Is this figure correct?

enter image description here

That images comes from this page http://www.teoria.com/en/reference/b/baroque7.php.

I thought the +6 should mean a sixth raised from the key signature. In this case should the notation have a sharp on the B or the 6 figure should not have a +?

My general understanding is that + / ♯ ♭ ♮ when added to figures should mean the interval is altered from the key signature i.e. there should be an accidental in a notated realization. Right?

This is the reference I've been using for a while...


Based on the Kelley guide, the toeria.com example seems wrong.

  • Where is the half-dim 7 example from? I don’t see it in your link. Without context, it looks like nonsense, because your interpretation of the symbols is correct, but the notes written above the figures don’t match them. In the C M/a m key indicated, the b chord is naturally a half-diminished seventh, and no extras should be added to the numbers in the figures. Dec 10, 2018 at 4:53
  • 1
    @PatMuchmore, I updated my question to show I'm comparing two different sources. I think the Kelley sources is correct and I want to know if I understand how to correct use the figured bass symbols. Dec 10, 2018 at 14:52

2 Answers 2


You're correct; what I've seen of the Kelley guide looks accurate, and this teoria example doesn't align with anything I've seen.

It's especially obvious that the teoria version is inaccurate because it's inconsistent. In the first measure, the figure suggests that the F is somehow lowered (from what remains unclear). Yet, in the second and fourth measures, that F is not altered in the figures. Such inconsistencies obviously weaken a theoretical system. (Similar inconsistencies are shown in their other examples.)

teoria says that "some schools" use this latter system, but I'd really suggest you stay away from that other system. (And I'll say again: I've never heard of a school that uses this system.) There is a standard figured-bass system cultivated over centuries, and using a slightly adjusted and inconsistent modification of that system will only lead to confusion.


I don't really have an answer, but since no one answered this yet, I will just add some (maybe helpful) thoughts.

By looking at you reference, the use of + comes before or after the number, always indicating that the expected note should be raised by a half step. This notation doesn't apply here, since, as you said, there are no accidentals.

By reverse engineering, my only hypothesis is that it's just a weird way of marking where the tonic of the original chord is after the inversion. In the 2nd, 3rd and 4th chords, the tonic B is in the 6th, 4th and 2nd, respectively, thus the "+" sign before these numbers.

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