When you think “AP Music Theory”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Chances are it has something to do with chords. From chord structure to chord progressions, just about anything in AP Music Theory has to deal with chords, so it’s a good thing we’re learning about them!
We started working on the fourth chapter of our textbooks, appropriately titled “Chords”. Starting off with triads, it ventured into the realm of seventh chords as well. It spoke of different analytical methods used to break apart music from roman numerals to figured bass to popular-music symbols. All in all, it was a pretty meaty chapter.
In class, we started off with (and will primarily use) the roman numeral system of analysis, which I quickly recognized from the second grade. “Now wait a minute,” you might say. “Almost 2 months into the course and you’re reviewing stuff from 2nd grade?!” Not exactly. Taking beginner piano lessons, some of the first chords I learned were the I (one) chord, the IV (four) chord, and the V⁷ (five-seven) chord. I didn’t know what these symbols meant, and I didn’t really discover until this chapter.
The roman numeral given depends on which scale degree the chord is built off. For example in C-major, I is built off a C, IV is built off an F, and V is built off a G. “Okay sure but what about that little seven?” That is actually “borrowed” from the figured bass system, indicating that there will be a seventh interval built above the V, or in our example, the G. This gives us the elusive seventh-chord (in our example, G-B-D-F). Crazy, huh?
I hope to continue my education next week learning more about the other forms of analysis and more about seventh-chords.
That’s it for now; stay tuned!