Table of Contents
Section 6: Bibliography
1. The dominant chords of a key tonicize the tonic. A secondary dominant is a chord that tonicizes a note other than tonic. It serves as V of another note.
2. The chords that function as a dominant in a key are V, V7, vii°, vii°7, and the half diminished seventh chord. Therefore, these are the chord types that serve as secondary dominants as well.
3. Standard practice for indicating a secondary dominant is V/vi (for example), where V indicates the quality and function of the actual chord as it relates to vi. vi indicates the position of the new tonic (or temporary tonic) as it relates to the prevailing key. For example, in C major, V/vi indicates an E major triad (V of A) which serves to tonicize vi in C major, which is A.
In the example below, in the key of D minor, notice that the secondary dominant figure shows the inversion. In the key of D, V is A. The dominant of A is E, and the secondary dominant chord here is E major. (One might consider the D in the upper voice, last eighth note of measure 17, to be the seventh of the chord. In this case, the chord would be labeled V4-3/V. However, this analysis considers this to be a passing tone figure, the D sounding off of the beat and leading directly to a chord tone on the downbeat.)
Some theorists will allow for other chords to be shown in their relation to
another tonic like this: iv/vi. Do not confuse this with a secondary
dominant. The iv is not a dominant chord. In C major, this figure
indicates the chord that is in the subdominant relationship to A, vi in C
major. That chord is D minor. The use of this figure may be to show
a common chord or pivot chord (see the chapter on modulation for an explanation
of these terms).
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