(musTh211) Review Materials: Writing and Resolving V7 Chords

Resolving The Dominant Seventh Chord

Both Chords Complete

  • Both chords can be complete only if the leading tone is not in the soprano.
  • The chordal seventh (ˆ4) always resolves to scale degree ˆ3, downward by step. There are no exceptions!
  • If the leading tone of a V7 occurs in an inner voice, it will normally leap downward to ˆ5. (ˆ7 to ˆ5)
  • Scale degree ˆ2 always resolves to ˆ1.
  • The basic summary:

7th (ˆ4) —> (ˆ3) third
5th (ˆ2) —> (ˆ1) root
3rd (ˆ7) —> (ˆ5) fifth
root (ˆ5)—> (ˆ1) root

Note that all the upper voices (SAT) resolve downward in this situation.

If the leading tone is in the soprano, then it must resolve up by step (ˆ7 – ˆ8). If both V7 and I are in root position, then either the V7 or the I must be incomplete.

Incomplete V7

  • Incomplete V7 chords omit the fifth, doubling the root.
  • All tendency tones resolve (chordal seventh and Leading Tone).
  • The doubled root (not in bass) allows for a common tone between V7 and I.

7th (ˆ4) —>(ˆ3) third
3rd (ˆ7) —>(ˆ1) root
root (ˆ5)—>(ˆ5) fifth
root/bass (ˆ5)—>(ˆ1) root


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