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Harmony for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Chapter 8. Secondary Triads

When we hear a chord progression, the three primary triads represent the main points of reference that our ear will continually pick up on. And although we, as listeners, might not be aware of this, it is through our hearing of the three primary triads in a chord progression that we gain an overall sense of the key of the music. This includes our awareness of a particular tonic or home chord and, of course, whether the key is major or minor.

Because of the important role that the three primary triads play for our key awareness and sense of tonality, the three primary triads will always be the most important chords that we will use in a chord progression. Yet they are by no means the only chords that we can use. A scale—major ...

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