SOUND PATTERNS

A Structural Examination of Tonality, Vocabulary, Texture,
Sonorities, and Time Organization in Western Art Music

by PHILLIP MAGNUSON

CHROMATIC PROCEDURES III

Chapter 35. Altered dominance

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Chapter 36. Chromatic Mediance
Chapter 37. Linear Chromaticism and Distant Keys

35.1 EXPANSION OF DOMINANCE

It is fundamentally difficult to expand dominant, as compared to expanding tonic or connective areas, since both ^7 (Ti) and ^5 (Sol) must remain consistent. Any alteration of these two scale degrees would negate the dominant function.

There is, however, one scale degree that is a part of dominance that can be modified but still maintains the dominant function: ^2 (Re).

35.2 ALTERED DOMINANCE

^2 is the chordal 5th of dominant and can resolve equally well to ^1 or ^3. By raising ^2 (Ri), momentum to ^3 as a chord tone is created; by lowering ^2 (Ra), momentum to ^1 as a chord tone is created. These two modifications create ALTERED DOMINANCE (the word "dominance" is used in this context to include the dominant triad, the dominant tetrad, and the dominant pentad).

35.3 QUALITIES AND VOICE LEADING

The altered dominance with a raised ^2 is an augmented triad, and occurs equally well as a triad or tetrad, and in any position. Each of the chord factors has a need to resolve in a specific way:

The altered dominance with the lowered ^2 is much less frequently found. This sonority may also be in triad or tetrad form and in any position, but its quality cannot be categorized, like the augmented 6th chords: the interval from ^7 to lowered ^2 is a d3. There is no simple way to label it, so a qualifier is added after the Roman numeral: b5, which indicates that the chordal 5th (^2) is lowered. Each of the chord factors has a need to resolve in a specific way:

As observed in Chapter 14 (section 14.8), the top three scale degrees of dominant 7 form the leading tone triad. This is also true with the top three scale degrees of the altered dominant 7. This sonority can be labelled as an leading tone triad (or tetrad), with the lowered ^2 (the chordal 3rd of the leading tone sonority) expressed as a b3, or the raised ^2 expressed as a #3. Sometimes it is easier to simply label these altered leading tone sonorities as an implied altered dominant with a missing root.

35.4 FUNCTIONS

Altered dominances can be used in the same manner as diatonic dominances:

One typically dominant function is in cadences, but altered dominances are NOT useful in cadential structures. Cadences rely on formula and consistency, and altered dominance blurs rather than defines.

35.5 RELATIONSHIP TO AUGMENTED 6TH CHORDS

There is an interesting connection between the altered dominant 7 with lowered ^2 and the French augmented 6th chord. Neither one can be categorized with a standard triad designation, and if this altered dominant is used to tonicize primary dominant, they both contain the same exact pitches.

Technically, either label is correct, but there are three general rules to help decide on the better label:

The altered leading tone triad (with a lowered ^2) likewise shares a similarity to the Italian augmented 6th chord, and the general rules above to distinguish the two sonorities apply to this situation as well.

35.6 CHROMATIC HARMONIC ANALYSIS

As in previous chapters, analyze the example in the box below:

  1. The sonority is Ab - C - E - Gb
  2. The quality is Am7
  3. The scale degrees are Sol - Ti - Ri - Fa
  4. The root of ^5 indicates dominant, the raised ^2 indicates altered dominance
  5. The chord comes from supertonic and moves to tonic
  6. It is an augmented dominant 7, in third inversion

Do the same thing again with the following example:

  1. The sonority is D - F# - A# - C
  2. The quality is Am7
  3. The scale degrees are Me - Sol - Ti - Ra
  4. The ^b6 and ^b3 indicate a borrowed chord
  5. The chord resembles the augmented mediant, but the lowered ^2 does not fit
  6. It is an altered dominant 7 tonicizing the submediant, in first inversion

CURRENT CHROMATIC VOCABULARY:

ASSIGNMENTS:

ANALYSIS

Provide a Roman numeral and Schenkerian analysis for the following pieces in Music for Analysis:

  1. Schubert: Quintet, op.163, IV [#305]
  2. Liszt: Liebestraum, no.3 [#306, CD track #78]
  3. Schumann: "Du bist wie eine Blume", from Myrthen, op.25, no.24 [#351] Listen to a performance

SYNTHESIS

Add a soprano, alto, and tenor to this figured bass, and a Roman numeral and structural analysis. When that is done, do three more things:

  1. Put the bass, tenor, and alto parts in the bass clef, in close position
  2. Figure these three parts into a pattern of your choice; this figuration will stop with a block chord on the final tonic
  3. Add multiple embellishments to the soprano part, using only eighth notes, with at least

To prepare this writing assignment properly, use the notation guidelines appendix, located at Basic Principles of Music Notation, Semester III.


Links to chapters in this unit:
Chapter 36. Chromatic Mediance
Chapter 37. Linear Chromaticism and Distant Keys

Link to previous unit: CHROMATIC PROCEDURES II: Modal Mixtures

Link to next unit: THREE ANALYSIS PROJECTS


Copyright 2008-2009 by Phillip Magnuson.

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