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If we are not making the vii/ leading tone resolving to the tonic, then how can I make the transition of vii chord to iii without being too awkward with the voicing? Do composers make it natural minor form to reduce the effect of leading tone that tends to be resolved? E.g. In the key of Bm, the transition of A# (is the chord consisting notes of A#, C# and E?) to D maj ; what can be done in the transition to make it better and not too weird and sudden?

Side note: if A maj = A, C#, and E; then isn't A# major *(not sure whether it's a major, it doesn't sound 'major' at all if it's A#, C#, and E)= A#, D, and F? So what notes exactly make up the leading tone of Bm, and what is the interval quality?

  • A#,C#,E = A# diminished; it can also be considered to be F#7 (which is the dominant 7th of Bm), but missing the root (F#). "A#" (Bb),D,F = Bb major. – No'am Newman Jul 28 '18 at 14:21
  • Technically, the A# major triad can only be spelled with letters that are "two apart" (so that the intervals are thirds). The spelling is A#, C##, E# – The Chaz 2.0 Jul 28 '18 at 14:24
  • So what are the notes for the leading tone in the key of B minor? – Yau Qi Herng Jul 28 '18 at 14:41
  • @TheChaz2.0 what do you mean by two apart? – Yau Qi Herng Jul 28 '18 at 14:43
  • A and D are three apart (making an interval of a fourth). You spell triads with thirds. – The Chaz 2.0 Jul 28 '18 at 17:07
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If you want to spell a chord as A# major, its notes will be A#, Cx (that's a double-sharp), E#. (Which is why we more usually go with calling it Bb major :-)

So now we've got the right notes for A# major, we can talk about how to get from it to D major. (I know you based your question round a misapprehension of the notes in an A# triad, you were really asking about A#dim. Which acts like F#7(b9). But it could be interesting to address the literal question!)

You're right, VII - iii isn't a very natural change. III, (D MAJOR in B minor) is the relative major, so close to Bm that it's hardly a change at all! But you want to get to D major.

It would be smoother to use the standard 'to get anywhere, plonk its dominant in front of it' technique and use bVII7 (A7). But 'smoothness' isn't everything, 'dramatic' is good too!

Here's some things you could do, depending where you want that D chord to take you. Chromatic inner lines and contrary motion can get you through a lot of 'weird' changes. And look at the alto line in the third example. Do something that might feel a bit awkward, then do it AGAIN!

enter image description here

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    Note that in "common practice" harmony, you can't really use a vii chord in root position except in three part harmony, because the doubled leading notes proceeding to the tonic would give consecutive octaves. Laurence's attempts (which are probably as good as it gets in this situation) have the same problem - which is one reason they sound a bit lame. Of course, this may not bother the OP at all - but let your ears be the final judge, not your harmony textbook. – user19146 Jul 28 '18 at 19:04
  • With all due respect to Laurence Payne, if any voice-leading students are looking at his examples, please be aware of the doubled and unresolved leading tones, parallel fifths and octaves, and unresolved sevenths! – Richard Jul 29 '18 at 15:57
  • Yeah. We're not in Bach Chorale country here! But sing each part. I think you'll find the voice-leading acceptable. – Laurence Payne Jul 29 '18 at 16:00

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