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Secondary Dominants

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In this lesson we'll explore how to use a “secondary dominant” to lead to our II minor chord.

So in the key of C, do you remember what your II-minor was? It's the minor chord that's derived from the 2nd scale step.. And the 2nd scale step is D. So D minor is our ii minor chords.

Let's use a secondary dominant to lead to this chord, so we need to figure out what is the V-chord of D. Remember again, that when you're determining a V-chord, it doesn't matter if you're leading to a minor or a major chord. The V-chord is the same.

So count your way up the D major scale and find the 5th scale degree. Again, you could do the minor scale as well, but since the 5th scale step is the same and you already know the major scale, you can just stick with that. So, its 1 2 3 4 5. This note is A! So A is our V-chord of D.

That means that A7 will be the secondary dominant we'll use to build tension towards the D minor chord. This would be called a “VI major”, because it's root note, A, is the 6th scale degree in the key of C.

Now let's hear this with a simple backing track. Remember that since this is easy stuff, it's important you direct all your attention towards the function of this secondary dominant.

Lesson Info
Secondary Dominants