Italian Sixth


The "Italian Sixth" is a chord used in music theory and composition, known for its distinct harmonic color and function. Also referred to as the "Italian Augmented Sixth" chord, it is a type of altered dominant chord commonly found in classical music. The Italian Sixth chord contributes to chromatic harmonies and provides a sense of tension and resolution within musical compositions.

The Italian Sixth chord consists of the root note (fundamental), a major sixth interval, and a major third interval above the root. The resulting structure is enharmonically equivalent to a minor seventh interval above the root and is typically spelled as an augmented sixth interval and a diminished third above the root.

One of the most distinctive features of the Italian Sixth chord is its tendency to resolve outward to an octave. The augmented sixth interval resolves to the octave, while the root note often moves down by a fifth to the dominant chord.

In harmonic progressions, the Italian Sixth chord is often utilized as a chromatic passing chord. It introduces chromaticism and provides harmonic contrast, leading to a sense of tension that is subsequently resolved as it progresses to the dominant or other related chords.

The Italian Sixth chord is prevalent in classical music and continues to be a tool used by composers to create harmonic richness and evoke specific emotional effects. Its unique interval structure and its ability to infuse compositions with chromatic interest make it an essential element of classical harmonic language.

Example of Italian Sixth

The Italian AUGMENTED 6th [Explained By An Italian]