5.1 Adding Predominant Function IV (iv) and ii (ii0) to a Melodic Phrase

3 min readnovember 29, 2021

Cesar Torruella

Cesar Torruella

AP Music Theory 🎶

72 resources
See Units

Before we dive into the predominant world or even a phrase, let’s review harmonic functions. Always remembering these can be either in a major or minor key.

Image from: http://openmusictheory.com/harmonicFunctions.html

Tonic: Chords I, VI, or III
Subdominant (or now pre-dominant): IV or ii
Dominant: V⁷ – vii0

5.1: Adding Predominant Function IV (iv) and ii (ii0) to a Melodic Phrase

In unit 4 we discussed how a dominant-tonic motion completes the basic phrase structure, and this is called a cadence. Now we are going to add an additional chord. This chord is going to have a predominant function because it will be placed BEFORE ⬅️the dominant. The pre-dominant chord is also commonly called a sub-dominant.
Pre-dominant harmonies (ii and IV) – and their minor keys equivalents- are so named because they LEAD to the dominant. That is now ii-V or IV-V. Think of it as a preparation of the dominant. Its function is to expand the basic phrase going from T-D-T to T- PD- D- T. This type is phrase is more used than T-D-T.

Harmonic flowchart for Major Keys. Chors IV or ii serve as a Pre-Dominant function. Image from Robert Hutchinson: http://musictheory.pugetsound.edu/mt21c/HarmonicFunction.html


Harmonic flowchart for minor keys. Chords iv or ii0 serve as pre-dominant function in minor keys. Image from Robert Hutchinson: http://musictheory.pugetsound.edu/mt21c/HarmonicFunction.html

Now that we know what the predominant chords are, we have more options or choices to create a new phrase, follow this template to construct your basic phrase- T- PD- D- T.

Basic phrase structure, Image from: The Muscicians Guide for Theory and Analysis. Third edition.

Considering the new options, you have with the predominant chords: What are some of the differences or choices that you have in Major Keys vs. Minor Keys? What remained the same?
Let’s review:
  • Predominant appear BEFORE the dominant.
  • Predominant options are:
    • Major Keys- IV, ii6, or ii
    • Minor Keys – iv or ii06
How exactly did we get there? 🤔 That's right, BEFORE dominant! The voice leading on a predominant must follow contrary motion against the bass. This way, you avoid parallelism and other voice-leading errors.

Contrary motion with bass will help you avoid voice-leading errors when working with pre-dominant chords. Image from: The Muscicians Guide for Theory and Analysis. Third edition.

Predominant to V⁷:
As you are figuring out now, contrary motion will help us most of the time, however, there are still rules we need to double-check ✅ when writing ✍️harmonies. When a predominant chord moves to a V⁷, the chordal seventh (the seventh of the chord) needs to be prepared by a common tone. In order for that to happen, you must choose carefully which chord is appropriate while keeping in mind that a V⁷ chord has 4 notes. To avoid parallel 5ths, you must always go in contrary motion and keep common tones when possible. Here’s a nice view of what your options might look like:

a) Parralel 5ths between soprano and bass. b) Contrary motion agaist the bass. C) and d) Two common tones, always keep common tones when possible. This is always a good idea. Image from: The Muscicians Guide for Theory and Analysis. Third edition.

Browse Study Guides By Unit
🎵Unit 1 – Music Fundamentals I (Pitch, Major Scales and Key Signatures, Rhythm, Meter, and Expressive Elements)
🎶Unit 2 – Music Fundamentals II (Minor Scales and Key Signatures, Melody, Timbre, and Texture)
🎻Unit 3 – Music Fundamentals III (Triads and Seventh Chords)
🎹Unit 4 – Harmony and Voice Leading I (Chord Function, Cadence, and Phrase)
🎸Unit 5: Harmony and Voice Leading II: Chord Progressions and Predominant Function
🎤Unit 7 – Harmony and Voice Leading IV (Secondary Function)
📝Exam Skills
📆Big Reviews: Finals & Exam Prep

Stay Connected

© 2023 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.