TonalityGUIDE - basic tonal music theory and analysis for undergraduates
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Short Progressions

introduction diatonic chromatic

introduction | fifths | seconds | thirds

introduction | perfect cadence | imperfect cadence | plagal cadence | seventh chords

introduction | major | minor | half-diminished | diminished
short progs.
longer progs.

The V in a perfect cadence (V - I) is often intensified by the addition of a seventh. The dominant seventh very strongly defines the key of a passage because no other diatonic seventh chord has the characteristic major third, perfect fifth and minor seventh above the root. Dominant sevenths almost always resolve in the way shown in the example. An exception is the interrupted cadence and the German augmented sixth chord which, although it is 'spelt' differently, sounds the same as a dominant seventh.
The other diatonic seventh chords (or non-dominant sevenths) fall into the four groups outlined on the following pages. As the examples in here and in 'longer progressions' show, these seventh chords often resolve onto a chord a fifth below in the same way as a dominant seventh.

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© Copyright Thomas Pankhurst

TonalityGUIDE - Tonal Harmony and Voiceleading - Table of Contents