17.6: Irregular Resolutions of Secondary Chords

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17.6 Irregular Resolutions of Secondary Chords

The roots of secondary dominants do not always resolve down a perfect fifth to the tonicized chord. In many of the examples of popular music with secondary dominants at the beginning of this chapter, the secondary dominants resolve deceptively.

In “Yesterday,” the VVV/V resolves not to VV but to IVIV, which sometimes acts as a substitute for the VV chord (the dominant) in popular music.

This progression also happens in “Forget You,” where a VVV7/V resolves to a IVIVchord.

In “I Want You to Want Me” by Cheap Trick, the VVV/V chord resolves to a subtonic ♭VIIVII chord in A major.

Remember, however, that the subtonic ♭VIIVII in major can act as a substitute for the dominant (see the Harmonic Flowchart for Popular Music with Subtonic VIIVII chord in Major).

In “Baby Love” by the Supremes, a CBC7/B♭ in C major (VIVV24/IV) resolves to an AA7chord (ViiV7/ii), which then resolves to iiii (DmDm). In this example, notice that the B♭ in the CBC7/B♭ is a lowered chromatic note that wants to resolve downward by half step to A. Instead of this A being the third of the IVIV chord (an F major chord), which is the traditional and expected resolution, it is the root of an AA7 chord (ViiV7/ii).

Finally, a rather common deceptive resolution of a secondary dominant is VviV7/vito IVIV, which can be seen in the following three examples.

There are two ways to conceptualize this progression. The first is that the progression of iiiiii to IVIV (Em to F in C major) is not unusual, so E to F, which appears to be IIIIII to IVIV but is in fact VviV/vi to IVIV, is a chromatic modification of iiiiii to IVIV. The other way to think of VviV/vi to IVIV is as VviV/vi to VIviVI/vi, a deceptive progression within the submediant area.

We can conclude that secondary chords do not always resolve strictly to the chords they appear to be tonicizing.

This page titled 17.6: Irregular Resolutions of Secondary Chords is shared under a GNU Free Documentation License 1.3 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Robert Hutchinson via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.