Music Theory
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Music Theory feature articles

  • Melodic and harmonic motion
    Getting started

    Melodic and harmonic motion - Harmony Basics - Part 22


    In the previous article we discussed inversions within the frame of enharmonic modulations. I will take this opportunity to explore with you in this and the following article the different ways in which you can take advantage of these inversions.

  • Enharmonic Modulations
    Getting started

    Enharmonic Modulations - Harmony Basics - Part 21


    Before I begin I most warn you that this article might seem a bit grueling for some of you. But if you've been following the other articles in the series up to now, you shouldn't have a problem with what is about to come. Otherwise, you can always use the comments section to ask anything you want.

  • Modulating to neighbor, distant and chromatic keys
    Getting started

    Modulating to neighbor, distant and chromatic keys - Harmony Basics - Part 20


    In the previous articles we saw how you can modulate towards other keys, mainly using pivot chords to guarantee a smooth transition. So, now that we've seen how to modulate, it would be nice to know where you can modulate to, right?

  • Using II-V-I and pivot chords
    Getting started

    Using II-V-I and pivot chords - Harmony Basics - Part 19


    In the previous article we saw how to use cadences to modulate to a different key. However, regardless of whether you use a cadence or not, a seamless modulation relies on the so-called pivot chords.

  • The Role of Cadence and Characteristic Notes in Modulation
    Getting started

    The Role of Cadence and Characteristic Notes in Modulat… - Harmony Basics - Part 18


    It's not uncommon for a composer/songwriter to feel the need to leave the original key of the song he's writing and go explore some other ones. There are many reasons for that: to change the mood (i.e. the key!) of the song, to catch the attention of the listener, to create surprises, etc. And this is where the principle of modulation, which we wi…

  • Modulate It!
    Getting started

    Modulate It! - Harmony Basics - Part 17


    In the previous articles... Yes, I know I often begin my articles this way but it's simply because I like things to make sense chronologically.

  • Relative Chord and Tonal Exchange Substitutions
    Getting started

    Relative Chord and Tonal Exchange Substitutions - Harmony Basics - Part 16


    This time around, we'll look at two additional ways to substitute chords: Relative chord and tonal exchange substitutions. But before we do that, I want to complete the previous article and finish discussing dominant chord substitutions.

  • Tritone Substitution and Secondary Dominants
    Getting started

    Tritone Substitution and Secondary Dominants - Harmony Basics - Part 15


    In this installment, we'll continue exploring chord substitutions with two new forms based on the dominant function.

  • Chord Substitutions
    Getting started

    Chord Substitutions - Harmony Basics - Part 14


    In the previous two articles I took a brief detour from the somewhat theoretical tone of this series to show you some specific examples of harmonic chord progressions that are easy to understand and widely used. But if you want to get off the beaten path, we'll need to dive back into the theory.

  • More Chord Progressions
    Getting started

    More Chord Progressions - Harmony Basics - Part 13


    In the previous article I introduced you to some of the most popular cadences and chord progressions. But there are still some left!