Topic 1: Secondary Dominants
Secondary dominant—a chord that serves as the dominant of a chord other than tonic.
Because it is not THE dominant in the established key, we say that a secondary dominant is V of some chord. Similarly, a secondary leading-tone chord is viio of some chord.
Secondary dominants and secondary leading-tone chords are also called applied dominants and applied leading-tone chords because they “apply” the principles of dominant harmonic function, its distinctive resolutions, to a non-tonic chord.
Tonicize—to treat a non-tonic chord if it were, temporarily, the tonic.
Locating Secondary Dominants by Accidentals: Two rules of thumb
- Suspect a raised note of being a leading tone.
- Suspect a lowered note of being a chordal seventh
Some potential roles that a secondary dominant might play in a given musical context:
1. Lend emphasis to a chord within the phrase model
2. Harmonic diversion (taking you away from an expected harmonic goal)
3. Creating forward momentum after a phrase is complete
4. Evade expected resolution
5. Text painting or mood setting
Writing Secondary Dominants
Reminders about leading tones and chordal sevenths:
- Do not double them.
- Resolve them.
Prefer to make the leading tone in an applied chord act like a chromatic passing tone. For instance, instead of leaping to scale degree #4 in a V/V chord, approach it by step: ^4 – #^4 – ^5. This avoids nasty cross relations.
Cross relation—diatonic and chromatic versions of a scale degree occur in successively, in two different parts.
Topic 2: Modulation
Modulation — a change of key.
Here are two ways to seamlessly transition between keys within a phrase:
1. Use a Pivot chord—a chord that belongs to both keys.
-It precedes the first element (accidental or chord) belonging solely to the second key.
-It is often a Pd in the new key.
Note: Once in a while, there is no pivot. For example, chromatic motion may lead into the new key: I-IV-V6/V-V, followed by a cadence in the dominant’s key.
2. Use a Sequence
Like a merry-go-round, a sequence can take you in many directions; it all depends on where you “get off.” Sequences can carry the music up or down by step, or else down by third. A chord within a sequence may be reinterpreted as a chord within a new key.
Remember: Sequences are guided by root motion, not by the phrase model. You do not need to give Roman numerals for chords in a sequence. Just take the last chord of the sequence and use a Roman numeral to show how that is incorporated in the following motion toward a cadence.
Sudden modulations may occur between sections and between smaller units.
There is often an abrupt return the main key after a cadence in another key. Also, an abrupt change of key is especially useful for setting off a new section, such as the middle section of a da capo aria, minuet-trio, or other ternary (three-part) movement.
Topic 3: Binary and Ternary Forms
Binary form—the division of a unit of music into two sections, either because (1) there are two periods (2) there are two repeated sections (“two-reprise form”).
Typical harmonic plans:
I V :||: V(7) || I
i III :||: (Pd tonicized) V(7) || I
Typical sources of contrast early in the second section
- Motivic development (transformations and fragmentation)
- Modulations (other than to V or III)
- Pedal points (usually ^5 to set up a return of ^1)