TonalityGUIDE - basic tonal music theory and analysis for undergraduates
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Chords and Scales
introduction diatonic scales triads diatonic chords chromatic chords embellished chords

short progs.
longer progs.

Whilst diatonic chords are constructed from notes of a diatonic major or minor scale, chromatic chords contain one or more notes that are not in the relevant diatonic scale.

Chromatic chords become meaningful only in context (follow the links in the blue triangle to progressions involving chromatic chords), but in general terms they fall into three broad categories:

  1. diatonic triads in which one of the notes has been raised or lowered by a semitone to a non-diatonic note (e.g. a C major chord with a G sharp instead of a G natural - see augmented fifth)
  2. diatonic triads to which a chromatic note has been added (e.g. chord vii in C major with an added A flat - see diminished seventh)
  3. triads which are from a different diatonic scale to that which the passage is based on (e.g. a D flat major triad in a passage in C major - see see Neapolitan)

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chord identification
understanding voice-leading
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© Copyright Thomas Pankhurst

TonalityGUIDE - Tonal Harmony and Voiceleading - Table of Contents