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Dominate 7th chord utilized outside of key

Posted by Structure 
Dominate 7th chord utilized outside of key
May 13, 2017 01:56PM
Hi Members,

After an entire day of trying to figure out the harmonic function of a Dominate 7th chord that is not in the key of composition, I now turn to this forum please. This post was difficult to write as listing the vocal melody notes would help in solving why certain chords were used but the format here scrambled my vocal notes to the point that when I posted, it didn't make sense, thus I had to omit the melody notes. Thank you for taking my question.

Examples: two separate songs.

Song #1

Song #1 – “L**** Eyes” by The Eagles - Key of “G Major”. Chords in question are located in the chorus. Please google any version in the key of G major to reference "chorus" chords. This forum would not let me post the link.

In song #1, the chords in question are G7 (G9 works as well) and A7 (A major works as well). I understand that the G7 chord is introducing the C major chord (the 5 chord (G7) wants to resolve to the 1 chord C major in the key of C). But still the G7 chord sounds good following the G major even-though G7 is not in the key of G major… why does this progression sound good? Perhaps there is some relation to the melody notes that make it work?

Song #2 – “Be Thou My Vision” – Irish Hymn - Key of “D Major” (chorus was added at some point in a different version not available on YT).

Song #2


Light of my (G)life, my Lord and my (D)King, Dwell in my (G)now, my heart longs to (D)sing

Victory (B minor)won your rein is (E7)supreme, My eyes fixed on (Em7)you, My (A)treasure my (D)dream.

In song #2, the chord in question is the E7. The E7 chord is not in the key of D major. Yet it sounds good after the B minor chord and also sounds good when the Em7 follows after the mentioned E7. I understand the E7 introduces the “A major” but there is the Em7 between the two. Why does this E7 chord sound good/acceptable?

Please reply with any needed clarifications.

Thank you kindly

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2017 02:01PM by Structure. (view changes)
Re: Dominate 7th chord utilized outside of key
May 14, 2017 10:26AM
The Eagles' song seem to cast a (so-called) secondary dominant over scale degree I. It might be argued that the rationale for so doing is to atach melodic function to the tonic of I; hence making the skip I-IV more effective (in a way, the default harmonic development would have the weights within degree I, and the chord sequence depending on it, upon the imperfect consonant intervals contained in it: that is, the major 3rd. In such a context, secondary dominants in particular and probably seven chords in general, would have the effect of changing the relevant interval, as said earlier). In case a bass-pedal were present, it might be changed by the writing of a secondary dominant (this is the same as before in a different perspective). Greetings

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/14/2017 10:28AM by Athair. (view changes)
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