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INTRODUCTION

A chord is identified as a secondary dominant chord when it has a temporary dominant relationship to a chord that is not the tonic. The secondary dominant chord is one of the most commonly used altered chords. Altered chords contain one or more chromatically altered notes not found in the tonic key. The secondary dominant chord must be a Major chord or a dominant seventh chord. Minor chords and minor seventh chords do not function as secondary dominant chords. Any Major or minor diatonic chord can be preceded by its secondary dominant chord without weakening the fundamental tonality of the composition. Diminished and augmented chords are not preceded by secondary dominant chords because the diminished or augmented chords cannot perform a temporary tonic function. Secondary dominant chords provide harmonic color through the addition of new notes and give added direction and movement to the harmony through dominant to tonic function.

In this lesson you will learn to identify and write secondary dominant chords.

At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Identify the structure and analysis of secondary dominant chords
  • Identify and write dominant of the dominant chords
  • Part write secondary dominant chords.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015