Secondary Dominants?

Pooluke41

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I've just heard about these and from what I understand; a secondary dominant is a dominant chord a fifth away from the target chord, which is used to add movement to a chord progression by temporarily tonicizing the target chord.

eg: an E7 leads to an Am7, I guess this is a secondary dominant as it's not the V in the Key of C; which is the G7. I think this is the V/vi?

Hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong.


Basicially what I'm asking is; is my definition of a secondary dominant right? And if not what is a secondary dominant?

*I await the sevenstring theory team...*
 

failshredder

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As far as I know, you're right. This is what I learned in theory class all those years ago, at least.

Also they're awesomely fun to play with.
 

niffnoff

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From what I was taught, Secondary dominants are used to modulate and create cadences into the next key.

So you might start in C minor, and instead of going to to G7 to C at the end of your progression, you might use the dominant of your next chord (D to G) maybe in my case. Idk. SW or Solodini will probably find this and explain better
 

MrPepperoniNipples

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You got it, Dominant chords tonicize the tonic, and by using a secondary dominant you are tonicizing a chord of a different key.
 

Mr. Big Noodles

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The information in this thread is essentially correct: in the key of C, E7 is V7/vi. By the same token, C7 would be V7/IV. However, the process of tonicization is a little tricky to define: if you use a secondary dominant, you are pulling the harmony toward something other than the tonic chord, but it's not going to a new key. Think of a secondary dominant as accenting a chord other than the tonic in a progression. Hence the distinction between "modulation" and "tonicization". In a progression like C F E7 Am G7 C, the only key that exists is C, but there is a brief hint of A minor. We would call Am a temporary tonic.

Secondary dominants may be used in modulation, provided that the new key is prolonged. Something like C F E7 Am Dm E7 Am is a modulation by secondary dominant, because we have a complete chord progression and cadence in the new key.

Also related are secondary diminished seventh chords, so G#°7 in the key of C major is vii°7/vi.
 


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