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EpISODE 61 THE NEAPOLITAN CHORD

HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips

 

TYPE- Theory

 

DURATION- 85:17

 

BUMPER MUSIC- "Baklava Español" (Area 47)

ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe

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DESCRIPTION

The Neapolitan chord and the Neapolitan Sixth chord add a very distinctive sound

 to a progression. You've heard it many times and you probably LOVED it. Now you're going to learn all about it! We will discuss how to build one, how it's used in a progression and we'll play a few examples you may recognize. This ain't just some boring ice cream favor. This is good music!

KEY WORDS DIATONIC- When a triad, chord or melody consists of notes solely from the given key, it is considered to be DIATONIC. CHROMATIC- When a triad, chord or melody consists of notes from outside the given key, it is considered to be CHROMATIC. TONICIZATION- When a chord, other than the tonic of the given key, is temporarily given a tonic function. NEAPOLITAN CHORD ( N )- This chord is non diatonic. It is a major triad based on the b2nd scale degree. NEAPOLITAN SIXTH CHORD ( N6 )- This chord is non diatonic. It is a major triad based on the b2nd scale degree in FIRST INVERSION (with the 3rd in the lowest voice). TONIC ( I )- A note in a melody or a chord in a progression based on scale degree 1 of the given key. SUPERTONIC ( ii )- A note in a melody or a chord in a progression based on scale degree 2 of the given key. MEDIANT ( iii )- A note in a melody or a chord in a progression based on scale degree 3 of the given key. SUBDOMINANT ( IV )- A note in a melody or a chord in a progression based on scale degree 4 of the given key. DOMINANT ( V )- A note in a melody or a chord in a progression based on scale degree 5 of the given key. SUBMEDIANT ( vi )- A note in a melody or a chord in a progression based on scale degree 6 of the given key. SUBTONIC ( VII )- A note in a melody or a chord in a progression based on scale degree b7 of the given key. LEADING TONE ( viiø7 )- A note in a melody or a chord in a progression based on scale degree 7 of the major key or #7 of a minor key. SEVENTH ( 7 )- This would be the 4th chord tone added to a TRIAD. It will be a 7th above the root of the given chord. It can be major, minor, augmented or diminished. *It should be noted that all the above Roman numeral examples given were shown as uppercase (major) or lowercase (minor) as they relate to the MAJOR SCALE, as seen below: I - ii - iii - IV - V - vi - vii° - I In the MINOR SCALE, the diatonic chords will be built as seen below: i - ii° - III - iv - v - VI - VII - i EXAMPLES
 -The NEAPOLITAN CHORD (N) is a major triad built on the lowered scale degree 2 (b2), of major or minor key. -In MAJOR, there are 2 accidentals in the Neapolitan chord (b2 and b6). This chord doesn't appear as often in major as it does in minor. Below, we see these two accidentals in the N6 chord that is the Eb major chord. -In MINOR, there is 1 accidental in the Neapolitan chord (b2). Below, in Am, we see this occur in the N6 chord that is the Bb major chord. -This chord is one of PREDOMINANT function, as seen in both examples above. However, it may serve another functions. -Because the N chord more often occurs in 1st inversion, it can also be known as the Neapolitan Sixth chord (N6). -Often, it will pass through a I 6/4 chord or a viiº7/v (or both) on the way to the V chord. -The N chord will rarely go to iv or iiº. But it may follow them. -Like the unaltered II chord, the N6 will usually follow a IV, vi or i. -If it contains a 7th, it will be a major 7 (NM7) chord, in both major and minor.

VOICE LEADING CONSIDERATIONS

-In good 4-part voice leading, the 3rd would be doubled and the b2 would move down, usually to the leading tone. This results in the DIMINISHED 3RD (º3) interval. -This chord is most effective when the b2 is in the upper voice, as it is typically more audible in the higher registers. -Never double tenancy tones. b2 wants to resolve down. If this movement is doubled, parallel octaves will result. -When moving to I 6/4 chord (I chord in 1st inversion), use N6 (Neapolitan in 1st inversion)rather than N. The 'would be' parallel 5ths become parallel 4ths instead, which is not so bad. -When in root position, or (more rarely in 2nd inversion) it is best to double the bass.

OTHER USES

-The Neapolitan chord can be used within a succession of 6/3 chords (chords in 1st inversion). -Because it is often considered a borrowed chord, the Neapolitan chord will often be used along with other borrowed chords. -Though more common in 1ST INVERSION (N6), the Neapolitan can often appear in ROOT position (N). -In jazz, the Neapolitan chord will often function as a DOMINANT rather than a PREDOMINANT. -The N or N6 chord can be tonicized. The bVI (natural to minor, borrowed in major) will act as the V of N. THINGS TO REMEMBER -Practice writing progressions using the Neapolitan chord and the Neapolitan Sixth chord. -If you decide to make the Neapolitan a SEVENTH chord, it will be a MAJOR SEVENTH (M7) chord in major and in minor. -You can tonicize the Neapolitan chord with a bVI. -Try using other BORROWED CHORDS in progression with the Neapolitan chord.

MUSIC STUDENT 101

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