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

Modulation Example from J. S. Bach

This minuet (binary form) in C minor offers an excellent example of modulation:

  1. The first modulation is to the relative major key (Eb major) at the end of section A. The ii degree of C minor is used as pivot chord (vii degree in Eb major) (measure 6). Diminished vii degree chords also have a dominant function, so the same chord is used in place of the Eb dominant, although you could say there is a dominant chord in the last beat of the measure (Eb in the bass and Bb in treble part).
  2. Section B starts in Eb major. A new modulation to F minor (measure 13) do not uses a pivot chord. The Eb dominant in measure 12 is followed by the vii degree of F minor (measure 13).
  3. In measures 17 to 23 a sequence takes us from F minor (the F minor chord is used as Eb major ii degree) to Eb major before returning to C minor in measure 21.

© 2011 J. Rodríguez Alvira

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