Harmonic Functions

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What are Harmonic Functions?

    The Tonic

    The Dominant and Subdominant

    An example using I, IV and V

    Identifying the I, IV and V degrees

    The II and VII Degrees

    The III and VI Degrees

    Harmonic Functions in Minor Keys

    Harmonic Analysis

Nonharmonic Tones

    Passing Tone

    Neighbor Note




    An Example

Secondary Dominants

    Secondary Dominants Examples

    Using Secondary Dominants


    The Dominant Chord

    The Pivot Chord

    Two Examples

    An Example from Bach

    Modulation to Distantly Related Keys

Augmented Sixths


    Major Keys

    Harmonic Function

    Tritone Substitution

    Musical Examples

Neapolitan Sixth

    Construction and Identification

    Major Keys

    Musical Examples

Other Tutorials:

Reading Music




Musical Forms

Related Exercises:

Harmonic Progresssions Dictation



  Seventh Chords

  Secondary Dominants

  Secondary Diminished Sevenths

  Augmented Sixths

  Neapolitan Sixth



  Seventh Chords

  Secondary Dominants

  Secondary Diminished Sevenths

Augmented Sixths in Major Keys

The augmented sixth chord in a major key is the same chord as that of the parallel minor key. Here you can see the French Augmented Sixth chord of A major and A minor:

We must lower by half step the bass of the chord in major keys in order to have the augmented sixth interval. In the case of the German Sixth chord (the example is in A major), we must also lower the 5th from the bass:

Very often the German Sixth is spelled enharmonically when resolving to the tonic chord in 2nd inversion (D# - Eb in this case):

In this case the chord receives several names: Enharmonic German Sixth, Doubly Augmented Fourth Sixth or Swiss Sixth (as proposed by Walter Piston). Theatrically is a II degree seventh chord in 2nd inversion.

© 2011 J. Rodríguez Alvira

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