(musicTheory2) Lecture Notes: Secondary Dominants 2a

A few odds and ends from today’s (3/2) lecture:

  • Secondary dominants can resolve deceptively, just like a V7 – vi progression in a key. A deceptive resolution of a secondary dominant will resolve to a harmony with a root a third lower than the target temporary tonic. The most common secondary dominant deceptive progression is V7/vi moving to IV. V7/vi can also move to ii6, which has the same pre-dominant function as IV. (Note: V7/vi doesn’t move to ii in root position – only ii in first inversion.)
  • Secondary dominants can be either essential or embellishing.
    • An essential secondary dominant is one that substitutes for a tonic/predominant/dominant harmony. The typical example is V7/V substituting for ii. (If ii is present before the V7/V, then the secondary dominant is embellishing.) An essential secondary dominant is treated just like any other essential chord – the Roman numeral does NOT have parentheses, and the soprano and bass noteheads have stems.
    • Embellishing secondary dominants apply to all other cases. The Roman numerals are enclosed in parentheses, and the noteheads are stemless. Noteheads belonging to embellishing secondary dominants are slurred to their resolution (tonicized) chord. Nothing slurs TO the embellishing secondary dominant.


Leave a Reply