilyPond, which I think is much faster (once you learn it) than Finale or Sibelius.
    – Richard
    Nov 8, 2018 at 15:18
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    @KimFierens Full disclosure: LilyPond has a pretty steep learning curve. I strongly recommend the video tutorials at youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHi8BvxILUV6x9FqEmZiYrEj6VMGmTKjt, which I used when I first learned.
    – Richard
    Nov 8, 2018 at 15:24

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