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In minor - with the raised ^6 and ^7 degrees - we can get a progression like...

F7   G7  | Cm
IV65 V65 | i

or maybe this...

F7  G7  | Cm
IV7 V42 | i6

or...

F7  bo   | Cm
IV7 viio | i

My view of this is the essential voice leading is something like...

 ^4  ^4 | ^3
↑^6 ↑^7 | ^1

...with the ^3 of ^3 ^2 | ^1 in the inner voices making a nice dominant seventh sonority on the subdominant but not actually functioning as a dominant (it doesn't go to Bb).

It wouldn't be right to label it V7/VII.

What about its historical use? Did it get special treatment? Like only the result of passing motion or altogether avoided.

  • Did you mean to have ^3 ^2 | ^1 in your soprano line showing the essential voice leading? – Richard Jan 4 at 20:11
  • I think I see the confusion ^3 ^2 ^1 isn't a proper voice, it would cross parts – Michael Curtis Jan 4 at 20:40
  • I tried to fix my chord figures and deleted one of the examples - it wasn't what I meant – Michael Curtis Jan 4 at 20:43
  • In my experience (generally with earlier music, so maybe not that applicable) the raised sixth degree is usually a passing phenomenon, frequently in the context of a V7 chord. The subdominant harmony is usually iv, not IV, and any passage work in that context will use the lowered sixth degree. – phoog Jan 4 at 20:57
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My sense is that this progression is much more common in major, but it does happen in minor.

Here's one example, starting at the pickup to the third measure of Bach's "Als vierzig Tag' nach Ostern war'n."

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And here's another, this one near the start of the "Behold, and see" portion of Handel's Messiah (the recording is a half-step below pitch):

enter image description here

In all of the examples that I can think of, this pattern is used to expand tonic, and as such it just serves a contrapuntal function. You're certainly correct that it shouldn't be labeled as V7/VII if it doesn't resolve that way!

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