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Secondary Chords and Extended Dominants

A "Secondary Chord" is one that is taken from the Key of some other Note within the Scale. We can play this Chord in place of or leading up to a Chord built off of that same Note.

For example, if we are in the Key of C Major, we can play the V Chord of the Key of D minor in place of or leading up to the D minor Chord (the ii Chord) of C Major.

This would be written as...

V/ii
[read as "the five of two"]

In this case, since the V is a "Dominant Chord", this would be called a "Secondary Dominant". Here are a few of the most common Secondary Dominants [click each link to see them in every Key]:

V/ii → ii
V/iii → iii
V/vi → vi

We can string together many Secondary Dominants into a kind of Chord Progression or Cadence. These are called "Extended Dominants":

V/V/V/V/V → V/V/V/V → V/V/V → V/V → I

There is also a "Secondary Subdominant":

IV/IV → IV