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Music Theory

Chapter 4 : Diatonic Chords in Major and Minor Keys

Intro Diatonic : chords using only those notes found in the key signature (of the tonic) Altered/Chromatic : those using notes not in the scale (we will study these later) The rest of this chapter will focus on identifying and spelling diatonic chords

The Minor Scale The minor scale(s) pose problems for the theorist/performer Three types of minor scales? Differences? Composers did not have three independent scales from which to choose Discuss scales degrees and applicability of those degrees

The Minor Scale ; A few general rules The most graceful thing for ^6 and ^7 is to ascend by step, and for v6 and v7 to descend by step (Ex. 4-2) If 6 or 7 is left by leap instead of step, there will be an eventual stepwise goal for that scale degree, and 6/7 will be raised or unaltered according to the direction of that goal (Ex. 4-3) In some cases, v6 and v7 lead upward (Ex. 4-4) In other cases, v6 and ^7 appear together, providing the harmonic minor scale (Ex. 4-5) The ultimate guiding rule is usually harmonic As we will learn, most harmony in minor conforms to the harmonic minor scale

Checkpoint What is the term for chords that contain no notes outside of the scale? What about chords that do contain such notes? Individual lines in tonal music tend to conform most closely to which of the three traditional minor scales? Name the five common seventh-chord types.

Diatonic Triads in Major Triads may be constructed on any degree of the major scale (review scale degrees) Diatonic triads We will use roman numerals instead of Arabic numerals to distinguish triadsTriad Type Major Minor Diminished Augmented Roman numeral Uppercase Lowercase Lowercase with a Uppercase with a + Example V vi vii III+

Diatonic Triads

Diatonic Triads in Major Key

MajorMinor Diminished Augmented

I, IV, and VIi, iii, vi vii none


Diatonic Triads in Minor Construction of triads in minor is more complicated than major 6 and 7 are variable More diatonic triads are possible in minor Seven diatonic triads appear more than others

MEMORIZE! Diatonic Triads in minor Major Minor III, V, and VI i, and iv


Ii and viinone

Checkpoint In a major key, which triads are minor? In a minor key, which triads are major? The triads on which two scale degrees are the same type in both major and minor? Which of the four triad types occurs least often in tonal music?*self-test 4-1

Diatonic Seventh Chords in Major Diatonic triads in major can also include 7th above the rootSeventh-Chord type Major seventh Major-minor seventh Minor seventh Half-diminished seventh Diminished seventh Roman Numeral Uppercase with M7 Uppercase with a 7 Lowercase with a 7 Lowercase with a 7 Lowercase with a Example IM7 V7 vi7 ii7 Vii7

MEMORIZE! Diatonic Seventh-Chords in Major M7 Mm7 m7 7 7 IM7, and IVM7 V7 Ii7, iii7, vi7 vii7 none

Diatonic Seventh-Chords in Minor There are sixteen possible diatonic seventh chords in minor (6&7)

Diatonic Seventh-ChordsMEMORIZE! Common Diatonic Seventh Chords in Minor M7 Mm7 m7 IIIM7, and VIM7 V7 i7 and iv7



Checkpoint Most of the five common seventh-chord types appear diatonically in both major and minor. Which one does not? Does the m7 chord occur on more scale steps in minor than in major? The seventh chords on most scale steps are different qualities in major and minor. Which scale step is the exception to this?*self-test 4-2


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