lesson one- Primary triads and progressions
Chords are built on the various scale degrees. The position of the chord in the scale determines how one chord tone relates to the other. You can call it tonal harmony, functional harmony or just the ‘language of harmony’.
The primary triads of the scale are major I, IV, V. The roman numerals are used for harmonic analysis, while the proper names are used when speaking or writing.
- I or Root is named the Tonic.
- IV is named Subdominant.
- V is named the Dominant.
- Basic opening progressions are I-V, I-IV, or 1-IV-V.
- Basic closing progressions are: V-I, IV-I, and IV-V-1. Progressions of harmonic phrases are completed or closed by returning to the tonic.
An example of the opening chord progression 1-V is found in Dvorak’s New World Symphony. The key of the piece is in D major and the diatonic scale is shown on the chord map.
The notes in bar one F#-A-F#-D fit with a chord of D major (I), and the notes in bar two E-A-E fit with a chord of A major (V). The melody contains notes that are not part of the underlying harmony chord. In bar 1, there is an E that isn't part of the chord of D major. In bar 2, there are two F#s that are not part of the chord of A major. These are non-chord notes. The notes that fall on the beat are * chord notes. Notes falling on an off-beat can be either chord notes or non-chord notes.
listen and identify the progressions: 1-V, I-IV, I-iv-v
An example of the opening chord progression 1-V is found in Dvorak’s New World Symphony.
The I-V opening progression of Beethoven Sonata, Op. 2, No 3 is given below.
The progression is completed when the dominant 7th chord resolves to the tonic.
The opening progression I-IV is often completed by returning to the I as shown in Schumann, Album for the Young.
The IV chord often progresses to a V chord. The Bach Chorale In Allen Mein Taten illustrates the progression I-IV-V.