I’m playing some chorales and I can’t figure out how to analyse these highlighted chords. I think these chords share the characteristics of having adjacent notes and I’m having trouble with that. The first one could be a sustained fourth I think? Can someone explain it to me please? Thanks a lot
The analytical principal here — and a good tool in general when unsure of a chord — is to look at what the following, and sometimes preceding, chords are.
Chord 1: The chord is A7, but on beat one — the highlighted area — there is a suspension. The A7 is realized in beat 2. The major hint is that it's preceded by the
IVchord (G) and leads to a cadence in D major.
Chord 2: Here we have an E-7 chord. It's the
iichord relative to D major, and starts off a ii-V-I cadence in that key.
Chord 3: Similarly to Chord 2, this is a
iichord leading a ii-V-I cadence in A major. That is, it's a B-7 chord in first inversion.
Chord 4: This is the same as Chord 3, but in root position, and serves the same function.
Chord 5: Same chord and function as Chord 2.
Just to add a little to Aaron's answer which lays out the harmonic details, here are a couple general concepts at work:
- Chords decorated or embellished by non-chord tones. This is what happens in the first example using a suspended fourth and auxiliary tone (
E D E) in the tenor. Decoration of
- Chords arpeggiated or broken. This happens in the second example, the
D, first it's played like
ii6/5but then is arpeggiated to root position
ii7, which you could just called a "broken chord" type of figuration of
IVblended into a broader subdominant function. In the second and fifth example you could possibly describe the immediate chord on the beat as
G B Das
IVwith and added sixth
E, first inversion
Em7, or a
Eas a passing, non-chord tone. But both
ii andIV` have subdominant function in functional harmony, so you could use the broader description of "subdominant harmony". This kind of chord ambiguity in the subdominant function happens a lot in tonal harmony.
- Modulation or temporary tonicization. This happens in the third and fourth examples. Notice the sharps that occur in those places. In this style, and those particular occurrences, the sharps are not mere chromaticism, but signal a change of tonal center. Think of it like adding another sharp to the key signature, for three sharps, temporarily
Amajor. The tones involved are various voicings of
B D F# A. In the key
Dthat would be a
vi7chord, but in
ii7. This means the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th examples are all various treatments of the
ii(7)chord, but the tonal center changes.
I'm not good at staff reading, but...
A, E, D, A: Oops, I misread one of the tones. Could be D9 but I'm less sure of it now.
G, B, D, E: Either G6 or Emi7, I can never tell a difference. I guess I'd lean to Emi7.
D, B, F#, A: Bmi7 or maybe D6.
B, D, D, A: Bmi7 again? Even if F# is not included? (It does appear right after.)
G, B, D, E: Emi7 (or G6) again.
If chords with "adjacent notes", as you've called it, confuse you, it seems you aren't familiar with chords consisting of more than the major or minor triad. Look into seventh chords (these are very common!), also ninth, eleventh, even thirteenth, or into sixth chords and other "added tone" chords that aren't even built as a stack of thirds. And while you're at it, you may even meet suspended chords, which take out the third and replace it with the fourth or second.