After digging about the music theory forum and using the search bar, I noticed that there is not much talk using roman numerals. Is this something that is avoided or just somthing that has become an antiquated notation system used mostly in higher music learning?

I grew up reading old music theory books that used roman numerals. I don't see that used much in commercially available music books these days.
It's used to notate chords in analysis. Using the rumerals I ii iii IV V vi viio in a major key and i iio III+ iv V vi viio in a minor key.

Any alterations are show via a sharp /flat sign or changing the numeral to an upper case/lower case one.
I was also wondering why this type of notations shows diminished chords but not dominant.
Quote by spiderjump
I was also wondering why this type of notations shows diminished chords but not dominant.

Diminished: viio
Dominant: vii7

They do. Dominant is just notated with x7 where as diminished is notated with a superscript o, or, if that's not an option, yo.

x = any upper case roman numeral
y = any lower case roman numeral

EDIT: Pillo's got it more right than me. It has to be a capital roman numeral with a 7 after it for it to be considered Dominant (V7). If it's a minor chord with a 7 after it (ii7) it's just a minor second chord.
Last edited by DiminishedFifth at Jun 28, 2010,
Quote by spiderjump
I was also wondering why this type of notations shows diminished chords but not dominant.

They can but normally people leave them as triads so the dominant is considered just a major triad.

You'd use V7 or ii7 if it was a minor 7th chord and so on.
And secondary chords are notated this way: The V chord of dorian being the P5 of D would be notated as G7 or IV7 in the key of C. Now if I wanted to use a secondary dominant in say...E Phrygian, the G is the third of E and that would be notated as G7 or III7?

The use of accidentals before roman numerals is confusing me a bit. By putting the use of accidentals in context would help clear clear up the confusion. Sorry if the above example is a bit confusing.
Quote by spiderjump
And secondary chords are notated this way: The V chord of dorian being the P5 of D would be notated as G7 or IV7 in the key of C. Now if I wanted to use a secondary dominant in say...E Phrygian, the G is the third of E and that would be notated as G7 or III7?

The use of accidentals before roman numerals is confusing me a bit. By putting the use of accidentals in context would help clear clear up the confusion. Sorry if the above example is a bit confusing.

I think you're confusing yourself.

Please don't bring modes into this (referring to the bolded). You could just say ii of C Major or D Minor. Which, by the way, the chord you're looking for would be A7 or VI7, not IV7. An example progression would be I vi *VI *VI7 *ii

And you don't need something to be V7 or IV7 for it to have a secondary function. I could have a progression that goes I IV V/V V. Of course, if the V/V was a V7/V it would be strengthened, but it doesn't have to be. You can also have a secondary function for ANY degree (save for the V because it already functions that way). I could go I V7/IV IV or even I vi V7/vi VI.

I don't even understand what you're trying to say with the example... but I think you're asking if we would notate it in roman numerals or letters? If you're analyzing a modal progression (for maybe species counterpoint studies) you would give the tonic of the mode the i or I and then do everything from that, so yes, the G7 would indeed be a III7. That would be a very stupid chord to use in Phrygian though since it very obviously wants to move to the C.

* This progression could easily be many things: I vi V/ii II as probably the most likely. Just know that the V/ii (VI) could easily be made into a VI7 and the ii could easily be a II.
Last edited by DiminishedFifth at Jun 28, 2010,
Diminished is right, Roman Numerals do not apply for modes and they are key based. Modal Harmony has absolutely nothing to do them.

On the other hand, you should look at the Nashville Numbering system as it's pretty much based off the numerals themselves in order to transpose on the fly.
D 5th, You are right that III7 would be dumb to use in Phrygian but it is a way out of Phrygian. That's why I am open to that. The x7/V makes alot more sense to me than using accidentals before roman numerals such as bIII.

Here maybe you can see where I am coming from with the accidents being used with roman numerals:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numerals#Music_theory

Also Richard Loyd who had a lesson column in Guitarworld for a while used some roman numerals along with accidentals.

So you can see that in reality they are all over.
Quote by spiderjump
D 5th, You are right that III7 would be dumb to use in Phrygian but it is a way out of Phrygian. That's why I am open to that. The x7/V makes alot more sense to me than using accidentals before roman numerals such as bIII.

Here maybe you can see where I am coming from with the accidents being used with roman numerals:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numerals#Music_theory

Also Richard Loyd who had a lesson column in Guitarworld for a while used some roman numerals along with accidentals.

So you can see that in reality they are all over.

Oh you just add those accidentals for those intervallic degrees in the scale. If you harmonize a scale that has a b2nd or #5th you'd use those Roman numerals with accidentals.

For example off the Lydian Augmented scale it has a +V, or you could find some of those flattened Roman numerals if you harmonize diminished scales and a bunch of others.

Look at it chromatically:

1, b2, 2, b3, 3, 4, #4(b5), 5, #5, 6, b7, 7

I bII II bIII III IV +IV V +V VI bVII VII and alter the caps whether it's minor or major and so on.
Last edited by Pillo114 at Jun 28, 2010,
It seems to me that accidentals used with roman numerals are not really used for straight modal music. They more useful when using jazz or blues type of scales where accidentals do not conform to key signatures, or better yet, chromatics.

Would you say that accidentals with roman numerals is a system of notation that is to be used on it's own rather than in combination with others?
Quote by spiderjump
It seems to me that accidentals used with roman numerals are not really used for straight modal music. They more useful when using jazz or blues type of scales where accidentals do not conform to key signatures, or better yet, chromatics.

Would you say that accidentals with roman numerals is a system of notation that is to be used on it's own rather than in combination with others?

Exactly, that's the whole point for them. Modern modal harmony doesn't really use them either since the harmony is built on an entirely different method.

Aside from the Nashville Number system I told you about, usually Roman Numerals are just used for analysis and personal use mainly, rather than as practical notation. If you were looking at the chords to a tune you'd figure out the numerals for the chords so you get an idea about the progression and key changes, but after a while you'll learn to recognize these without having to relate the chords to the numerals anyways.

As long as you know what's going on so you can communicate with and understand others, any method you come up with to help yourself will work as they're all different ways of practically saying the same thing.