I am working on my homework and encountered this that I cannot understand and the teacher did not talk about this. What does the 3/3 mean?enter image description here

1 Answer 1


Typically, a root-position triad has nothing in the figured bass; if the text is really specific, it will provide "5 3" as the figures. But in this case, they've taken it one step further: they clarify that two pitches will be a third above the bass.

This is because of the voice leading from the prior chord. Since the prior chord is a V65, that means that the chordal seventh, D♭, will need to resolve down by step to C. And since the soprano moves from B♭ up to C, this means that two separates voices will be on C, and thus the uncommon "3 3" figured bass.

Nevertheless, this is still a root-position triad, so there is also an implied "5" in these figures. In other words, in addition to the two thirds (C) above the bass, there will also be a fifth (E♭).

  • 2
    Yes, this is definitely in root position. If it were first inversion, there would some kind of 6 mentioned somewhere in the figures for this chord.
    – Richard
    Feb 26, 2020 at 3:30

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