Questions tagged [functional-harmony]

For questions to related to the accepted uses of harmonic progression within the common-practice period. Questions may also necessitate the chord-progressions tag.

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How to escape the C Major trap when improvising on the piano

I play/practice the piano for some decades and when improvising (Jazz, Romantic, and sometimes even Baroque), I observe a certain magnetism of the C Major key. I'm able to play scales, arpeggios, ...
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Is there a common labeling system for tritone substitutions?

Imagine the following progression: C F D♭7 C We typically just explain that third chord as a tritone substitution—and we stop there!—but this must be maddening for beginners, because we aren't ...
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Definition of Functional Harmony

In a recent conversation I had, there was a disagreement regarding the definition of Functional Harmony. As I've understood it, Functional Harmony would be defined by chords having a function and is ...
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Unnecessarily convoluted analysis in Reger's modulations?

I am reading Reger's book of modulations, and his analysis does not seem to me to be the most consistent. This example (No. 72, from a minor to F♯ Major) comes across as particularly odd: Here is the ...
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Roman numeral slash notation meaning and function? (V/iii)

When trying to find the function of the B major chord in C major I found that it was listed as a "V/iii" chord in this online calculator. I have never seen this before and don't know what ...
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Should I use uppercase or lowercase roman numerals in Jazz harmonic analysis?

I know that there is not a fully defined specification for the language used in jazz harmonic analysis, as it has grown slowly and organically and has many variations. I have seen some textbooks use ...
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What does "function" actually mean in music?

I remember when the term function was introduced in math - y=f(x) - the teacher was a substitution and still himself a student. He used the term function as if we already knew of what he was talking ...
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How to recognize harmonic intervals?

I've been doing some ear training, I'm quite at ease when recognizing melodic intervals, whether they are ascending or descending intervals, yet when it comes to harmonic intervals, I don't know how ...
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Can the leading note resolve down?

Would like to ask if the leading tone in chord V (G) could resolve downwards to Eb (fifth of chord I)? I’ve somehow recall reading that the rule (leading note MUST resolve to tonic) only applies to ...
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Can V resolve to iii?

Would the iii be a substitute for I under such circumstances or does iii make another deceptive resolution kind of like when V progresses to vi? iii also has ^3 and ^5 which belong to tonic harmony ...
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In the common-practice style, did minor dominant chords (v) still function as a dominant?

In the common-practice style, usually dominant chords were always major, even in minor keys. Without the leading tone, how did minor dominant chords (v) function?
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What do these up arrows/chevrons over numbers mean?

I've occasionaly seen these arrows over numbers, but I don't know what they're called or exactly what they mean. I'm assuming they have something to do with the motion, but I'm not sure.
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How does a minor major seventh chord have tonic function when it's so unstable?

In a minor key, the chord built on the tonic can be a minor sixth or a minor major seventh chord, both of which are supposed to have tonic function. To my ear, the minor sixth chord can feel like "...
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Is there a functional interpretation for VIIb in La Follia?

La Follia chord peogression is usually written as: i - V7 - i - VII - III - VII - i - V7 (first eight bars) i -V7 - VII - III - VII - i,V7 - i (second eight bars) I can understand how this progression ...
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Characteristic scale degrees

Came across an article at openMsicTheory.com about harmonic function. Below excerpt was about finding function of a chord Each of the three harmonic functions — tonic (T), subdominant (S), and ...
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Trouble reading roman numeral notation with flats

I am working my way through an article on transformations in rock harmony, but I am getting stuck trying to read the author's roman numeral analysis. I would really appreciate some help understanding ...
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is '4 minor' sub-dominant?

Of the 3 'functions' - Tonic / Sub-dominant / Dominant, which is '4 minor'? Is '4 minor', like 4, sub-dominant, or is it dominant? (Obviously, it's not a 'proper' dominant - but then, neither is iii, ...
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Diminished chord constructed over the tonic degree?

I have heard in certain songs the usage of a diminished chord in a major tonality which I think is not constructed over the seventh degree nor over the second degree. Moreover, in the two examples ...
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Lydian harmony: What chords are tonic (T), subdominant (S), and dominant (D)?

The Lydian mode is the brightest-sounding mode and I am interested in how to utilize it. Diatonic chords in Lydian = I, II, iii, ivø, V, vi, vii What chords are tonic, subdominant, and dominant, in ...
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How can I modulate the distance of a tritone using 3 secondary dominant chords?

So, I have been composing this "Requiem for String Quartet" on and off for a few weeks now. I call it a Requiem because of its dramatic arc through lamenting melancholy, painful harshness, ...
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ii-V-I versus I-IV-V

The I-IV-V progression is used in a lot of blues, rock, folk, country and pop music, while jazz music tends to favor the ii-V-I. I am aware that the ii and IV chords are both subdominant and they ...
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Alternative theories of harmony

Do you know of any alternative (to functional) descriptive theories of harmony or attempts at creating them? By that I mean attempts to explain both functional and non-functional harmonies in a ...
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In my reading, a criticism that I have heard leveled against Neo-Riemannian theory is that it does not explain the smooth chromatic voice-leading possible in the iv - I instance of the plagal ...
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Letters m, n and v above roman numerals in functional harmony notation

I'm reading a functional harmony textbook and found the notation in the following passage confusing: Consecutive VI and VII degrees in melody are harmonised with chords IV-VII6 (in minor: IVm-VII6) ...
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Usage of augmented fourth in minor key: what is the diatonic function?

The piece Für Elise uses a D♯ in the key of A minor in the first bar, which is an augmented fourth above the tonic of A. (I'm focusing on the first part, up to halfway through bar 23 in this score.) D♯...
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Understanding function of diminished chord in Paganini's 4th caprice

I'm trying to understand this simple progression in the middle of Paganini's 4th caprice. This seems like I-?-I-V7-I in Eb major, but I am unable to figure out what the function of the second chord is....
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Can I use the chord progression i - v - VII - iv? (Am - Em - G - Dm : in A minor scale)

I'm currently studing and learning about functional harmony and chord progressions. I tried the chord progression i - v - VII - iv (A natural minor scale : Am - Em - G - Dm7/A) and get a nice and ...
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Guidelines for writing a chord progression

I am trying to understand how does notes relate to each other when writing a chord progression. I understand that when composing on a Major scale chords acquire a function depending on the degree of ...
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what's the role of Ebmaj7 on this Ebmaj7 D7#9 Gm9 progression?

I'm trying to understand this chord progression: Ebmaj7 D7#9 Gm9 Ebmaj7 F#dim7 Gm9 Bb13 I know from D7#9 to Gm9, that's a V-i. But where's the Ebmaj7 coming from? Does it come from the relative major ...
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Analysis of a jazz chord progression

Can you please explain the role of that Em7b5 in the following jazz progression in terms of functional harmony? | Cm7 | Em7b5 | Bbmaj7 | G7 |
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How do you define Harmonic Retrogression with regard to intensity?

I was doing some practice problems in the AP Barron's Music Theory book, and one of the practice problems asks: “When harmonies within a phrase move from a strong intensity to a less strong intensity [...
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What is the function of the non diatonic chords in this intro?

I am trying to understand the harmony of this intro of a song but I can't seem to make sense of it. The song is in C and the intro is four bars: | C | Ebmaj7 Dm7 | C | Ab Gm7 And then ...
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Use of the VI and v chord in a minor key, subdominant and dominant functional use?

I have a couple of questions related to chord function in natural minor. I have been playing around with chord functions and how they relate to each other. The first chord I am confused by is the ...
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Bach prelude in C major: unresolved suspension?

I know that in the common practice style, even in free composition where guidelines don't apply strictly, a dissonant suspension must resolve. In the WTC 1 prelude in C major, bar 20 is a C dominant ...
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Why did the natural major scale and the minor scales come to dominate common practice music? [duplicate]

I suspect that it might have something to do with tonality and functional harmony. A diminished or augmented tonic chord, due to dissonance, would be less satisfying and conclusive as the final chord ...
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How to determine the degree to which diminished seventh chords and half-diminished seventh chords belong in major scales?

I would like to know how to determine to which degree belongs diminished seventh chords and half-diminished seventh chords in major scales, and which function do they exert. As the fully diminished ...
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Esus4 in the key of C. How can I use it?

Recently I've discovered that Esus4 chord can be built by using notes from C major scale (Esus4 notes: E-A-B - no 'sharps' or 'flats'). But I don't know how can I use the chord in the keys of C or Am ...
139 views

Harmony exercise, enharmonic equivalence

I'm studying from Walter Piston's book Harmony (5th Ed) so that I'm prepared before the semester starts at UNA. Exercise 6.D asks: "For each one of the following intervals, name at least two ...
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Does V42 only resolve to I6 or can it move to V7 forming a stepwise bass?

If the chordal 7th needs to resolve down by step then I understand why V42 should move to I6 but cant chords be expanded and the dissonant 7th in a 7th chord move to another voice for example from the ...
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Chromatic Functional Harmony (Musical Theory of Everything)

When I started studying music theory, I was fascinated by functional harmony. I loved learning why certain chords naturally tend to lead toward certain other chords and why so many chord progressions ...
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Hindemith's Traditional harmony Book 1, Chapter II, rule 1

I recently started working my way through Hindemith's Traditional harmony Book 1 on my own. The instructions are short and simple, but sometimes too much so for a self-learner. I have reached ...
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What did Schoenberg mean with this?

A couple of years ago I decided to formalize my harmony studies (I'm a mathematician) by reading Schoenberg's book Theory of Harmony, however I left it since it felt a little too difficult for my ...
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How to analyze mm. 5-8 in the first movement of Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 8

Everything makes sense until mm. 5. It looks like it moves from c minor to Eb major. Suppose we're in Eb major starting at mm. 5 From the end of mm. 5 to the very beginning of mm. 6, it's a vii°7/vi ...
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When does one omit the fifth in V7 chord in classical harmony?

The textbooks on classical harmony that I have read (Leo Semlek, "Klassikalise harmoonia lühiõpik" ["A Short Textbook on Classical Harmony"] and "Klassikalise harmoonia õpik" ["A Textbook on Classical ...
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flattened-seventh chord function [duplicate]

I this post, I received some information on the usage of a flattened-seventh chord in progressions, which, along with the flattened-third, seem to be popular choices in the rock world to add flavor. ...
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where does the dominant IV7 (ie; F7 in the key of CMaj) come from?

So, I'm learning to get "outside" chords, by borrowing from parallel scales. Other chords are available by taking the secondary dominants of different degrees. For example, to get EMaj while ...
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Why is the G major to Bb major resolution so strong?

So, about a year ago, I composed a nocturne in Bb. And I used this harmonic progression in the B sections of it: Bb -> Eb -> C -> F -> Gm -> G ->Bb Now, out of the 7 chords in this progression(6 ...
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The 2nd flat in a minor chord progression

If I have the following chord progression in a song in key of Bm: Bm G A Bm and then in the bridge a C major chord jumps in the progression, as below: ... D G A (C) Bm.... (C introduces the ...
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Diminished seventh spelling but functioning as an Augmented Sixth?

I know that there are many ways to resolve a diminished seventh chord, but only a few ways to resolve an augmented sixth chord. I have done modulations from the minor tonic to the major subtonic using ...
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