the last lesson, we were introduced to the concept of dominant chord
in chord progressions. We learned that the dominant (or 5
which often resolves to the tonic (or 1 chord).
If this all sounds
complete gobbledygark, then make sure you're confident with what was
covered in the introductorydominant
So, you should now have a good understanding of the relationship
between the dominant and tonic chord. This is an important musical
as you'll come to appreciate.
we're going to look at now is how to enhance the natural tension of
that dominant chord - firstly by modifying the chord itself.
up the dominant chord in chord progressions
the first part, we learned that the dominant (V) chord is naturally a major
chord. For example, a typical sequence could be G major, D major, G
major. Tonic (I) - dominant (V) - tonic (I).
Rather than just play a basic major chord, dominant chords naturally
use the dominant 7th.
If you've been through the basic guitar chords series, you'll
know, for example, how to play a D dominant 7th (D7) chord...
Listen to the difference between using a regular D major chord and a
dominant 7th D major chord. The dominant 7th version enhances that
tension before the return back to the G major tonic.
So, once you know the basic relationship between the tonic and
dominant, it's simply a case of expanding your chord library to enhance
that relationship in interesting and unique ways.
Another example - B major (tonic) and F#7 (dominant)...
Click to hear Note:
the different root note positions of the tonic and
dominant were covered in part
1! Move at your own pace.
In summary, here are the most commonly used natural extensions of the
dominant V chord. These are all covered in the extended
chord theory lesson.
C7, D7, E7
C9, D9, E9
C13, D13, E13
5 b7 9
5 b7 9 13
dominant chords in your progressions
Another way to colour that dominant tension is to use a suspended
chord. Again, if you're not familiar with what suspended chords are,
it's all covered in the chord section of the site. We'll
look at a few examples anyway...
Let's go back to our tonic chord of G major. So we know
in this position, the dominant chord will be built on a D root note
(e.g. D major, D7, D9 etc.). We can also use a suspended D
chord as the dominant chord.
For example -
as it's D, we're at the 5th
on the A string for this movable chord shape)...
Another favourite of mine - D9sus4 - easy to
finger as you simply barre your index finger from the A string
Or you could mix the two to really enhance that dominant tension before
returning back to G major - click to hear
Suspended 2nd chords also work in the dominant positon.
We could also play around with a suspended
chord and a
regular dominant 7th chord in the same sequence, before returning to
the G major tonic...
you starting to hear this natural relationship between the dominant and
tonic chord? How they play off each other?
why this relationship has been used in music for centuries. Of course,
you don't always
have to use
it in this context (your
music might become a little predictable if you did!), but it's there,
when you need that gateway.