About Lifelong Learning - Contact Us - DonateFree-Ed.Net Home   Bookmark and Share

 

5-1  OVERVIEW

1. Dominant Seventh Chords.

a. The dominant seventh chord is a Major triad with the note an interval of a minor seventh above the root of the triad added to the Major triad (Figure 5-1). The dominant seventh chord, a four-note chord, is built on scale step five.

Figure 5-1. Dominant Seventh Chord Structure

b. In a minor key (harmonic minor), the dominant seventh chord is identical in structure to the dominant seventh chord in a Major key. They are both Major triads with a minor seventh interval from root to seventh (Major minor seventh chords) (Figure 5-2).

Figure 5-2. Minor Key Dominant Seventh Chord

NOTE: The term dominant seventh is used to denote the structure of the seventh chord as well as the scale degree location because the Major triad/minor seventh structure is only found on the dominant scale degree.

2. Doubling of Dominant Seventh Chords.

Since the dominant seventh is a four-note chord, there is no doubling of a note. All four notes of the dominant seventh chord are normally used in part writing. There is one exception discussed in paragraph 6b(1).

3. Root Position and Inversions.

a. Root Position. The dominant seventh chord is in root position when the root of the chord is the bass note (Figure 5-3). The third, fifth, and seventh of the chord are voiced in the upper three voices.

Figure 5-3. Root Position Dominant Seventh

b. First Inversion. The dominant seventh chord is in first inversion when the third of the chord is the bass note (Figure 5-4). The root, fifth, and seventh are voiced in the upper three voices.

Figure 5-4. First Inversion Dominant Seventh

c. Second Inversion. The dominant seventh chord is in second inversion when the fifth of the chord is the bass note (Figure 5-5). The root, third, and seventh of the chord are voiced in the upper three voices.

Figure 5-5. Second Inversion Dominant Seventh

d. Third Inversion. The dominant seventh chord is in third inversion when the seventh of the chord is the bass note (Figure 5-6). The root, third, and fifth are voiced in the three upper voices.

Figure 5-6. Third Inversion Dominant Seventh

4. Figured Bass for Dominant Seventh Chords.

a. Root Position. The complete figured bass for the dominant seventh chord in root position is . This indicates the intervals of a third, fifth, and seventh above the bass note. Usually, only the number 7 is written below the bass note. The third and fifth are understood and are included in the voicing even though they are not written in the figured bass (Figure 5-7).

Figure 5-7. V7 Figured Bass

NOTE: In a minor key, you must notate the leading tone by using a chromatic sign (or a slash through the number 3) in the figured bass (figure 5-8).

Figure 5-8. Minor Key Leading Tone Notation

b. First Inversion. The complete figured bass for the dominant seventh chord in first inversion is . Usually, only the is written under the bass note. The interval of a third (the fifth of the chord) is understood and is included in the voicing even though it is not written in the figured bass (Figure 5-9).

Figure 5-9. V Figured Bass

NOTE: In minor, the first inversion dominant seventh chord does not require a chromatic alteration in the figured bass (Figure 5-10). The third of the dominant seventh (the leading tone) is the bass note. The accidental to create the leading tone is written on the staff. The figured bass for the first inversion dominant seventh chord in minor is identical to the first inversion dominant seventh chord in Major.

Figure 5-10. Minor Key V Figured Bass

c. Second Inversion. The complete figured bass for the dominant seventh chord in second inversion is . Usually, only the is written under the bass note. The interval of a sixth (the third of the chord) is understood and is included in the voicing even though it is not written in the figured bass (Figure 5-11).

Figure 5-11. V Figured Bass

NOTE: In minor, the complete figured bass is required for the second inversion of the dominant seventh chord. It is needed to indicate the leading tone of the scale. The chromatic alteration can be shown by making a slash through the 6 or by placing a chromatic sign before the 6 (Figure 5-12).

Figure 5-12. Minor Key V Figured Bass

d. Third Inversion. The complete figured bass for the dominant seventh chord in third inversion is . Usually, only the is written below the bass note. The interval of a sixth (the fifth of the chord) is understood and is included in the voicing even though it is not written in the figured bass (Figure 5-13). Sometimes only a 2 is notated as the figured bass for a third inversion dominant seventh chord.

Figure 5-13. V Figured Bass

NOTE: In a minor key, the leading tone is notated by marking a slash through the 4 or by placing a chromatic sign in front of the 4 (Figure 5-14).

Figure 5-14. Minor Key V Figured Bass

5. Tritone Resolution.

There is a tritone (abbreviated as TT) interval (diminished fifth or augmented fourth) between the third and the seventh of the dominant seventh chord. This interval requires specific movement in the resolution of the dominant seventh chord.

a. Regular Resolution. The diminished fifth resolves to a Major third in a Major key or a minor third in a minor key. The augmented fourth resolves to a minor sixth in a Major key or a Major sixth in a minor key (Figure 5-15).

Figure 5-15. Regular Tritone Resolution

NOTE: Regular resolution is the most common resolution of the tritone because it resolves the harmonically unstable, dissonant tritone interval to the stable, consonant interval of a third (or sixth). The regular resolution satisfies the melodic pull of the subdominant and the leading tone tendency tones (Figure 5-16).

Figure 5-16. Tendency Tones

b. Irregular Resolution. An irregular resolution of the tritone occurs when the seventh of the dominant seventh chord does not resolve downward to the third of the tonic chord but moves up by step to the fifth. The bass voice moves to the third of tonic chord. This occurs when the dominant seventh chord progresses to the tonic chord in first inversion (Figure 5-17).

Figure 5-17. Irregular Tritone Resolution

David L. Heiserman, Editor

Copyright   SweetHaven Publishing Services
All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015