Obviously if I was in minor and this was a cadence then a dominant chord would be used for ^2 and a i chord or i6 chord for ^1 but I cant use this because then the progression is going to make i sound like the tonic and I want to tonicize III. My thoughts are that ^2 would have to be harmonized by VII which has natural ^7 and implies the major mode but then what chord gets ^1? My harmony book shows that VII usually progresses to III and this chord cannot harmonize ^1. The only other chord from my notes that I can see that follows VII that has ^1 is iv6 but I am not convinced that this is the only option. Thinking outside the box, what about VI? Well I am not sure that can work because there would certainly be parallels in a progression like VII VI with ^2 ^1 in the melody. How can I harmonize this melody without sounding like I am going back to the minor mode?

FYI: I do not have access to the minor v chord yet which I believe would be helpful in harmonizing the ^2 but I wonder if I could label this chord as iii in the major mode which would justify its use? Then I could use I iii IV to harmonize the progression albeit in the major mode instead of calling the chords III v VI which is not a progression I have learned yet.

1 Answer 1


One approach to prolong this parenthetical sense of III as a temporary tonic is to begin, as you've suggested, with III followed by V/III (VII) to harmonize scale-degrees 3 and 2.

Then, for harmonizing 1, simply resolve this V/III deceptively to i, which is really functioning as vi/III here.

In other words, these three chords are all temporarily in the key of III: you have a I–V–vi progression in the relative major, which ends up to be III–VII–i in the global tonic. But I strongly recommend labeling the chords as temporary harmonies in III, because labeling them all in minor looks pretty strange.

  • So, tonicizing III the scale tones would then feel like ^1 ^7 ^6... I must be feeling a bit slow today, I just needed to see that written out :-) Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 19:06
  • @Michael Perhaps a little odd with the non-resolved leading tone in the soprano, but in my experience that's relatively standard with deceptive resolutions (and also iii chords).
    – Richard
    Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 19:34

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