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With mi­nor keys, the nature of the par­ent scale has an ef­fect on the qual­ity of di­a­tonic chords, but not their func­tion. For in­stance, tonic chords in a major key are I, iii and vi, but in a mi­nor key are i, III and VI. Dom­i­nant chords in a major key are V and viiº, but in a mi­nor key are v and VII if the nat­u­ral mi­nor is used as the par­ent scale, or V and viiº if the har­monic mi­nor is used, due to the pres­ence of its sharp­ened 7th de­gree.


Any chord that can take the place of an­other and per­form the same har­monic func­tion is known as a ‘sub­sidiary’ chord. Sub­sidiary chords can be used to liven up mun­dane chord pro­gres­sions that fea­ture mainly pri­mary chords (I, IV and V), ei­ther by com­plete sub­sti­tu­tion of the orig­i­nal or by chang­ing half­way through a long pri­mary chord, speed­ing up the rate at which the chords change (har­monic rhythm).

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