I'm doing harmony and I got stuck when I was doing modulation. what is a good chord to put after a V6 chord that isn't an I?

  • Welcome to Music Stack Exchange. The site welcomes focused on-topic answers and questions, and yours is well focused. You may find that some users here will feel that your question relies a bit too much on opinion rather than fact. In other words, this sort of question is likely to get a wide variety of responses, none necessarily 'better' than others. But hang in there and keep submitting. Again, welcome.
    – L3B
    Apr 14, 2017 at 22:45
  • This needs qualifying. V6 usually, as Richard alludes, means the 1st inversion of the chord - in key C major, it would be a G chord with B bass, aka G/B. However, in more modern terms, it could be construed as G6 - spelled G B D E, also known as Em7. If so, an Am would be a good alternative following chord, especially with a B bass note in G6. Add the dominant, and we're into G13.
    – Tim
    Apr 15, 2017 at 7:20
  • V6 might mean V with an added 6th. G, B, D, E in the key of C. This opens a whole new lot of possibilities.
    – Laurence
    Aug 31, 2017 at 14:23

5 Answers 5


Here are some other ideas that don't go to the tonic (assuming V6 means the first inversion of V):

Prolonged Dominant:

You can keep spamming dominant-function chords after the dominant-function chord V6, such as these:

  • V: Changing the bassline can do wonders.
  • V7: This has a stronger sense of establishing the home key than V6 does.
  • V6/5: This is the first inversion of V7, so it's easier to reach from V6.
  • vii°: This is also treated as a dominant-function chord.
  • vii°7: See above.
  • vii half-diminished 7: See above--this is used more often in major keys than in minor keys.
  • V13: Gotta love escape tones.
  • V augmented: This works surprisingly well for me, even as a full-blown dominant-function chord, but I only recommend this if you want to really ratchet up the tension.
  • I6/4: I haven't used the second inversion of I much in this context, but you can give it a try...and tell me if it sounds like a tonic-function chord instead of its usual strongly predominant role.


  • vi: Stereotypical deceptive cadence, here we come.
  • vi6: Easier to reach from V6.
  • (b)VI: This is bVI if you're in a major key (and you're borrowing this from the tonic minor) and VI if you're in a minor key. This chord sounds the same in both cases.

You can even rapidly alternate between dominant-function chords and deceptive-function chords. One example is bVI-V-bVI-V-bVI-V...

Super Deceptive:

These might not be found in common-practice period harmony, but you can use them:

  • iv6: I've read that this works as a deceptive-function chord in my harmony lessons. This is borrowed from the tonic minor if you're in a major key.
  • bII: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadence_(music)#Interrupted_.28deceptive.29_cadence says that J.S. Bach has used the Neapolitan chord as a deceptive-function chord before. I also hear this in heavy metal.
  • Any augmented sixth: Since (b)VI works, surely adding a minor seventh/augmented sixth to that chord and calling it a German augmented sixth also works. Then, by extension, the Italian augmented sixth and the French augmented sixth should work reasonably well.
  • V7b5/V: V7/V with a lowered fifth is actually the second inversion of the French augmented sixth, so it should also work.
  • IV: Some days, I don't care that my harmony lessons disallow the V-IV chord progression--I use this and I find that it works in major keys.
  • iv: Definitely for minor-key 12-bar blues fans.
  • Common-tone diminished 7th of V: If I-CT°7 of I-I works, then so might this after a V6.

Secondary Dominant:

You can tonicize the dominant with these:

  • V/V: The simplest such secondary dominant.
  • V7/V: This more clearly tonicizes the dominant than V/V does.
  • vii°/V: This also counts as a secondary dominant...
  • vii°7/V: ...as does this.

Basically, you can take any dominant-function chord, put "/V" on the bottom, and use it.


  • V7/IV: This sounds like I except for its added minor seventh, so you can easily head to IV or iv from here.
  • i: Suddenly switching to the tonic minor can also sound effective.

As Richard says, you can use V6 like an even more exotic pivot chord than the above.


There are all kinds of options, but here are 5 possibilities. Note: this answer assumes that "V6" means "a dominant chord in first inversion," not a triad with added sixth.

enter image description here

A. After the V6, you can resolve the leading tone in the bass as expected, but put a V7/IV above it instead.

B. Or, you could resolve to the same chord, but now in third inversion. Doing so "frustrates" the leading tone B, pushing it down to the chordal seventh Bf.

C. Or you could just go hogwild and take a ride on the omnibus. (Note that here I changed the V6 to a V65.)

D. The V6 here is a part of a descending third progression; here the V6 moves to vi. (You could also change the G in this V6 to G#, making it an applied chord to vi.)

E. Or could you just say screw it and modulate to another key. Here I reinterpret the V6 in C as a IV6 in D, and I move through a German+6 to cadence in D major.

Again, there are all kinds of things you could do following a V6; these are only five!


It really depends on the type of music. In jazz, for example, a wider variety of chords will sound OK in that situation than would be true in classical. The presence of the 6th in the V chord, which is the same pitch as the 3 tone in the I chord, tends in this case to want to resolve upward, so a IV chord would certainly work, or a ii chord. Again, the style of music is important in answering this sort of question. You might want to edit your question to clarify that point.


Whatever chord you choose you will have to have the tonic of the key as the root of the following chord. Remember if the Dominant chord is in the first inversion then the Leading Tone of the Key is on the bass, this note has to resolve.

So you basically have two choices either the tonic in root position or the six chord in the first inversion.

As for a modulation, you could easily choose a key with the tonic of the key you are coming from. So let's choose C major just as an example. If you have the dominant chord in the first inversion you have a B in the bass you would need some sort of chord with a C note in it.

So if you are not interested in modulating you could very easily just go to the Tonic chord of C major and call it a day but let's say you do want to modulate.

You can think to yourself we still want a chord to build on C but what if this chord is not the tonic of the key, what if this chord build on C is the dominant of some new key.

So if C is the fifth note of a key what are we in then? Oh a key build on F. So let's say F major. What accidental does F major have that C major does not? Oh, it has that B flat.

Think clearly know, what is the seventh of the Dominant chord in F major... Oh it is that B flat (C-E-G-Bb) So know if you build this C chord with a B flat for the seventh (That resolves correctly) You have successfully modulated to the Dominant key

  • "you will have to have the tonic of the key as the root of the following chord" Root, or bass? And in the last paragraph, did you mean "subdominant"?
    – Richard
    Apr 15, 2017 at 15:46

I think the V6 will add some tension and want to resolve to the V. Also you said modulation so maybe something with circle of fifths.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.