Schubert’s Strange Path Home

Schubert’s Impromptu D.935, Op. posth. 142 – No. 2 is one of my favorite piano pieces. It has many delights, but what really caught my ear was the bombastic double forte section (m. 17-30 at 1:06). It takes us into the IV key and uses a clever trick to modulate back so that I barely noticed when we arrived back home.

Below are lead sheet-style chords under their functions, with simple inversion notation. I’ve transposed from Ab to G to get rid of the double-flats (I’m terrible playing/thinking in Ab). Continue reading  

Bury figured bass

Figured bass notation is already long dead, but musicians carry its corpse around to show off that they squandered valuable moments of their lives learning it. It also creates needless ambiguity. Is I7 a dominant seventh? Not in figured bass. Just try notating G7b9/B in figured bass. Yeah, let’s bury it already. And it can be so easy:

V9:2. You may have already guessed this is the dominant 9th chord in 2nd inversion. Easy.

ii7:3 is Am7/G in G.

I7 has a flat 7th on the tonic. Imaj7 is the diatonic variety.

You are freed to do Roman numeral analysis with some sanity.

About Steve

He lives in the sleepy Ormond Beach, FL, with his wife and adorable dog Rufus. twitter/mrclay_org

He’s been building sites, apps, and frameworks for the web since the early 2000s, for the longest time with PHP and JavaScript but now he can’t live without TypeScript & React. Latest side project is this piano/chord thingy made with React/ES6. More at github/mrclay.

He plays piano, guitar, bass, and–if anyone will let him–drums, though he kinda spends more time transcribing harmony these days than writing. If pressed, he’ll probably name Moose’s Live a Little Love a Lot as favorite album, but please do not press.