Tip #84 – New Paths with Multiple Harmonic Functions

You can probably recall a bunch of stories, television shows, movies, etc. where some character is on a journey. And on that journey, they come across a fork in the road that seems to lead into multiple directions. That one spot the character is in – the center of it all – branches into different pathways on where to go.

The same thing appears in music, as chords have multiple functions and various chord quality overlaps in different keys.

For example: If I play a C major triad chord, what would come next? Or better question; what key are we in? Because, a C major triad appears in multiple keys – all with different harmonic functions.

Below is a “cheat-sheet” of common chords found in music and the possible diatonic harmonic functions found in various keys:

Experiment, and see where it leads you to!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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