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Section 9.6 The Subtonic VII Chord in Popular Music

Although we will discuss mode mixture and the Mixolydian mode later, the ubiquity of the subtonic chord (♭\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\)) in rock and popular music makes it important to discuss here.
The ♭\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) chord can precede tonic, dominant, and pre-dominant chords, which means it can substitute for any function except tonic.
Figure 9.6.1. Harmonic Flowchart for Popular Music with Subtonic \(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) chord in Major
Notice also that movement from \(\left.\text{IV}\right.\)\(\left.\text{I}\right.\) (from the plagal cadence) is common in the following examples from popular music.
Here are examples ending with ♭\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\)\(\left.\text{IV}\right.\)\(\left.\text{I}\right.\), where \(\left.\text{IV}\right.\) progresses to \(\left.\text{I}\right.\) (a plagal cadence) and is preceded by ♭\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\).
Figure 9.6.2. Lennon-McCartney, “Hey Jude” (bass line and chords only) (1968)
Consider the following questions: When a phrase ends on the \(\left.\text{IV}\right.\) chord, does it have dominant function (i.e, is it a half cadence)? Does \(\left.\text{IV}\right.\) have dominant function in popular music when it progresses to \(\left.\text{I}\right.\)? If so, does ♭\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) have pre-dominant function in the above progression?
Notice that ♭\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) begins the phrase in the following example, and proceeds to a \(\left.\text{IV}\right.\)\(\left.\text{I}\right.\) conclusion.
Figure 9.6.3. U2, “Desire” (bass line and chords) (1988)
The following example has ♭\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) preceding and following the \(\left.\text{IV}\right.\) chord. Does the ♭\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) chord have tonic prolongation as labeled, or is it “pre pre-dominant” in function?
Figure 9.6.4. Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” (bass line and chords) (1985)
Here is an example with ♭\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) cadencing to the \(\left.\text{I}\right.\) chord in the first four bars then progressing to the \(\left.\text{vi}\right.\) chord in a deceptive cadence in the second four bars.
Figure 9.6.5. Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, “Reelin’ in the Years” (bass line and chords)