[Smt-talk] Seeking deceptively resolving applied dominants.

Brad Osborn webpine brad06 at u.washington.edu
Fri Jan 22 12:37:23 PST 2010

The I-III#-IV progression that you point out in the Elvis and Elton songs is
ubiquitous in rock music.  Whether or not that major III chord (with or
without a dominant seventh) is actually a V(7) of vi is another question
altogether.  I tend to think of this as an idiomatic coloration of the III
chord, rather than a secondary dominant, though I guess the presence of a
dominant 7th might make me lean more in the direction of the latter.

Radiohead's "Creep" is probably the consummate example: G, B, C, Cm.

Armor for Sleep's "The Truth About Heaven" includes the 7th: D, F#7, G, Gm.

In both cases, I like how the #5 gets reinterpreted as b6 on the way down.


Brad Osborn
Ph.D. Candidate, Music Theory
University of Washington School of Music
Brad06 at uw.edu

Subscriptions Manager
Perspectives of New Music
pnmsubs at gmail.com

On Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 8:39 AM, John Cuciurean <jcuciure at uwo.ca> wrote:

> Hi,
> I reaching out to the collective wisdom to find instances (from tonal
> harmony in any genre or style) of deceptive resolutions of applied dominant
> chords. Specifically, instances of an applied chord such as V(7)/x (or
> viio7/x) resolving to vi/x (or VI/x where x suggests a minor key area) such
> that vi/x is also a diatonic chord in the home key. In order to illustrate
> what I'm describing I offer the following brief set of examples:
> Schubert, Symphony No 5, II, m. 3:  V7 - (4/2) - V6/5/IV - ii6/5 -
> V6/4-7/5/3 - I
> Beethoven, Piano Sonata Op 53, I, m.38-41:   I - V7 - vi - V7/vi - IV -
> V6/4-7/5/3 - I
> Elton John, Goodbye Yellowbrick Road, chorus begins with:  I - V7/vi  - IV
> -I (1 chord per meas)
> Elvis Presley, Kentucky Rain, repeated tag following chorus:  I - V7/vi -
> IV - V (1 chord per meas)
> A slightly more problematic instance (from the viewpoint of the chordal
> quality of vi/x) might include:
> Beethoven, Piano Sonata, Op 90, I, mm21-22:  i6 - V6/iv - ii/o6/5 - V6/5/V
> - V7 - i
> I am not seeking chains of successive applied dominants at this point,
> although I readily acknowledge that the topics are closely related.
> Thanks,
> John
> John Cuciurean
> Assistant Professor of Music Theory
> Don Wright Faculty of Music
> University of Western Ontario
> London, Ontario, Canada
> 519-661-2111, ext. 85198
> jcuciure at uwo.ca
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