This post is about a very specific chord, called a Neapolitan Chord. Here is an example progression in C min, going from predominant (N6) to dominant (G7) to tonic (Cmin7). Therefore, the fourth scale degree is usually doubled in this chord, which is the third of the triad, since it is both a primary tone and in major keys is the only non-chromatic note. For example ii6 – V is an up a 4th root movement. ), [Note: moving up a 4th, down a 3rd and up one step are the three types of root movement that are most common in musical progressions. If you have ever heard someone talk about music, you have probably heard them mention chords. Doubling: As you may know, chromatic notes should not be doubled, and primary tones are good notes to double. How it is spelled: The Neapolitan is a major triad built on the lowered second scale degree; therefore it consists of these scale degrees: lowered 2, 4, and the low 6. A Neapolitan Chord is a very rare and unique chord, because it is non-diatonic, meaning it is not built from any of the notes of a major or minor scale. To find out, we need to recap exactly what a chord is. There are a few important things to remember: double the third, as it is a primary tone and is not an altered tone; place the b2 scale degree in the soprano or alto voice. An Overview Of The 20th Century Music Era. Just like the ii chord that it shares a scale degree with, a Neapolitan chord is most often used in a predominant function, meaning it acts as a setup chord to the dominant, which then resolves back to the tonic. Chords are one of the most elemental parts of music, and they are found in every single song you would hear on the radio or at a concert. He is currently working as a film composer and writing a book on film music. [Note: If you compare the distance between the roots of the two chord functions being used in your analysis for the pivot chord, this will always indicate the distance of the modulation. Rarely, the root may be doubled, but this occurs infrequently, typically only when this chord is being tonicized. Some theory texts indicate this chord as bII (“flat II”). Using a Neapolitan 6th chord as a pivot chord in modulation: A Neapolitan chord is useful as a pivot chord in modulation. This chord will function as the Neapolitan in the key of F# minor. For example, in C major, the 2nd scale degree is D – so if we lower the D it becomes Db, and so in C major a Neapolitan Chord would be Db Maj. This is because, in minor the “vi” scale degree is lowered, and therefore is the same note that would appear as the 5th in a bII chord. When a secondary dominant resolves to a root position N chord, the root of the N may be doubled – this will mean the lowered 2nd scale degree in the bass will leap a tritone when resolving to V while the other lowered 2nd scale degree doubled above will move to the leading tone as required, as in the example below. [Note: moving up a 4th, down a 3rd and up one step are the three types of root movement that are most common in musical progressions. Chords with more than three notes include seventh chords (called so because they use the 7th scale degree) or extended chords which can have five, six, or even seven notes in a single chord. What this chord does: The Neapolitan is a pre-dominant chord. What is it, and how does it function? In major, the Neapolitan chord requires both the 2nd and 6th scale degrees to be lowered, which makes this chord more chromatic in the major mode, and a bit more surprising to the ear. This chord is usually indicated by the letter N, and if in first inversion as N6, which is the most common usage. © Hello Music Theory 2020 | All rights reserved | Sitemap. It is not the quality of the chord, but rather the relationship of the chord to the tonality that gives this chord its unexpected character. Since this chord is a major triad, its sound is not dissonant. I’m Dan and I run this website. If this way of analyzing pivot chords is new to you, you may wish to visit the tutorial about how to easily find a pivot chord to modulate to any key.]. Download my free eBook with all my favourite music theory resources. How it is indicated in musical analysis: This chord is usually indicated by the letter N, and if in first inversion as N6, which is the most common usage. This is the most important thing to remember about the voice leading of this chord, and the first thing to take care of when resolving it. It is derived from the diminished iio chord in minor, by lowering the root. Most often, the third of the N chord (the 4th scale degree) is in the bass. In this example they are constructed of two consecutive thirds. He has a PhD in Music from the University of Surrey, and he has composed music that has been played in three different countries. The piece is in C#min, and in the second half of bar 3 Beethoven plays a DMaj chord – listen for it at 0:23. A minor 3rd is 3 semitones, and a Major 3rd is 4 semitones, and a Major and minor chord are different because the Major chord has a Major 3rd – minor 3rd stack and a minor chord has a minor 3rd – Major 3rd stack. Welcome to Hello Music Theory! Your email address will not be published. You may wish to visit the tutorial on typical root movement if you have not analyzed music this way before.]. The Neapolitan chord . It is a major chord built from the flattened 2nd scale degree. This is a modulation to a closely related key, from a minor tonic to the minor dominant (i to v), using the VI in the original key as the pivot, which is N in the new key.