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5. Method of Preparation.

a. The smoothest way to introduce a secondary dominant chord is in a set of three chords. This set can then be interpreted as a temporary "key" (key of the moment). This is not considered a modulation since the first and last chords of the set still belong to the original key. The first chord prepares the secondary dominant chord. The second chord (the secondary dominant chord) is the temporary dominant of the third chord. The third chord serves as the temporary tonic. Figure 13-14 shows the set of three chords analyzed in the key of C Major. The chords are also analyzed in the temporary key of G Major.

Figure 13-14. Preparation of Secondary Dominant Chord

b. If the note to be chromatically altered in the secondary dominant chord is a doubled note in the preparation chord, one voice moves chromatically to the altered note and the other voice moves by leap to a different note of the secondary dominant chord. In the first chord (preparation chord) of Figure 13-15, the F is doubled in the alto and bass voices. In the second chord (secondary dominant chord) of Figure 13-15, the F in the alto voice moves by leap down to a D. The F in the bass voice moves to an F#.

Figure 13-15. Altered Note Doubled

6. Cross Relationship.

When the same letter named note occurs in an adjacent chord as a chromatically altered note, both notes must remain in the same voice. When the chromatically altered note occurs in another voice, cross relationship occurs. Cross relationship is unacceptable part-writing. Because of the chromatic alterations involved in secondary dominant chords, care must be taken to avoid writing cross relationships.

a. In the first measure of Figure 13-16, the F in the ii chord is altered in the V/V chord. The F in the ii chord occurs in the soprano voice while the F# in the V/V chord occurs in the tenor voice, creating a cross relationship between these chords.

Figure 13-16. Cross Relationship

b. To avoid writing cross relationships in secondary dominant chords, the two shared notes must occur in the same voice. In Figure 13-17, the unaltered note (F) and the altered note (F#) both occur in the soprano voice.

Figure 13-17. Cross Relationship Avoided

7. Method of Resolution.

a. In resolving a secondary dominant chord, follow the same principles as those for the dominant to tonic (V-I) chords. The third of the secondary dominant chord is a secondary leading tone of the temporary key (key of the moment) and is not doubled. It resolves upward by half step to the root of the next chord (Figure 13-18).

Figure 13-18. Resolution Of Secondary Dominant Chord

b. A secondary dominant chord, like the dominant chord, can resolve irregularly to a chord other than the chord a perfect fifth below. An irregular resolution occurs at a cadence when the dominant of the dominant (V/V) chord moves to the second inversion tonic (I) chord before it moves to the dominant (V) chord (Figure 13-19).

Figure 13-19. Irregular Resolution of Secondary Dominant Chord


Part-write the following dominant of the dominant (V/V) chords (Figure 13-20). Avoid writing cross relationships.

Figure 13-20. Part-Write V/V Chords

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Answer Key

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015