The basic N6 description is that it leads to the dominant chord, but this doesn't fully explain its use in cadences.

A survey of my harmony texts - Piston, Seigmeister, and Kostka - show N6 going to dominant harmony as part of a perfect cadence. Or, the examples are too short to show how the phrases end cadence-wise.

I am mostly concerned with Baroque and Classical styles. Also, I'm not concerned with N6 in modulation or other non-cadence aspects.

Theoretically I suppose N6 could be used as part of a half-cadence, but I'm interested in its actual occurrence in scores. I lack the deep knowledge of the literature.


Interesting question; it's definitely less common! In my experience, the most common half cadences that use a Neapolitan have an intervening applied chord to the dominant, like in this example from Schubert's "Der Müller und der Bach" from his Die schöne Müllerin:

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I'm not sure if this "counts" for what you're looking for, but I thought I'd share it. And this might violate your Baroque/Classical stipulation, but 1823 isn't too late, right? :-)

  • Perfect! It has both simple PAC (4,5,1) and half (4,#4,5) cadences. The half cadence fits perfectly with Gjerdingen's 'converging cadence' it just has a Neapolitan/phrygian inflection. Thanks. – Michael Curtis Nov 12 '18 at 18:07

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