Unit 2.2: Leading-Tone Chords, Submediants, Mediants, and Plagal Subdominants

Leading-Tone Chords

Tips for writing and resolving a viio6 chord:

  • Do not double the leading tone.
  • Resolve the leading tone (up by step to tonic).
  • They are generally embellishing chords and their individual notes usually participate in passing, and sometimes neighboring motion.

Tips for writing and resolving a viio7 chord:

  • Resolve the leading tone (up by step to tonic).
  • Move all the other three notes down by step.  (The chordal 3rd does not require this particular treatment, but taking it down by step does create a satisfying doubling of the root in the next chord.)

Tips for writing and resolving the viiø7 chord:

  • Resolve the leading tone (up by step to tonic).
  • Resolve the chordal 7th down by step.
  • Move the chordal 3rd up by step in order to avoid parallel Perfect 5ths with the resolution of the chordal 7th.  The chordal 5th usually converges with it on the chordal 3rd of the next triad; the doubled third is fine here.

Plagal Function

Not all subdominants are created equal!  Some are pre-dominants; some are plagal.
A pre-dominant IV chord leads to a dominant-function chord.  A plagal IV chord (or a iv chord, in minor) leads to a I chord (IV-I).

Plagal-function chord – a chord that leads to tonic although it does not have a leading tone ^7.  Instead, it typically has a ^6 that moves to ^5.

Plagal chords are often a kind of embellishing chord.  They usually embellish tonic by the motion in their upper parts: ^3-4-3 or ^5-6-5 or both above the chords I-IV-I.

Sometimes you could write both IN and Pg below the IV chord: I-IV-I6 with a bass line of ^1-4-3.  Just writing Pg is enough.

  Plagal Subdominants


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *