# Fun With Secondary Dominants

## The Theory of Secondary Dominants

The 5th chord in a scale always wants to resolve to the first chord in a scale.

For example:

||: C | Am | Dm | G7 :|| C ||

7th chords (as in: “G7) are also called “dominant chords”.
V7 in the scale is called “the dominant chord) because it is the chord with the most tension in a scale.
This chord wants to resolve back, down a 5th to its I chord.

In this case: G7 wants to resolve to C
This is called the “primary dominant”.

However: you can also precede the other chords (than the I chord) in the scale by a dominant chord up a 5th.
These are called “secondary dominants”.
Secondary dominants are dominants that resolve to any other chord than the I chord of the key.

They are labeled as V7/target chord, as in for example: V7/II.
This means a dominant chord up a 5th from the 2nd chord (II) in the scale.

In the key of C, this would be an A7 chord, which is indeed up a 5th from Dm, the 2nd chord in the key of C.

The secondary dominant is always followed by its resolution chord.

## Memorize The Secondary Dominants

V7/II

Cmaj7 | A7 | Dm | G7

V7/III

Cmaj7 | B7 | Em | G7

V7/IV

Cmaj7 | C7 | Fmaj7 | G7 ||

V7/V

Cmaj7 | Am | D7 | G7

V7/VI

Cmaj7 | E7 | Am | Dm G7 ||

V7/VII

I added this here on the list for the sake of thoroughness.
However: the use of V7/VII is extremely rare.
The F#7 also doesn’t really sound like a secondary dominant in the below example.

Cmaj7 | Fmaj7 | F#7 | Bm7b5

The Bm7b5 (BDFA) usually serves as a substitution for G7 (GBDF).
This makes the F#7 sound more like a passing chord from Fmaj7 to G7/Bm7b5 than as a secondary dominant.

In addition: by nature, that chord VII in a major key is a m7b5 chord, a highly unstable chord that lacks direction, this chord is less commonly used. This all explains why it’s very unlikely you will ever use or encounter V7/VII as an option.

## Conclusion

The whole reason why you would use secondary dominants in songwriting is to create stronger momentum and forward motion in your song.
The tension in a secondary dominants leads it to want to resolve forward to its target chord.

Secondary dominants create greater forward flow in the storytelling of a song.

Implement them in your songs and see how you like them.
Experiment and have fun with this newfound knowledge.
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### Tagged chord progressions., harmony, Music Theory | Los Angeles Guitar Lessons by Vreny Van Elslande, Secondary Dominants, songwriting

amazing.

2. #### ZOTZin Music Says:

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