The Muse's Muse  
Muses MailMuses Newsmuse chatsongwriting resource home
Regular Columnists

Secondary Dominant Chords
By Dan Rivers - 09/10/2011 - 02:59 PM EDT

Chords built on the second note of the scale, the third note of the scale and the sixth note are  normally minor.   They contain only diatonic notes.   Notes that are all in the scale of whatever Key we are in.
 If they are major they produce a very striking sound. Thatís because  they will contain notes out of the key.       So listen to the different sound  the II   III and VI chord make when they are major instead of minor.
  Key C:    II     D7         normally d minor
               III    E7         normally e minor
               VI    A7         normally minor

 To resolve this new  Dominant sound you need a Target chord to immediately follow it.  A chord a fourth above  it.  Just go up  4 notes in the scale from the  shocking chord you just played.   Just continue this process until you get to a diatonic chord in your original key.                 

D7 go up a fourth---G7--C-   .    (G7 is the V7 of C).  Your back home
E7 go up a fourth---Am      or   A7---   D7 Ė G7 -C    Your back home
A7 go up a fourth---Dm-      or D 7-G7-C --   Your back home

Key G:       ll                  III           and VI   Major
               A7                 B7          E7

A7 go up a fourth---D7--G-  
B7 go up a fourth---Em   or    E7---   A7 Ė D7 -G   
E7 go up a fourth--- Am    or  A7-   D7--G

Exercise:   Key C       Fill in the blank with a diatonic chord a fourth above the previous chord.
C      D7     ____     C
C       A7    ____     G      C
C       E7     ___      C

Why do we use these  Secondary dominant chords?    For one thing they are surprise chords and will hold an audience .   They also  draw attention to a lyric  line . Try using it right before the hook.   They donít call them money chords for nothing.

[ Current Articles | Archives ]

Help For Newcomers
Help for Newcomers
Helpful Resources
Helpful Resources
Regular Columnists
Music Reviews
Services Offered
About the  Muse's Muse
About Muse's Muse
Subscribe to The Muse's News, free monthly newsletter for songwriters
with exclusive articles, copyright & publishing advice, music, website & book reviews, contest & market information, a chance to win prizes & more!

Join today!

Created & Maintained
by Jodi Krangle


© 1995 - 2016, The Muse's Muse Songwriting Resource. All rights reserved.

Read The Muse's Muse Privacy Statement