III. Modulation and Chromatic Harmony

27. Applied Chords


27.1 Introduction

When analyzing tonal music, you will very frequently encounter chords that include non-diatonic pitches—pitches that do not belong to the key at hand. Some of them, like the common-tone fully-diminished seventh chords discussed toward the end of Chapter 23, arise from voice-leading procedures and expand a reference sonority. We will now look at another set of sonorities, known as applied chords, which also enrich the harmonic vocabulary by incorporating chromatically altered pitches.

Applied chords are modeled on familiar dominant-function chords (V, V7, viio, viio7, and viiø7) and suggest a temporary tonic function for some chord other than the global tonic (or home key). The momentary highlighting of such a pseudo-tonic by means of a pseudo-dominant chord is called tonicization. This is similar to modulation—a more substantial shift to a new key area—but differs in both scope and effect.

In this chapter, we will first discuss the difference between tonicization and modulation. That distinction is essential for understanding how applied chords work. We will then look at several examples of applied dominant chords and applied leading-tone chords as well as related voice-leading issues. (A more detailed discussion of modulation may be found in Chapter 28.)

27.2 Modulation vs. tonicization

Tonicization occurs when a chord other than the global tonic is heard momentarily, or in passing, as a rival tonic. By contrast, a modulation establishes a new key more enduringly, generally as a sign of large-scale structural organization, sometimes even leading to a change in key signature. Tonicization and modulation are most clearly differentiated by duration and structural significance. A tonicization is brief, lasting from two or three chords to a phrase, and is not a factor in a work’s overall structure. A modulation, on the other hand, takes hold for a longer period, usually prevailing for an entire section, and is a factor in a work’s overall structure.

Because modulation entails a change of key, it almost always has one or more key-defining cadences, among them often a perfect authentic cadence. In the case of a tonicization, although the resolution of an applied chord sounds cadential, the tonicized chord soon loses its pseudo-tonic function and reverts to its diatonic function, with no change of key.

You may have come across such terms as “implied tonic” or “temporary tonic” to identify and describe the chord being tonicized. In these chapters we will use “pseudo-tonic.” This terminology reflects the fact that the chord being tonicized retains its function in terms of the global key. It is made to sound like a tonic, but the effect is fleeting and the chord never actually attains a true tonic function.

As you will see in later chapters, applied chords can be used to initiate a modulation. For now, we will limit our discussion to tonicizations.

Note: Applied chords are also frequently referred to as “secondary dominants.” This reflects the fact that they have a dominant function, but in some key other than the global tonic, or, primary key.

Activity 27-1

Activity 27–1

Being able to distinguish tonicizations from modulations can be difficult. In this exercise, you will be given two hypothetical situations. One of them describes a tonicization, the other a modulation. It is up to you to decide which is which.


Exercise 27–1:

Question

Situation 1: You are analyzing a song written for voice and piano. The song begins in G major and stays there for two whole stanzas. In the third stanza, however, you notice that the Ds have consistently become D#s. The third stanza ends with a perfect authentic cadence on an E-minor chord. The fourth stanza ends the same way. The D#s become absent for the fifth and final stanza which ends conclusively in G major.

Situation 2: “You are analyzing a movement from a symphony. The movement is in Bb major, but towards the end you come across a single C-major chord. This chord leads immediately to an F-major harmony, and for a moment, this pair of chords seems to imply an F-major tonality. This sense does not last long, however, as the F-major chord quickly moves on to a Bb-major chord. The harmony then alternates several times between F-major and Bb-major chords, lending a strong sense of repose to end the movement.”

Which of these situations describes a tonicization and which describes a modulation?

Hint

Remember, modulations tend to have several key-defining cadences while tonicizations are temporary.

Answer

Situation 1 describes a modulation; Situation 2 describes a tonicization.

27.3 Applied dominant chords

The pervasive dominant/tonic relationship is the most important, defining characteristic of tonal music. Tonicization is possible precisely because that harmonic relationship is so common and familiar. Most listeners will immediately recognize the link between an applied dominant and the chord being tonicized.

In the following example, a V chord is tonicized by an applied dominant. The progression is labeled with Roman numerals “I – V/V – V” (to be read out loud as “one, five of five, five”).

The dominant in C major is a G-major chord (the V on beat three). The applied chord is formed from the pitches of the key implied by the pseudo-tonic. Since a G-major chord is being tonicized, the applied dominant is built from the pitches of the dominant chord in G major, the pseudo-tonic key. (As mentioned above, the chord being tonicized is referred to as a pseudo-tonic because in the larger context, it does not have tonic function. In Example 27–1 the V on beat three is still the dominant.) The dominant of G major is a D major chord. Thus, the applied dominant to G major has the pitches D, F#, and A. As you can see in Example 27–1, the applied chord resolves normatively as if in the key of the pseudo-tonic. Most importantly, the key-defining temporary leading tone, F#, resolves up by semitone to the pseudo-tonic keynote, G.

Note: One might be tempted to label the second chord with an uppercase Roman numeral “II” (a major triad built on scale degree 2). This would be problematic for two reasons. First, diatonic chords built on scale degree 2 are never major. They may be minor (as in major keys) or diminished (as in minor keys), but would require at least one foreign pitch class (#4) to appear as major. In other words “II” will not sound like any familiar supertonic harmony. More importantly, to label the chord “II” would undermine the important relationship it shares with the chord that follows. The tonicization, in other words, would be concealed by the analysis.

The voice-leading from V/V to V in Example 27–1 can be explained using the same methods outlined in Chapter 12. The primary interval progression is formed by the bass and tenor: 5–8 as the bass leaps down from D to G and the tenor steps up from A to B. The alto harmonizes in parallel sixths with the tenor and the soprano forms an oblique 6–5 progression with the alto. These patterns are shown in Example 27–2:

Applied chords are readily identifiable because they contain chromatic pitches. In Example 27–1, the V/V contains an F#. F# is the leading tone in G major and its presence in the applied dominant is indispensable for implying pseudo-tonic status for the G major chord. Were it not for the F#, the listener would have no reason to suspect anything other than a diatonic chord progression. As with any chromatic pitch, temporary leading tones in applied dominants must be treated carefully. Ideally, the chromatic pitch should be approached by step, taking care to avoid linear augmented intervals (scale degree 3 to #4 in minor, for example), and to resolve dissonances according to established, conventional interval progressions.

Tonicization of the V chord with an applied dominant triad occurs very frequently in tonal music. The following example shows a progression with V/V resolving to V in G major:

Example 27–3. Johann Sebastian Bach, “Menschenkind, merk eben” (BWV 318), mm. 3–6.

example_27-3

It will help you in identifying tonicizations of V to notice that scale degree 4 (the C# in m. 2) is a semitone higher than usual. Raised scale degree 4 is a half-step away from scale degree 5. Scale degree 4 must be raised in an applied chord in order to function as a leading tone to V.

Activity 27-2

Activity 27–2

In this activity, you will be presented with a series of chorale excerpts, each containing a tonicization of the dominant. For each exercise, first identify the leading tone, then label the chord with the appropriate Roman numeral (e.g., V/V).


Exercise 27–2a:

Question

In the following excerpt, identify a temporary leading tone:

Johann Sebastian Bach, Jesu, nun sei gepreiset (BWV 41), 6. “Dein ist allein die Ehre,” mm. 3–4.

activity_27-2a

Answer

F# in the bass, pickup to m. 3

Follow-up question

In the global key of C major, how should the chord containing this temporary leading tone be labeled?

Answer
Johann Sebastian Bach, Jesu, nun sei gepreiset (BWV 41), 6. “Dein ist allein die Ehre,” mm. 3–4.

activity_27-2a_answer


Exercise 27–2b:

Question

In the following excerpt, identify a temporary leading tone:

Johann Sebastian Bach, Schwingt freudig euch empor (BWV 36), 4. “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern,” m. 1-4.

activity_27-2b

Answer

C# in the soprano, m. 3

Follow-up question

In the global key of G major, how should the chord containing this temporary leading tone be labeled?

Answer
Johann Sebastian Bach, Schwingt freudig euch empor (BWV 36), 4. “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern,” m. 1-4.

activity_27-2b_answer


Exercise 27–2c:

Question

In the following excerpt, identify a temporary leading tone:

Johann Sebastian Bach, Süsser Trost, mein Jesus kömmt (BWV 151), 5. “Heut schleußt er wieder auf die Tür,” mm. 1–4.

activity_27-2c

Answer

C# in tenor, m. 3

Follow-up question

In the global key of G major, how should the chord containing this temporary leading tone be labeled?

Answer
Johann Sebastian Bach, Süsser Trost, mein Jesus kömmt (BWV 151), 5. “Heut schleußt er wieder auf die Tür,” mm. 1–4.

activity_27-2c_answer


Exercise 27–2d:

Question

In the following excerpt, identify a temporary leading tone:

Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannespassion (BWV 245), 11. “Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod,” mm. 1–4.

activity_27-2d

Answer

D# in the soprano, m. 2

Follow-up question

In the global key of A major, how should the chord containing this temporary leading tone be labeled?

Answer
Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannespassion (BWV 245), 11. “Jesu Leiden, Pein und Tod,” mm. 1–4.

activity_27-2d_answer

Tonicizations using V/V appear very frequently in tonal Western art music and composers voice these progressions in a number different ways. Consider the following example:

Example 27–4. Joseph Haydn, Divertimento in D major (Hob.XVI:19), III. Assai allegro, mm. 1–8.

example_27-4

This example shows the same basic progression as the one shown in Example 27–3, but here the composer uses just two voices, one note at a time. Notice that V/V is inverted (V6/V) and how #4 is introduced as a chromatic passing tone in the lower voice.

The examples above show applied dominant triads, but applied chords can also incorporate a chordal seventh:

The major-minor seventh sonority is used more often than the triad because it has an immediately and unmistakably recognizable dominant function. (As discussed in Chapter 18, the dominant seventh chord is the only diatonic major-minor seventh chord.) In other words on hearing a major-minor seventh, we instinctively assign it a dominant function. That instinct is confirmed when the chord resolves to the pseudo-tonic—as it does from the second to the third beat in Example 27–5. As in Example 27–1, the applied dominant seventh in Example 27–5 resolves as it would in the key of G major. Most importantly, the leading tone resolves up by step and the chordal seventh down. (Refer to Chapter 19 to review conventional treatment of dominant seventh chords.)

Applied dominant seventh chords resolve according to the same conventions of basic interval progressions presented in Chapter 12 and Chapter 18. In Example 27–5, the diminished fifth (F# and C) formed by alto and soprano in the applied dominant contract to form a major third (d5–M3). The soprano and tenor illustrate basic interval progression 3–3, alto and tenor 6–8, and tenor and bass the special cadential progression 5–8.

The following example shows a progression with V6/5/V tonicizing V.

Example 27–7. Jane Mary Guest, “Ah quando torni al core,” mm. 9–12.

example_27-7

In Example 27–7, despite the applied chord appearing in inversion (V6/5/V), the tendency tones resolve in the same manner as the progression in Example 27–6: G and Bb (scale degrees 2 and 4 in the tonicized key) step down, while the pseudo-leading tone (E§) resolves up to the pseudo-tonic.

Activity 27-3

Activity 27–3

Applied dominant seventh chords resolve according to the same conventions as diatonic dominant seventh chords. In this activity, you will analyze the voice leading in a series of brief progressions, each containing an applied dominant seventh chord.


Exercise 27–3a:

Question

Is the voice leading in the following example correct as V7/V resolves to V? If not, how should it be adjusted?

Hint

One of the voices in the V7/V chord does not resolve correctly.

Answer

No. There is a problem with the voice leading. G does not actually belong to the V chord in G major. Resolving to D is a much better choice (tenor should be D instead of G).


Exercise 27–3b:

Question

Is the voice leading in the following example correct as V7/V resolves to V? If not, how should it be adjusted?

Hint

One of the voices in the V7/V chord does not resolve correctly.

Answer

No. There is a problem with the voice leading. The seventh of the applied dominant seventh chord should resolve down by step (alto should be E instead of G).


Exercise 27–3c:

Question

Is the voice leading in the following example correct as V7/V resolves to V? If not, how should it be adjusted?

Answer

Yes. All of the voices in the V7/V chord resolve correctly.


Exercise 27–3d:

Question

Is the voice leading in the following example correct as V7/V resolves to V? If not, how should it be adjusted?

Hint

One of the voices in the V7/V chord does not resolve correctly.

Answer

No. There is a problem with the voice leading. The leading tone of applied dominant should resolve to the temporary tonic (soprano should be F instead of C).

Depending on the instrumentation and other contextual considerations, composers do not always follow voice-leading conventions as closely as in the progressions shown above. This is particularly true when multiple melodic voices are played by a single instrument, such as the piano in the following example:

Example 27–8. Augusta Browne, “The Courier Dove,” mm. 1–8.

example_27-8

Example 27–8 shows two tonicizations using V7/V, the second of which resolves to a dominant seventh chord in the global tonic. Some of the typical voice-leading conventions appear intact—the pseudo-leading tone Bn resolving to C in mm. 3–4, for example—whereas others are absent due to the figuration in the piano part.

An applied chord itself may also be expanded. The following example shows a tonicization of V with a V/V preceded by a cadential 6/4 chord:

The sixth and fourth above the bass resolve downwards by step—just as they would in a typical cadential progression—creating the applied dominant harmony before resolving to the tonicized V. The same progression appears in the following two examples:

Example 27–10. Louise Farrenc, 20 Etudes de moyenne Difficulté pour Piano (Op. 42), No. 18, mm. 4–13.

example_27-10

Example 27–11. Frances Arkwright, “Battle of the Baltic,” mm. 7–10.

example_27-11

Although other chords besides V may be tonicized (more on this below), tonicization of the dominant is a special case. The following example shows a common progression from the tonic to the dominant through a pre-dominant ii chord:

Compare Example 27–1 and Example 27–12. As you can see, the only difference is the alto’s second note (F in Example 27–12 instead of F#). V/V may be considered a chromatically modified ii chord as it often appears in harmonic progressions as a replacement for ii . In other words, in their tonicizing function applied dominants may serve as pre-dominants.

An applied dominant can also enhance the pre-dominant function, as it does in the following two examples, where the diatonic pre-dominant function is subsequently intensified when one of its members is chromatically altered to create a tonicizing applied dominant.

The following example shows a progression in which a diatonic IV chord moves through V7/V before resolving to V:

Example 27–15.Augusta Browne, “Mary Lyle,” mm. 9–14.

example_27-15

By simply raising the root of the IV chord (Eb to E§) and dropping the bass down to C, the diatonic IV chord is transformed into a secondary dominant.

Activity 27-4

Activity 27–4

As seen in Example 27–13 and Example 27–14, applied chords are closely-related to pre-dominant chords and can enhance the pre-dominant function. In each of the following examples, alter one of the pitches of the pre-dominant chord to create an applied dominant or leading-tone chord.


Exercise 27–4a:

Question

In the following example, change one of the notes in the pre-dominant chord on beat three to create a V6/5/V:

Answer

(Raising the bass to B§ changes the ii6/5 chord into a V6/5/V.)


Exercise 27–4b:

Question

In the following example, change one of the notes in the pre-dominant chord on beat three to create a viio/V:

Answer

(Raising the bass to C§ changes the IV chord into a viio/V.)


Exercise 27–4c:

Question

In the following example, change one of the notes in the pre-dominant chord on beat three to create a V6/5/V:

Answer

(Raising the soprano to E§ changes the ii7 chord into a V6/5/V.)


Exercise 27–4d:

Question

In the following example, change one of the notes in the pre-dominant chord on beat three to create a viio6/V:

Answer

(Raising the soprano to G# changes the IV6 chord into viio6/V.)

27.4 Applied leading-tone chords

In addition to applied dominant chords, applied leading-tone chords are also quite common. The following example is similar to Example 27–1, but this time the leading-tone triad borrowed from the dominant key tonicizes the V chord.

The leading-tone chord resolves normatively, as it would in the key of G major. (Refer to Chapter 16 for a discussion of the leading-tone chord.) Most importantly, the leading tone (F#) steps up to the pseudo-tonic (G). The voice-leading from viio6/V to V6 adheres to the basic intervals progressions from Chapter 12. The tenor and alto ascend with the bass, respectively forming parallel 6–6 and 3–3 progressions, while the octave formed by the bass and soprano resolves inwards to a minor sixth (8–6).

As with any viio6 chord, a tritone occurs in viio6/V as a resultant interval formed by voices that are consonant with the bass. In Example 27–6, the tritone formed by the tenor and alto (F# and C respectively) resolves in similar motion to a perfect fifth (G and D). Chapter 16, on the viio chord, illustrates the guiding 3–3 progression between the bass and an upper voice.

In this case, the tritone could not resolve to a major third (G and B), because to do so would be to double the leading tone of C major in the V6 chord, resulting in forbidden parallel octaves when both leading tones (7) resolve to 8.

Applied leading-tone triads are also abundant in the tonal repertoire. The following example shows a tonicization of V using viio6/V:

Example 27–18. Johann Sebastian Bach, “Gott lebet noch, Seele, was verzagst du doch?” (BWV 320), mm. 1–2.

example_27-18

In Example 27–18, the tritone occurs between the soprano and the alto as an augmented fourth. It resolves properly with both voices ascending by step to form a perfect fourth.

Like the related applied dominant chord, applied leading-tone chords may also include a chordal seventh. Fully-diminished applied leading-tone chords are common even when tonicizing major triads because of their immediately recognizable sonority. (Half-diminished seventh chords are less common and can only be used to tonicize major triads.) The following example tonicizes the V chord with a fully-diminished leading-tone chord:

The rules for resolving diatonic leading-tone sevenths chords also hold for resolving applied leading-tone sevenths. (Refer to Chapter 18 for discussion of leading-tone seventh chord treatment.) Both tritones must resolve properly according to the basic interval progressions involving a tritone, as outlined in Chapter 16. In this case, the bass and tenor (F# and C respectively) form a diminished fifth. This tritone is resolved normatively to a major third. The alto and soprano meanwhile (Eb and A respectively) form a diminished fourth. This tritone also resolves normatively, in similar motion to a perfect fourth:

Note the adherence to basic interval progressions between the other voice pairs. The bass and soprano follow a 10–8 progression while the tenor moves in parallel thirds and sixths with the alto and soprano respectively. As in Example 27–17, care must be taken to avoid doubling the leading tone in the V chord. Here, the A steps down to G instead of resolving up to B.

The following examples show applied leading-tone seventh chords tonicizing the dominant:

Example 27–21. Franz Schubert, “Erlkönig,” D 328, mm. 12–15.

example_27-21

Example 27–22.Fanny Hensel, 6 Lieder (Op. 9), 2. “Ferne,” mm. 1–7.

example_27-22

In m. 14 of Example 27–21 we find an applied fully-diminished chord tonicizing V. As you can see, all of the usual considerations for resolving a fully-diminished chord remain the same. The diminished fifth formed by C# and G contracts inward to a major third, while the augmented fourth between Bb and E§ moves in similar motion to a perfect fourth. Example 27–22 follows suit, though here the applied leading-tone seventh chord appears in second inversion and therefore resolves to a dominant in first inversion.

Activity 27-5

Activity 27–5

Applied leading-tone chords resolve according to the same conventions as diatonic leading-tone chords. In this activity, you will analyze the voice leading in a series of brief progressions, each containing an applied leading-tone chord.


Exercise 27–5a:

Question

Is the voice leading in the following example correct as viio7/V resolves to V? If not, how should it be adjusted?

Answer

Yes. All of the voices in the viio7/V resolve properly.


Exercise 27–5b:

Question

Is the voice leading in the following example correct as viio7/V resolves to V? If not, how should it be adjusted?

Answer

No. One of the voices in the viio7/V chord does not resolve correctly. The alto must resolve down by step to F# (resolving the tritone formed by C# and G to a perfect fifth).


Exercise 27–5c:

Question

Is the voice leading in the following example correct as viio7/V resolves to V? If not, how should it be adjusted?

Answer

No. One of the voices in the viio7/V chord does not resolve correctly. Although the tritone formed by Ab and D would resolve to a major sixth, the soprano cannot move to E because to do so would double the leading tone in the V chord. Resolving to C is a much better choice.


Exercise 27–5d:

Question

Is the voice leading in the following example correct as viio7/V resolves to V? If not, how should it be adjusted?

Answer

Yes. All of the voices in the viio7/V resolve properly.

27.5 Other chords that may be tonicized

For the sake of clarity—and because V is the most commonly tonicized triad—all of the examples in this chapter so far have tonicized the dominant chord. However, applied dominants can also tonicize any diatonic major or minor triad. Thus in major keys ii, iii, IV, V, and vi can be tonicized, and in minor III, iv, v, VI, and VII.

Note: Diminished triads cannot represent or imply a key. For example, in A minor, one cannot tonicize the iio chord because there is no B-diminished key. It is for this reason that only major or minor triads can be tonicized.

The following example shows the tonicization of a ii chord:

Such tonicizations of chords other than V are common in tonal music. The following two examples show excerpts with tonicizations of ii—first with an applied V6/5 chord and then with an applied viio6/5 chord):

Example 27–24. Mathilde Marchesi, 12 Vocalises élémentaires (Op. 13), No. 3 in D major, mm. 1–10.

example_27-24

Example 27–25. Louise Farrenc, 20 Etudes de moyenne Difficulté pour Piano (Op. 42), No. 14, mm. 1–8.

example_27-25

Note how in both of the examples above, the tonicized ii chord retains its pre-dominant function and proceeds to a dominant chord in the global key.

Activity 27-6

Activity 27–6

Identify the applied fully-diminished seventh chords in each of the following excerpts and indicate the chords they are tonicizing.


Exercise 27–6a:

Question

The following excerpt contains an applied fully-diminished seventh chord. Where is it?

Johann Sebastian Bach, Prelude and Fugue 1 in C major (from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I), mm. 11–16.

activity_27-6a

Hint

Look for a temporary leading tone.

Answer

all of m. 12

Follow-up question

What chord does the applied fully-diminished seventh tonicize?

Hint

To which scale degree does the temporary leading tone (the root of the viio7 chord) resolve?

Answer

The ii chord in m. 13 is tonicized.


Exercise 27–6b:

Question

The following excerpt in Bb major contains an applied fully-diminished seventh chord. Where is it?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Fantasia in C minor (K.475), mm. 119–122.

activity_27-6b

Hint

Look for a temporary leading tone.

Answer

first beat of m. 122

Follow-up question

What chord does the applied fully-diminished seventh tonicize?

Hint

To which scale degree does the temporary leading tone (the root of the viio7 chord) resolve?

Answer

The applied chord tonicizes vi, emphasizing the deceptive cadence.


Exercise 27–6c:

Question

The following excerpt in G minor contains an applied fully-diminished seventh chord. Where is it?

Johann Sebastian Bach, “Was betrübst du dich, mein Herze” (BWV 423), mm. 15–16.

activity_27-6c

Hint

Look for a temporary leading tone.

Answer

fourth beat of m. 15

Follow-up question

What chord does the applied fully-diminished seventh tonicize?

Hint

To which scale degree does the temporary leading tone (the root of the viio7 chord) resolve?

Answer

The applied diminished seventh tonicizes the dominant harmony of m. 16.


Exercise 27–6d:

Question

The following excerpt in C major contains an applied fully-diminished seventh chord. Where is it?

Franz Schubert, “Ständchen” (D.889), mm. 34–38.

activity_27-6d

Hint

Look for a temporary leading tone.

Answer

all of m. 36 (Note: There is another applied leading-tone chord at the third eighth note of m. 37, but that chord is half-diminished.

Follow-up question

What chord does the applied fully-diminished seventh tonicize?

Hint

To which scale degree does the temporary leading tone (the root of the viio7 chord) resolve?

Answer

The applied chord tonicizes the ii chord in m. 37.

The vi chord can also be tonicized with applied chords. The following three examples show excerpts with tonicizations of vi:

Example 27–26. Augusta Browne, Strains of Many Lands, 1. “Lays of Caledonia,” mm. 6–13.

example_27-26

Example 27–27. Louise Farrenc, 20 Etudes de moyenne Difficulté pour Piano (Op. 42), No. 7, mm. 1–8.

example_27-27

Example 27–28. Sophie Gail, “Le serment,” mm. 7–14.

example_27-28

Example 27–26 tonicizes vi with a simple dominant triad (V/V) while 21–27 and 21–28 do the same with a V6/5/vi and a viio/vi, respectively.

Activity 27-7

Activity 27–7

In this activity, you will analyze the voice-leading of two passages containing tonicizations of vi to see if they conform to the voice-leading conventions outlined in previous chapters:


Exercise 27–7a:

Question

Identify the tritone in the viio6/vi following excerpt:

Johann Sebastian Bach, “Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit” (BWV 307), mm. 9–10.

activity_27-7a

Hint

G is a suspension in the alto voice.

Answer

C in the tenor and F# in the alto form an augmented fourth.

Follow-up question

To what interval does the tritone resolve?

Answer

perfect fourth (P4)

Follow-up question

Does the vi chord on the downbeat of m. 6 provide a valid resolution of the viio6/vi?

Answer

Yes. All of the voice-leading from viio6/vi to vi in this case is valid.


Exercise 27–7b:

Question

Identify both of the tritones in the viio7/vi following excerpt:

Clara Schumann, Einfache Praeludien für Schüler, No. 1.

activity_27-7b

Answer

C# and G form a diminished fifth, Bb and E form an augmented fourth.

Follow-up question

To what interval does the diminished fifth formed by C# and G resolve?

Answer

The diminished fifth formed by C# and G resolves to a minor third (m3). The augmented fourth formed by Bb and E resolves to a minor sixth (m6).

Follow-up question

Does the vi chord on the downbeat of m. 6 provide a valid resolution of the viio7/vi?

Answer

Yes. All of the voice-leading from viio7/vi to vi in this case is valid.

As mentioned above, for a sonority to be an applied chord it must have some kind chromatic alteration. Some progressions may at first resemble a tonicization. Consider the progression of a C-major triad to an F-major triad in a piece in C-major. One might be tempted to analyze this as V/IV–IV, implying that the F-major triad is being tonicized. To do so, however, would throw into question and compromise the functional centrality of the tonic.

Progressions such as these are not tonicizations, but rather represent inherent characteristics of the diatonic scale. To analyze this C-major chord as anything other than “I” would obscure its fundamental role as tonic. If, on the other hand, the sonority on beat one were a major-minor (dominant) seventh chord, a chromatic alteration would be required and the progression would be analyzed as follows:

In Example 27–30, the V7/IV resolves properly to the IV chord. The chordal seventh (Bb in the tenor) resolves down to A, forming 6–6 with the alto and an expanding tritone, A4–6, with the soprano, while the alto forms 6–8 with the soprano.

The following example shows a tonicization of IV, similar to Example 27–30. The Db in the soprano in m. 3 is essential for hearing the chord as an applied dominant seventh.

Example 27–31. Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Trio in Eb major (Op. 1, No. 1), I. Allegro, mm. 6–9.

example_27-31

Note: Example 27–29 and Example 27–30 make clear why it is important to distinguish between diatonic major chords and applied dominants. By definition, applied chords must contain chromatic alterations (typically leading tones borrowed from related keys). Analyzing the C-major triad in Example 27–29 as an applied dominant, for instance (V/IV), undermines the identity of a fundamental harmonic function: the tonic!

The VII chord in a minor key, however, is a special case. When VII, a diatonic major chord, leads to III, as it routinely does, VII sounds like an applied dominant leading to a pseudo-tonic. That sense is especially strong because III is the tonic of the relative major, which, in a minor key is a prominent rival tonic. Unlike other pseudo-tonics, it requires no chromatically-altered chords (i.e. no borrowed leading tones) in order to establish itself. A major VII chord thus sounds like a V/III, and VII7 like a V7/III. Further, depending on musical context, the diatonic iio and ii7 in a minor key may sound, respectively, like the viio/III and viiø7/III.

The strength of the III chord in minor keys as a rival tonic results in the possibility of diatonic chords—VII and VII7, iio and iiø7functioning as applied chords tonicizing III, even though they lack chromatic alterations. This is especially true of VII7 because it is immediately recognizable as a dominant seventh chord. Composers exploit this particular overlap between diatonic and applied chords in order to make smooth modulations from a minor key to its relative major. (See Chapter 28 for more on modulation to the relative major.) For the sake of clarity and uniformity, we will always label diatonic chords as such. We will therefore use VII, VII7, iio, and iiø7 instead of V/III, V7/III, viio/III, and viiø7/III, despite any tonicizing characteristics these chords may have.

Activity 27-8

Activity 27–8

In this activity, you will be asked to give the pitches for a variety of applied chords in various keys. You will then be asked to insert these chords into a SATB setting.


Exercise 27–8a:

Question

What pitch is in the bass of V6/5/V in A major?

Answer

D# is the bass of a V6/5/V in A major.

Follow-up question

What pitches are in the upper voices of V6/5/V in A major?

Answer

B, F# and A

Follow-up question

Complete the progression below by inserting the pitches of V6/5/V in A major into the most logical voices:

Hint

Remember to use accidentals for any chromatically-altered pitches.

Answer

Exercise 27–8b:

Question

What pitch is in the bass of V6/5/ii in Bb major?

Answer

B§ is the bass of a V6/5/ii in Bb major.

Follow-up question

What pitches are in the upper voices of V6/5/ii in Bb major?

Answer

G, D and F

Follow-up question

Complete the progression below by inserting the pitches of V6/5/ii in Bb major into the most logical voices:

Hint

Remember to use accidentals for any chromatically-altered pitches.

Answer

Exercise 27–8c:

Question

What pitch is in the bass of viio6/vi in G major?

Answer

F# is the bass of a viio6/vi in G major.

Follow-up question

What pitches are in the upper voices of viio6/vi in G major?

Answer

D# and A

Follow-up question

Complete the progression below by inserting the pitches of viio6/vi in G major into the most logical voices:

Hint

Remember to use accidentals for any chromatically-altered pitches.

Answer

Exercise 27–8d:

Question

What pitch is in the bass of V4/2/V in Ab major?

Answer

A is the bass of a V4/2/V in Ab major.

Follow-up question

What pitches are in the upper voices of V4/2/V in Ab major?

Answer

Bb, D§ and F

Follow-up question

Complete the progression below by inserting the pitches of V4/2/V in Ab major into the most logical voices:

Hint

Remember to use accidentals for any chromatically-altered pitches.

Answer

27.6 Applied chords as auxiliary sonorities

Applied chords may also appear as auxiliary sonorities used to expand a reference sonority. Consider the following example from the chapter off auxiliary sonorities (Chapter 23):

In Example 27–32, an auxiliary sonority coincidentally containing the pitches of a V6 chord is used to expand a vi chord. If the tenor were to include a chromatic lower neighbor note (A–G#–A), the following expansion would result:

In the above example, the auxiliary sonority coincidentally produces the pitches of the viio6 of A minor, tonicizing the reference chord, vi. Auxiliary sonorities can expand other reference sonorities as well. In the following example, a IV chord is expanded with an applied dominant seventh in first inversion:

Example 27–34. José Maurício Nunes Garcia, Libera me, mm. 28–36.

example_27-34

All of the notes in m. 3, save the Bb in the tenor voice, may be understood as neighbors to the tones of the surrounding IV chords.

27.7 Summary

It is essential to remember the difference between tonicization and modulation when interpreting and writing applied chords. Tonicization is a local-level procedure, modulation a global-level one, with large-scale structural significance for a work. The difference is evident both from the comparatively brief influence of pseudo-tonics, and from the quick reversion of tonicized chords to their expected diatonic functions.

Applied chords (or secondary dominants) highlight the arrival of diatonic chords by tonicizing them. They do this by simulating the readily recognizable and pervasive dominant-tonic relationship in tonal music, thereby imparting a pseudo-tonic meaning to diatonic chords other than the reigning tonic. When a tonicized triad leads to the subsequent chord, its native diatonic function emerges clearly. Ultimately, therefore, despite chromatic alterations applied chords actually strengthen the reigning tonality rather than weaken it.

Applied chords may be built on a root either a fifth above or semitone below the chord being tonicized, and may include a chordal seventh. They should resolve according to voice-leading modeled in the basic interval progressions.

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Fundamentals, Function, and Form by Andre Mount is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book