Tip #169 – Finding Place for the #iv Chord

The #iv chord…

A minor triad (or minor seventh chord if you choose to expand the harmony) built on the #4 scale degree… which is a tritone away from the tonic.

One use for it is as a loose chromatic approach from the IV to the V. For example, take the following harmonic progression:

Now, let’s insert the #iv chord in between the IV and V of the progression. Notice the chromatic lines and how it makes this interesting chord less “out-of-place” with the key:

It does soften the blow of the cadence because the ear is trying to figure out what key we are in, but it can be used for coloristic effect.

On the same idea of chromatics, we can substitute the IV with a #iv chord in a vi-IV-V-I progression with the use of chromatic voice-leading:

Play around with it and see how it sounds!

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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