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Topic: Music Theory...

  1. #1

    Music Theory...

    Ok, I know this isn't technically a music theory site, but I figured someone would be able to help me out here. I'm trying to analyze of a piece of music and there's a Major chord not in the key (d minor, and the chord is E major), it does not resolve to an A chord, so it can't be a secondary dominant. Instead it goes to a c# fully diminshed seventh chord (which is a C.T. chord in this key).

    What are some other major chords that function in keys they're not necessarily part of? (Examples would be secondary dominants, Neapolitan sixths...those are the only two I know).

  2. #2

    Re: Music Theory...

    The C sharp diminished seventh chord still functions in a similar way to a dominant chord, in that it (supposedly) resolves to the tonic. So I think you could make the case that the E major chord is still a secondary dominant.
    Dan Powers

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  3. #3

    Re: Music Theory...

    Strangely enough the progression Emajor, C# dim 7, Dminor sounds nice. Therefore it must be OK. I've tried playing around with the chords and can't (a) fit it in with theory (b) hear any good reason for not using it.

    In music anyway, theory follows practice rather than the other way round
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  4. #4

    Re: Music Theory...

    Whoops, I said c# fully diminished seventh was a C.T. chord, it's not... Further, I see how it can work, but the chord after the c# is G Major, no idea what's going on there.

    edit: Following the G Major is C Major. This is a modulation, but I'm not sure where the pivot chord is. I'll post the excercise later on today.

  5. #5

    Re: Music Theory...

    The E chord can be considered a secondary or applied dominant if the c# diminished chord is construed, in the Schoenbergian or Schenkerian sense, as a 9th chord with the root omitted: viz, E - A9 (root omitted.)
    ‘To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.' - Stravinsky.

  6. #6

    Re: Music Theory...

    a secondary dominant doesnt have to resolve by root up 4th/down 5th. the major chord on the supertonic in a minor key is usually followed by the tonic or a chord containing the subdominant with the 3rd of the triad rising or falling a semitone respectivley.

  7. #7

    Re: Music Theory...

    From what it seems, the C# dim 7 chord functions somewhat to the effect of a supertonic seventh chord with a raised root and third, which most commonly resolves to the I or V7 of IV chord. Notice that with the smoothest voice leading possible, the C# dim 7 goes to G in kind of the same way that E goes to the C# dim 7, except in reverse. Notice that in each instance the root of the respective major triads is held and the rest of the voices, if they were to move upwards, would form their respective dominant seventh chords.

    This raised supertonic chord generally has a relaxing, playful, and/or calm feel. Done right, the chord can also be very emotional.

    My personal favorite usage of this chord comes from Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3. It truly highlights the emotional strength that this chord can offer:


    Listen to 5:22 through 5:26 in the video. It's a progression from F# dim 7 to Eb major (the Bb's in the piano part for the first half of that measure are nonharmonic tones). I especially recomment listening closely to the violins during that part. It's so brilliant.

  8. #8

    Re: Music Theory...

    Just remember, everyone...
    All music theory was developed AFTER the fact, so in effect, nobody is "breaking" any rules here. If it sounds good, it works!

  9. #9

    Re: Music Theory...

    Actually, and early form of music theory has been taught since the Ancient Greeks. The music theory we know today was developed in the Baroque Era, every composer pretty much had his own "music theory", however, it turns out that J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel had the same methods. By the Classical Era, everyone was pretty much using their methods. Beethoven knew what music theory was. How else do you think he could've composed all that beautiful music being deaf? He certainly couldn't rely on anything sounding good.

    Your idea that whatever sounds good works is essentially correct. However, music theory is geared to help people who know what sounds good to compose things that sound better.

  10. #10

    Re: Music Theory...

    Therefore it must be OK. I've tried playing around with the chords and can't (a) fit it in with theory (b) hear any good reason for not using it.


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