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Old 02-07-2013, 01:55 AM   #1
mikeman
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Playing the 3rd chord as dominant in major key

why can you play the 3rd chord dominant in a major key and it fits pretty well? for example play G then B7 then C and its a pretty nice chord progression. just wondering if theres any theory behind this. Thanks!!!
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:19 AM   #2
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Well you can play anything you want in a key, chord or note. B7 only has one out-of-key note so it fits good.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:22 AM   #3
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Usually it resolves to the submediant. It's a pretty nice, somewhat unexpected way to get to 6 in a major key. So the next chord in your progression would be an E minor. Or major, if you're on that "All of Me" steez
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:53 AM   #4
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didnt quite understand, id like to know more. youre awesome, thanks!
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:58 AM   #5
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B7 is the dominant of E minor and major, using secondary dominants to switches keys is common.
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Old 02-07-2013, 04:13 AM   #6
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He's not asking about resolving B7 to Em, he's asking about going from B7 to C.

TS, it works as a kind of alteration of the I chord. If you look at the notes of G major (or Gmaj7), you have G B D (F#). If C is the next chord, B and F# resolve upward by a half-step and D resolves up by a whole-step. If you look at a B major chord, you have B D# F#, which all resolve up by a half-step. Half-steps are generally stronger resolutions than whole steps because of the tension they create.

Root motion up by a half-step or up by a third are generally frowned upon in classical theory because of voiceleading issues that arise, but this is pretty common in modern popular genres.

You could also just see it as an unresolved secondary dominant. The "expected" resolution would be an Em, but instead you're just going to a C (which in fact has two notes in common).
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:40 AM   #7
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A B7-C would be what we call a non-resolving dominant, in other words a doiminant 7 chord that doesn't resolve to its usual I chord (B7-E). Non-resolving dominants should be treated as lydian dominant, so the chord could be voiced as B7#11 for a more modern sound.

As for why it works, well its a semitonal resolution, which can work in lots of different scenarios. For example, try resolving from a Dbmaj7 to a Cmaj7. Sounds pretty cool huh? Bill Evans used to do this a lot
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:40 AM   #8
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God, I should know more about this.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:06 AM   #9
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It's a deceptive cadence that lands you on the IV chord. V/vi resolving to IV. This gesture is featured prominently in the Grateful Dead song "Deal".

Last edited by cdgraves : 02-07-2013 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:34 PM   #10
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interesting. is B7 to Em in the key of G a good progression mostly because of root motion then? or is there more to it than this? or does the B7 chord trick the listener into thinking that the key was changed to E major and then resolves it to E minor which puts you back in the key of G?
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:15 PM   #11
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^ The B7 is just a secondary dominant. Yeah, it kind of modulates to E minor for two chords (B7 and Em) and comes back to G major. But I wouldn't call that a modulation. The most usual secondary dominants are V7/V (D7 in C major), V7/vi (E7 in C major) and V7/IV (C7 in C major, resolves to F). The chord after the slash is the chord the secondary dominant resolves to.

Here it just doesn't resolve to Em. So as people have said, it's a non-resolving dominant.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:33 PM   #12
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You use secondary dominants when you want it to sound like the harmony is actually changing within the progression, not just cycling through diatonic chords in-key. It's called Tonicization.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:08 PM   #13
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I never realized that you could use chords out of key in this way. Also I don't see how B7 is in the key of E minor, I thought only Bm was in the key of E minor. How is B7 in E minor? Where can I find out more about these types of chord progressions? Is there a book somewhere that you guys learn from? Is there a list somewhere of different chords you can use in a key similar to secondary dominant? Id like to know of more of these types of chord changes to add to my arsenal when songwriting. Thanks!
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:14 PM   #14
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B7 in Em (V7 in roman numeral notation) is derived from the harmonic minor scale.

Well, more accurately, the harmonic minor scale is derived from the V7 chord. If you look at a major key, you'll see that the V7 chord has a very strong resolution to the I. This is because it utilizes the leading tone (the 7th scale degree), which would be D# in E major. Half-step resolutions are generally strong resolutions and this one is particularly strong because it creates a dissonance directly to the tonic.

So basically you just transfer this theory into a minor key. Take the 7th in a minor key and raise it by a half-step and you have a leading tone (rather than a sub-tonic).

I'd suggest looking into basic diatonic harmony. There are plenty of resources online (including on this site).
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:14 PM   #15
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B7 is the V in Em. Keys aren't defined by what diatonically occurs from the parent scale of the key.

The foundational chord movement in tonal music is V-I. The minor key doesn't diatonically have a leading tone, so we raise the third of the V at cadence points.

You can use any chord in any time...the most basic chromatic harmony concepts are secondary dominants, secondary leading tone chords, augmented 6ths, and borrowed chords. Search for these on wiki for a breakdown on how to effectively use them in the context of a key.

Edit; ^ god dammit
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:16 PM   #16
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hang on i think i understand. lets say im in the key of g and i want to go from g to c. i can instead go g, g7, c and use the g7 in this case to resolve to c without changing key?
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:20 PM   #17
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Yeah that would be one way to do it. I to IV is a pretty straightforward chord change, but that would definitely strengthen it.

It depends on the context, but this would be considered a tonicization of the IV chord (V/IV), which would in essence change the key temporarily to C major (or permanently if you wanted).
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:21 PM   #18
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wow thanks
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:24 PM   #19
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are there any other concepts such as chromatic harmony concepts, secondary dominants, secondary leading tone chords, augmented 6ths, and borrowed chords that i should wiki? or just anything related to chord changes? such as jazz chord changes like in the song home by michael buble where the chorus goes C Em A C D in the key of G? what is the A doing there? just a thought thanks a lot again
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:47 PM   #20
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in the song yesterday by the beatles, the chords are g, f#m, B7, em. this looks like the V7 I trick in the key of E harmonic minor. does the f#m serve to strengthen the change to B7? what is this technique/concept called?
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