Secondary Chords Tutorial

This tutorial is designed to help you identify secondary dominants and secondary leading tone chords with roman numerals. It would be easy to "cheat" by simply scrolling ahead, but (pedantic tone of voice) you would only be fooling yourself.

Roman numeral analysis consists of many tasks which you will soon perform simultaneously. At first however, it may be easier to proceed step by step. Please take out a sheet of scratch paper of any kind.

Step 1. Identify each chord using jazz chord symbols. (C, F#, DMI, B7, Ab/ C )
Step 2. Identify each diatonic chord with a Roman numeral. (Diatonic = In The Key)
Step 3. Identify the non-diatonic chords.


Step 1. Identify each chord using jazz chord symbols. (C, F#, DMI, B7, Ab/ C )
(Write the chords on your sheet of scratch paper.)


| Listen to the excerpt. | Return to the top. | Check your answers to step 1. |


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Please scroll no further unless you have finished step 1.
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The answers to step 1. The soprano's 2nd and 3rd notes, C# and B, are passing tones.

Step 2. Identify each diatonic chord with a roman numeral. (Diatonic = In The Key)
(Once again, write on your sheet of scratch paper.)
| Listen to the excerpt. | Return to the top. | Check your answers to step 2. |


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Please scroll no further unless you have finished step 2.
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The answers to step 2. Note the fundamental ii-V-I progression.


| Listen to the excerpt. | Return to the top. | Proceed to step 3. |


Step 3. Identify the non-diatonic chords. (Hint: one is a secondary dominant and the other is a secondary leading tone chord.) Secondary chords function like mini-modulations. They feature what appears to be an authentic cadence in a new key and therefore usually require an accidental or two.

  1. In this tutorial, assume the chord just after the non-diatonic chord is the temporary key.
  2. In the temporary key, the non-diatonic chord functions as V, V7, viio, viio7 or viiø7.
  3. From those 5 choices, write the appropriate roman numeral and the proper figured bass above a slash.
  4. Below the slash write the roman numeral which represents the temporary key. (In other words, the roman numeral which appears after the non-diatonic chord is the same as the roman numeral below the slash.)

| Listen to the excerpt. | Return to the top. | The answers to step 3. |


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Please scroll no further unless you have finished step 3.
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The answers to step 3. The fundamental ii-V-I progression is embellished. Note the mini-modulations to E minor and A major.

| Listen to the excerpt. | Return to the top. |

If you found this tutorial helpful and want more like it, or if you have any suggestions, please e-mail me at wielandb@northern.edu or tell me in person. Thanks!