Using Secondary Dominant Chords
We’ve already learned how a V7 chord cadences to a I chord. To create tension and motion in a chord progression, we can mimic this cadence by build a dominant 7 chord a perfect fifth above any diatonic chord, as long a the root of that dominant chord happens to be a diatonic pitch. Therefore, the VIIdim is the only chord which may not have a secondary dominant. It is analyzed as V7/x where x is the diatonic chord a fifth below the dominant to which it resolves.
For example, the IV chord in G is C and can proceeded by a G7, as G is a fifth above C and a diatonic pitch. This would be analyzed as V7/IV.
As another example, the VI- in C is A minor, which could be proceeded by an E7. This is analyzed as V7/VI-
Analyze the chord progression and circle the secondary dominants of the following popular songs.
“In My Life” by The Beatles
“First Day Of My Life” by Bright Eyes
“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
|G————— |Em7—————|G————— |Em7—————|
Pick a major key, write out its chord and then their secondary dominants. Use these chords to compose a song or chord progression with at least two secondary dominants.
I II- III- IV V VI- VIIdim
V7/I V7/II- V7/III- V7/IV V7/V V7/VI-
Now repeat the above exercise in a minor tonality.
I- IIdim bIII IV- V- (V7) bVI bVII
V7/I- V7/bIII V7/IV- V7/V- or V& V7/bVI V7/bVII