By Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene (get free updates of new posts here)
Yesterday Victoria asked me to teach her about the 7th chord of the 2nd scale degree in minor keys.
As I was going through all the different inversions, one of the prevailing questions was why this beautiful 4-note chord has so many resolutions?
You see, technically we only use resolutions which you can find in real music.
So, can you find a usage of this chord which resolves directly to tonic? Of course, this is very simple. But you have to double the third so that parallel fifths would be avoided (In A minor: BDFA-CCEA).
What about going from ii7 to the tonic through the 3-note dominant chord? Yes, and then you have to triple the root of the dominant and make this chord incomplete (BDFA-EEEG#-ACEA).
Can you resolve it to tonic through the 4-note chords (either inversions of D7 or vii7)? In the case of D7, two voices are moving by step and two are stationary (BDFA-BDEG#-ACEA). With vii7, only 1 voice is moving (BDFA-BDFG#-CCEA).
What if you wanted to make it a resolution through BOTH D7 and vii7? Then you simply move one note at a time (BDFA-BDFG#-BDEG#-ACEA).
You can also have the 5th resolution through altered 7th chord. Then you simply raise the 4th scale degree (BDFA-BD#FA-EEEG#-ACEA).
Does it seem complicated?
Sure it does. But the point is to resolve to tonic either directly or through the most common dissonant 3-note and 4-note chords.
After you understand it in theory, play it in practice in all major and minor keys. As always aim for at least 3 correct repetitions in a row.
Do you want to know if you're on the right path of your practice? Find an extra pair of ears/eyes that you trust and ask for feedback.
Hope this helps.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.