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


The process of changing from one key to another in a piece of music is called modulation . The most common modulations are modulations to closely related keys.

There are several methods that we can use to find closely related keys.

In case of a major key, find the subdominant and dominant chords, their relative minor keys and the relative minor key of the main key:

In case of a minor key, find the subdominant and dominant chords, their relative major keys and the relative major key of the main key:

Finding the II to VI degree of a major key:

Finding the III to VII degree of a minor key:

Closely related keys are neighbors in the circle of fifths:


© 2011 J. Rodríguez Alvira

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