Part-writing Chords: Summary II
Doc Snow’s Hubs on part-writing chords offer the chance to practice writing chord progressions yourself and to get feedback on your work! Part-writing is an essential skill for anyone wanting to truly master traditional harmony, and valuable exercise for composers, arrangers and musical analysts of various stripes.
There are now two series of part-writing Hubs, the first dealing with root-position triads, and the second with inverted triads. (A third series, devoted to the part-writing of seventh chords, is in progress.)
Series 1 has its own summary Hub, so if you are just beginning to study part-writing, that is probably where you should be. But of course you are free to browse, which is the whole point of having summary Hubs in the first place!
Outlines of both series are given immediately below. A direct link to the first summary Hub is directly below the Series I summary. Following that, the details of Series II Hubs are given in order; each has its own 'one click' link in a sidebar.
I: Part-writing Inverted Chords: Primary Triads In First Inversion
II: I: Part-writing Inverted Chords: The Supertonic In First Inversion
III: Part-writing Inverted Chords: Mediant, Submediant And Leading-tone Triads
I: Part-writing Inverted Chords: Interlude--Passing And Auxiliary Tones
V: Part-writing Inverted Chords: Second-inversion Patterns I--Arpeggio, Neighbor
VI: Part-writing Inverted Chords: Second-inversion Patterns II--Passing, Cadential
Suggested Sequence Of Hubs
I: Tonic and Dominant (I & V)
II: Tonic and Dominant Exercises
III: Subdominant (IV)
IV: Supertonic (ii)
V: Mediant and Submediant (iii & vi)
VI: Minor Keys I
VII: Minor Keys II
I: Dominant sevenths inverted
Summary 1 Link
- Part-writing Chords: Summary I
A 'syllabus' and summary for Doc Snow's innovative Hubs on the essential musical skill of part-writing. Sequence, content and links--plus a summary of part-writing 'rules.'
Below you will find a detailed list of the Hubs in Series II (inverted triads.) Each Hub in the list has its own link for one click convenience.
If you feel that Series I (root-position triads) is where you need to be, just use the link below to navigate directly to the series summary!
Series III (seventh chords) is in progress; so far, there is just one, a Hub on part-writing inverted dominant sevenths. The link for this Hub is also given below.
- Part-writing Seventh Chords: The Dominant Seventh Chord
The first of Doc's series on part-writing seventh chords: clear explanations and interactive exercises to help you master the essential skill of part-writing.
- Part-writing Inverted Chords: Primary Triads In First Inversion
How to use inverted triads in common-practice four-part writing. Learn to write tonic, dominant and subdominant in first inversion--these explanations, illustrations, and practice examples make it easy!
Content in PWIC 1: Primary Triads in First Inversion
- Concept of chordal inversion
- Advantages of inverted chords: more melodic bass lines; more varied sonority & function
- 'Auld Lang Syne' harmonization illustrating above points
- "Bass arpeggiation"
- Review of 'Doc Snow doubling rule'
- Normal doubling of inverted primary triads
- Harmonic rhythm (and its care & maintenance)
- "Half cadence"
- Review example of 'similar fifth'
- "False relation"
- 'Minor dominant'
- Part-writing Inverted Chords: The Supertonic In First Inversion
"Supertonic in first inversion" sounds forbiddingly technical, but this chord is a favorite choice to prepare a dominant chord, appearing in everything from Bach to Duke Ellington. Learn how to use it in 4-part harmony here!
Content in PWIC 2: the Supertonic
- Secondary triads illustrated
- Normal doubling of supertonic: the chordal third
- Part-writing advantage of ii6 over IV as dominant preparation
- Frequent use of diminished form of inverted supertonic in minor
- Arpeggiations of the supertonic and chord quality
- Part-writing Inverted Chords: Mediant, Submediant & Leading Tone Triads
Part-writing is an essential discipline in really mastering traditional music theory, and triads in inversion add great nuance and musical flexibility to the harmonic palette. This Hub examines usage of triads built on 3rd, 6th, & 7th scale degre
Content in PWIC 3: Mediant, Submediant and Leading-tone Triads
- Submediant and its normal doubling
- Another chromatic line, using two forms of the submediant in minor
- Mediant illustrated
- 'Sequence' illustrated and applied
- 'Apparent mediant' idiom
- Using the augmented mediant in minor
- Leading tone illustrated
- 'PD' and 'DP' fifths
- Part-writing Inverted Chords: Interlude--Passing & Auxiliary Tones
Music is much more fun with a few non-chord tones in the mix--especially since knowing how to use them opens the door to understanding some chord progressions better. Here's how to use the most common types Classical style: passing & auxiliary to
Content in PWIC 4: Interlude: Passing and Auxiliary Tones
- Auld Lang Syne again: non-chord tones illustrated
- Passing tones
- Objectionable parallels & passing tones
- Accented passing tones
- Consecutive passing tones
- False relations & passing tones
- Auxiliary ('neighbor') tones
- Upper and lower auxiliaries
- Auxiliaries and 6th & 7th scale degrees in minor
- Part-writing Inverted Chords: Second-Inversion Patterns I--Arpeggio & Neighbor
Part-writing second-inversion triads is paradoxically both easier and more 'dangerous' than root-position or first-inversion triads. Find out why here--and learn to navigate the tricks and traps with video examples and interactive practice questions!
Content in PWIC 5: Second-inversion Patterns I--Arpeggio, Neighbor
- Dissonant characteristic of second-inversion triads
- Alternating and arpeggio six-four chords illustrated: John Henry & Auld Lang Syne
- Practice in writing alternating & arpeggio six-fours
- Neighbor six-fours
- Practice in writing neighbor six-fours
- Part-writing Inverted Chords: Second-Inversion Patterns II--Passing & Cadential
Second-inversion triads take special handling, and follow very specific patterns. This Hub, second of two detailing second-inversion patterns, trains you to use the Passing and Cadential Six-four chords, with video examples and interactive exercises!
Content in PWIC 6: Second-inversion Patterns II--Passing, Cadential
- Passing six-fours illustrated
- Choice of scale form in minor key dominant prolongations
- Passing six-fours connecting differing triads
- Cadential six-fours illustrated
- Roman numeral analysis of cadential six-fours
- 'Octave drop' bass figure
- Practice in using cadential (& other) six-four chords
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Less-weighty (read: more fun!) stuff from Doc Snow is now on Wordpress! Check out the Doc's new music theory blog. Ask a question, play "What Would Johann Do?", or just hang out.
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