TonalityGUIDE - basic tonal music theory and analysis for undergraduates
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Longer Progressions


introduction diatonic chromatic

introduction | diminished 7th | augmented 6th | Neapolitan


short progs.
longer progs.

A Neapolitan chords can form part of a longer progression in two main ways: 1) the Neapolitan itself is expanded; 2) it is used as a way of modulating to a key that is quite distant on the circle of fifths

The example below shows a Neapolitan (bII) chord in C major reinforced by a secondary dominant. Sometimes a Neapolitan is almost expanded into a properly established modulation.


In the next example a Neapolitan is used to modulate from C to C#. The tonic of the old key itself becomes a Neapolitan in the new key - in this case resolving onto a cadential six-four.


In this final example, a Neapolitan chord is used in a rather looser context to provide harmonic colour. In this extract from a Beethoven piano sonata, the bII precedes a first inversion tonic chord, but still eventually leads to a perfect cadence - albeit a weak one.



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