8.11 Chord connections


Category: Harmony | Tags: Chords


In this chapter you will learn about the different types of chord connections. You will also learn about relationships between chords.

1. Chord connections

Now, we will look at the chord connections between the various primary and secondary degrees.

The most common chord connections are:

  • tonic - dominant - tonic
  • tonic - subdominant - dominant - tonic
  • tonic - subdominant - tonic

Connections between chords can be: strong, less strong or weak.

2. The strongest chord connections

The strongest connection that exists between two chords is the dominant-tonic relationship - V - I. In this connection, the fifth degree is an interval of a fifth above the first degree.

There are other strong chord connections a fifth apart, which can also be used. One of these is the connection I - IV. In this connection, the first degree is a fifth above the fourth degree.

When we place I - IV and V - I in one series, I - IV - V - I , a cadence is formed. The series of the primary degrees I - IV - V - I, is the most important chord connection.



Which are the strongest chord connections?

note example

3. Strong chord connections: the fifth relationship

Strong chord connections, in which the degrees are separated by a fifth, are in a fifth relationship.

Examples of fifth relationships are: V - I, II - V, VI - II, III - VII or I - IV. The cadence I - VI - II - V - I has three strong connections and for that reason, occurs very often in music.

When all of the seven degrees are used in a series with only strong connections, the chord progression I - IV - VII - III - VI - II - V - I is formed. The disadvantage of this chord progression is that there are no weak links, and this tends to become boring.



Which chords are in a fifth relationship?

note example

4. Weaker chord connections: the third relationship

Weaker chord connections, in which the degrees are separated by a third, are in a third relationship.

Examples of third relationships are: I - VI, IV - II or VII - V. The chord connection I - VI - IV - II - VII - V - I has five third relationships and is often used.



Which chords are in a third relationship?

note example

4. Weak chord connections: the second relationship

Weak chord connections, in which the degrees are separated by a second, are in a second relationship.

Examples of second relationships are: I - II, IV - V or V - VI. In the commonly occurring cadence I - IV - V - I is the weak connection IV - V.



Which chords are in a second relationship?

note example