Is it Possible Tonicize a Key without Using a Dominant Seventh Chord?

  1. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it’s possible. Especially with the V7sus4. That is used a lot in R&B and neosoul. Give it a try in your own music and see how you like it.

  2. If you're right and it isn't just me who's also thinking this, this opens up the door to treating Mixolydian, Dorian and Aeolian modes as simple tonalities in their own right by using the V7sus4 in place of what would be the otherwise completely absent V7.

  3. You can make any chord sound like a tonic through repetition, metrical emphasis or simple duration. Outside of the Western European classical tradition, musical time determines tonicity more than voice leading. There are uncountably many blues, rock, funk, R&B, dance and rap songs that do not use V7 chords.

  4. Those (and others) all "work", the question is only "how", or how strong a tonicization (or what kind) you want.

  5. Secondary dominants don't have to use the 7th, they can be just triads. You can also use secondary vii°7 chords to tonicize.

  6. Sure. Why not. Tonicization is all about creating unrest and then moving to a point that feels safe from the unrest. No need to use a V7, even though the V7 will include many of the notes that create unrest to resolve from. You could do a IV iv I to resolve to a new I. But even more abstract: If you play something like biiidim long enough and then switch to bIII you can use the resolution to make it feel like a idim to I, especially if the melody supports said motion.

  7. iv should work, not sure offhand how it is if you add the seventh though. The iv-I has dominant function though .

  8. Yes, but it does not tonicize anything. It weaves through seemingly unrelated 'Dorian' (m13) and 'Lydian' chords (maj7#11) fitting the melody.

  9. If you're limiting yourself to variations of a V chord, then augmented chords are a great stand-in to bring some extra diversity in harmonic colors.

  10. Nice... I'll have to keep these in mind... That said, I'm primarily focusing on different variations on V so that I can get as much out of that as I can in as many situations as I can.

  11. At the end of the intro to "The Wall" by Kansas, Db major gets tonicised by a quick motion to and from Gbm. A quick I-iv-I does the job well in a unique way.

  12. Something that could work is just staying on the same chord for a long time. At some point the listener will accept it as the new tonic

  13. Any chord with good voice leading... and even just things as simple as repetition, volume or timber

  14. May or may not be what you’re looking for, but you could try playing some chords that lead into the one you want to tonicize. If you want to tonicize the vi chord in major you could start from the ii and go | ii | vi | V/vi | vi |, but instead try leading into the vi with something like | ii-V/vi | vi |. I like the sneakier resolution that motion can have but would probably not move to a tonic out of the diatonic key in the way I just described, it would more likely be to get to another mode by changing the quality of the V/vi to be a V/(whatever mode I wanna move into with vi as the root), and then I would just think of the 6 chord as the 1 for that section.

  15. The practicality of this comes from finding the way back more than the way out if you still want to be in C major, but there are a million ways you could do both. Point being try experimenting with the order/arrangement alongside more modal detours that still return to the diatonic key in the end

  16. iim7b5-I and iv-I I think have been mentioned, they're pretty much the same thing and they definitely work. Tritone substitution also, so bII7-I (idk if it's proper to express it like that but that's always kinda how I thought about it, just paying attention to the voice leading of the tritone). I'll also go out on a limb and say that establishing a pedal point can allow for a kind of non-cadential tonicization where, even if the tonality isn't neccesarly clear, the root is firmly established.

  17. There are other harmonies that can serve a dominant function and thereby tonicize a key: Leading tone chords (diminished and fully diminished 7th chords a half-step below the chord you’re tonicizing), also tritone substitutions (bII7 of the chord you’re tonicizing). You just need a harmony that serves a dominant function

  18. You could use a low drone of the note you're trying to tonicize. Also making sure to throw the note down on the stronger beats in the melody, and using ostinatos that repeat the tonic can help.

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