Skip to main content

Section 22.6 Modulations with Chromatic Pivot Chords

You will sometimes encounter examples where the pivot chord is a chromatic chord in at least one (and sometimes both) of the keys involved in the modulation.

Subsection 22.6.1 Secondary Common Chord

Below is an example where the pivot chord is a secondary chord in both keys.

Figure 22.6.1 Schubert, Schwanegesang, D. 957, “Abschied” (1828)

Subsection 22.6.2 Borrowed Common Chord

In modulation by borrowed common chord (or mode mixture), the pivot chord will be a borrowed chord in one of the keys involved in the modulation.

In the following example, a borrowed chord, \(\left.\text{i}^{6}\right.\) in D♭ minor, rewritten as a C♯ minor chord, is reinterpreted as \(\left.\text{vi}^{6}\right.\) in the second key, E major.

Figure 22.6.2 Beethoven, Piano Sonata No. 31 in A♭ major, Op.110, I, (1821)

Subsection 22.6.3 Neapolitan Common Chord

A particularly adventurous and imaginative pivot is the Neapolitan, which can bridge the gap between two foreign (or distantly related) keys.

Figure 22.6.3 Schubert, Schwanegesang, D. 957, “Frühlingssehnsucht” (1828)

In the example above, Schubert bridges the tonal distance between D minor and A♭ minor with \(\left.\text{N}^{6}_{5}\right.\) (note the dominant–seventh quality of the Neapolitan in this instance), which acts as a \(\left.\text{V}^{6}_{5}\right.\) in A♭ minor, a tritone away from D minor.

Subsection 22.6.4 Augmented Sixth Common Chord

In the next chapter, we will examine how Augmented Sixth chords are enharmonically reinterpreted in a process known as enharmonic modulation.