[Smt-talk] Subdominants and Secondary Dominants

Eytan Agmon agmonz at 012.net.il
Wed Nov 30 22:38:24 PST 2011

Dmitri wrote:

"Let's start with a simple example: in C major, consider the progression

1. (C, G, C, E)->(C#, G, Bb, E)->(D, F, A, D)  or C: I->viio7/ii->ii 

The first chord is clearly tonic functioned, while the second is (in my
thinking) viio7/ii. These are very different chords.  I doubt that anyone
would say that I and viio7/ii are the same function or "basically similar"
or anything of the sort."

There are many examples of viio7/ii following V4/3, clearly substituting for
the tonic. See for example Schubert's Nacht und Traume, m. 12.
The interesting thing about "secondary dominants," in my view, is not that
they function as dominants in a key other than the home key (obviously), but
that they often also have a function (usually, NOT dominant), in the home
key itself. For Schenker, for example, "V/V" is often II# in the home key.

Eytan Agmon
Bar-Ilan University

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