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Offline T-Block

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Secondary Dominants
« on: December 29, 2006, 08:36:30 AM »
Secondary Dominants

A dominant chord wants to resolve to 4 of the chord. This goes for any dominant chord in any key. Now, if that resolution chord happens to be a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 then that is great. But, make sure you understand exactly where a dominant chord wants to resolve to.

But what happens if we make one of the Minor chords (ii, iii, iv) a MAJOR chord? It becomes what is called a Secondary Dominant!

Let's look at some examples:

C / C-Eb-G (C minor chord)
C / C-E-G (C major chord, Eb becomes E, which is the leading tone in the key of F)
or
Bb / C-E-G (C7 chord, same other stuff as above)
F / C-F-A (resolves to 4 of C, which is F)

D / D-F-A (D minor chord)
D / D-F#-A ( D major chord, F becomes F#, which is the leading tone in the key of G)
or
C / D-F#-A (D7 chord, same other stuff as above)
G / D-G-B (resolves to 4 of D, which is G)

Bb / Bb-Db-F (Bb minor chord)
Bb / Bb-D-F ( Bb major chord, Db becomes D, which is the leading tone in the key of Eb)
or
Ab / Bb-D-F (Bb7 chord, same other stuff as above)
Eb / Bb-Eb-G (resolves to 4 of Eb)

You see what I mean?  Key is really irrelevent for where a dominant chord or a dominant 7th chord wants to resolve to cuz that resolution chord ain't always 1. The reason why I say "wants to resolve" because depending on the key you could resolve to 3 or 6. Here is an illustration using one of the above examples:

C / C-Eb-G (C minor chord)
Bb / C-E-G (C7 chord, Eb becomes E, which is leading tone in key of F)
F / C-F-A (resolves to 4 of C, which is F)
or
*A / C-F-A (resolves to 6 in the key of C or 3 in the key of F)

*Notice that the RH part of the chord is still 4 in the key of C, but since there is an A in the bass, it changes the entire chord to 3 or 6 depending on what key you in. In other words, it is an inversion.

You see that? The resolution chord can be so many things other than 1, but it can also resolve to 1 or 5. Let me show you:

C / C-Eb-G (C minor chord)
C / C-E-G (C major chord, Eb becomes E, which is leading tone in key of F)
*C / C-F-A (resolves to 1 in the key of C or 5 in the key of F)

*Notice that the RH part of the chord is still 4 in the key of C, but since there is a C in the bass, it changes the entire chord to a 1 or 5 depending on what key you in. In other words, it is also an inversion.

Now, I have just showed you that a dominant chord can resolve to 1, 3, 5, and 6. You can also keep that secondary dominant principle going on forever if you wanted to. Here it is:

C / C-Eb-G
C / C-E-G or Bb / C-E-G
F / C-F-Ab
F / C-F-A or Eb / C-F-A
Bb / Db-F-Bb
Bb / D-F-Bb or Ab / D-F-Bb
Eb / Eb-Gb-Bb
Eb / Eb-G-Bb or Db / Eb-G-Bb
Ab / Eb-Ab-Cb
Ab / Eb-Ab-C or Gb / Eb-Ab-C
Db / Fb-Ab-Db
Db / F-Ab-Db or Cb / F-Ab-Db

Gb / Gb-Bbb-Db
Gb / Gb-Bb-Db or Fb / Gb-Bb-Db
F# / F#-A-C#
F# / F#-A#-C# or E / F#-A#-C#

B / F#-B-D
B / F#-B-D# or A / F#-B-D#
E / G-B-E
E / G#-B-E or D / G#-B-E
A / A-C-E
A / A-C#-E or G / A-C#-A
D / A-D-F
D / A-D-F# or C / A-D-F#
G / Bb-D-G
G / B-D-F or F / B-D-F
(repeat, you are back to where you started from)
Real musicians play in every key!!!
Music Theory, da numbers work!

Offline xp80

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Re: Secondary Dominants
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2007, 06:48:53 AM »
Why do you need secondary dominants?

Because the constant use of these movements is one of the key elements in gospel music. When T-Block says keys become irrelevant he saying that by use of this movement you are constantly tonicizing a new key temporarily.

If you play keys already, and your sound is authentic gospel you're probably using 2ndary dominants all the time. In reality the only people who use the term secondary dominant are music students and class professors. In the real world we speak of  5/7 "five-seven" progressions.

If you want to sound phatt turn some of your minor chords into 5-7s with an added 9, #11, or b13 for flavor! 

Offline T-Block

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Re: Secondary Dominants
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2007, 01:49:27 PM »
There are many people who don't even know what a secondary dominant is.  So, I was just explaining the concept of the secondary dominant, that's all.  Whether or not you want to apply it to gospel music is up to you.

And, what I meant by key being irrelevant is the fact that a dominant chord want's to resolve to 4 of the chord, no matter what key you are in.  I'm not saying that everytime you use one there is a key change. 

I think you reading too much into my posts dude.  I try to explain difficult concepts in the easiest way possible so that even a baby can understand it.  When u start getting too deep, you lose my target audience.  I'm not focusing on the "seasoned" players, my main focus are the people who don't know anything about music theory.
Real musicians play in every key!!!
Music Theory, da numbers work!

Offline seemunny

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Re: Secondary Dominants
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2008, 02:01:36 AM »
I just wanna say "good lookin out" to T-Block for including those "Secondary Dominants" in the theory collection. That little exchange between you and Xp80 got me reaaal interested in what these things were!

I've "heard" Secondary Dominants all my life, and even heard the term a few times, having no clue what it meant. NOW i know what they are, and know that they can provide a lot of valuable movement in your playing. Knowing the name and function of it makes all the difference in the world! Thanks again. 8)

Offline rspindy

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Re: Secondary Dominants
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2008, 09:42:03 AM »
Secondary Dominants can often be substituted in place of the indicated diatonic minor chords.

In a I VI II V I progression,  The diatonic chords in C would be C Am7 Dm7 G7 C.  If the melody is not on the third of the Am7 (C) or the Dm7 (F), you actually have an option of the m7 or some form of a dominant 7 (A7, A9, D7, D9 and even wild tensions (b9, #11)).

Even if the melody is on the third, it is sometimes possible to substitute a dominant 7, which would be an A7 #9 or D7 #9 (the #9 being the same as the original 3rd of the Am and Dm chords).  This particularly gives you a bluesy sound.

The thing to watch for is the movement of the roots of the chords.  If they are moving by descending 5th or ascending 4th, then the movement is analogous to a V - I progression (G7 C in C).  Thus II V (D - G in C) is analogous to V - I in G.

This process can go all of the way through a VII III VI II V I progression (in C:  B7 E7 A7 D7 G7 C).  For interest you could keep some in the minor and change some to the dominant 7 (Bm7b5 E7 Am7 D7 G7 C).

There are times when this may not seem to work.  I've found that for me it is because I am usually so used to the original sound in certain songs that it is too jarring.

One thing that this idea can help with is when building an arrangement.  You could chorus using the indicated diatonic chords and as you build, you can add more dominant 7 (and their extensions).

Offline seemunny

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Re: Secondary Dominants
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2008, 03:17:37 AM »
Ahh, good stuff yet again Rspindy!

If i'm following you right, it seems that you're saying: if you want, you can feel free to change your three minor chords (2, 3, & 6) to dominants chords, just to get a more bluesy sound, if you like the way it sounds in the context of the song.

If i'm missing something, feel free to let me know.

Good lookin out! 8)

Offline rspindy

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Re: Secondary Dominants
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2008, 09:11:00 AM »
Ahh, good stuff yet again Rspindy!

If i'm following you right, it seems that you're saying: if you want, you can feel free to change your three minor chords (2, 3, & 6) to dominants chords, just to get a more bluesy sound, if you like the way it sounds in the context of the song.

If i'm missing something, feel free to let me know.

Good lookin out! 8)

You've got it.  There is much more freedom in your choice of chord quality over a bass than "traditional" harmony would lead us to believe.  (One of these days I'll get my ideas in order -- but for now).  The way the bass moves is more defining than whether the chord is a Maj(7, +6), Dominant 7, minor(7 et. al.), m7b5 (half-diminished) or diminished.

To put it briefly -- the bass movement of the descending 5th / ascending 4th is the guide for the function of the harmony.  This is the bass movement of V - I; II - V; VI - II etc.  The pattern VII - III - VI - II - V - I is simply a series of descending 5th / ascending 4th.  Experiment with different qualities for each (including min 7 or Maj 7 for the V).  The harmonic movement towards will still be felt.  (I sort of like the movement from Vm - I+6/9. (BTW - the "+6" simply means "add 6" not augmented anything.

Yesterday I was goofing around with the hymn "Be Thou My Vision".  At some point, I "accidentally" played a m7b5 for the V instead of the normal dominant.  It sounded wonderful.  Now if I can only figure out where I did it (I've got to start recording these things) so that I can duplicate.

I guess what I'm saying at this point is, try determining just the bass line for a tune and then experiment with different basic qualities regardless of what the chord quality is "supposed" to be in a key.  Some will work, some won't, but it will open up some new possibilities.

Offline seemunny

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Re: Secondary Dominants
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2008, 12:56:46 AM »
Ahh, good stuff!

I looks like some good ol' trial & error, experimentation, and rule breakin' from time to time, will go a long way! lol 8)

Offline musallio

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Re: Secondary Dominants
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2008, 05:54:20 AM »
Ahh, good stuff!

I looks like some good ol' trial & error, experimentation, and rule breakin' from time to time, will go a long way! lol 8)



That's true  man..that's part of my practice routine..experimentation & "breaking the rules"..works for me. :)
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Offline seemunny

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Re: Secondary Dominants
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2008, 01:19:19 AM »
See there Musallio, great minds think alike! lol 8)

Offline dwest2419

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Re: Secondary Dominants
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2013, 05:42:01 PM »
Now this is the thread I've been looking for!  ;D

But I'm a guitar player I thought I might get in on the action. I have a question for you T-Block. I had just discovered some new chord progressions with secondary dominant chords and I know the term is usually listed as always as being "dominant." But what I wanted to know is can I turn the dominant 7th to possibly a 9th, 11th or 13th dominant chord as a secondary dominant?

Offline T-Block

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Re: Secondary Dominants
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2013, 09:53:37 AM »
But what I wanted to know is can I turn the dominant 7th to possibly a 9th, 11th or 13th dominant chord as a secondary dominant?

You sure can, just add on the degree you want. Any kind of 7th, 9th, 11th, or 13th is automatically dominant when you have the flat 7. You may not see it in the chord symbol, but it is. Examples:

C7 is the same as Cdom7

C9 is the same as Cdom9

C11 is the same as Cdom11

C13 is the same as Cdom13
Real musicians play in every key!!!
Music Theory, da numbers work!
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