Musical theory is a vast subject, and it is not always as simple as playing a I - IV - V progression. In this article, we will take a look at some different types of secondary chords.
A secondary dominant is a major chord, often with a minor seventh, which is not the dominant (fifth degree) of the tonic chord, but rather the dominant of another chord in the scale. For example, in the key of C major, the dominant would normally be G7, but a secondary dominant could be any chord which is the dominant of another of the notes in the scale. For example, D7 is the dominant chord of G. As such, D7 would be a secondary dominant for the C major scale.
It is very common that if you see a major version of a chord which is otherwise minor in the scale, it is because it is the secondary dominant.The notation for a secondary dominant is a V over the chord to which it is the dominant. If the secondary dominant is the dominant of the dominant, the notation would be "V/V", and if it is the dominant of the submediant (the sixth degree, which in C major would be A minor), then it would be written as "V/vi".
A secondary subdominant works in much the same way as a secondary dominant, but is not used as frequently. It is the subdominant (fourth degree) of chord in a scale which is not the tonic chord. For example, in C major, the subdominant is F major, and subdominant of F major is B♭ major, which would in turn be a secondary subdominant of the C major scale. In this case, it would be written as "IV/IV".
A parallel chord is when a chord in a scale is substituted with the major or minor version of that same chord. For example, in the key of C major, the second chord is D minor. The parallel would be substituting this D minor with a D major chord. Similarly, substituting the fourth chord, the F major, for an F minor would also be an example of using a parallel chord.
Want To Learn Music Theory?
Do you want to learn music theory? Maybe you already know, but you want to improve your abilities? We have lots of talented and experienced teachers all over the country. Find a teacher in your city today!
- Music theory teachers in London
- Music theory teachers in Birmingham
- Music theory teachers in Leeds
- Music theory teachers in Liverpool
- Music theory teachers in Manchester
If you thought this article was useful, you might also find the following interesting…
- Learn the basics of modal harmony - the basis of jazz music!
- Learn the basics of functional harmony
- Learn to analyze blues harmonies using roman numeral analysis
- Learn how to determine which chords to play based on the scale you're playing
- Learn to use the circle of fifths, a powerful musical tool
- Season Plan - Save 15% on music lessons
Who Are We?
The office team of MusicTutors are all professional musicians and educators. We also believe that we have the best job in the world. We get to spend our day talking to students across the country about how much they love music and we have helped hundreds of people connect with the perfect, professional tutor for them. We'd love to help you too! Please get in touch with us and tell us your story. 07946125613 Or send us a mail to [email protected]. We can't wait to hear from you!