Chord function - III chord (not iii)

swarfrat

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I only recently learned that the 2 major chord is really the V of V. But I recently figured out this hymn that has both a 3 and a 2 in it. The 2 does indeed resolve to the 5 chord, but the 3 either bounces back to the 6- or resolves to the 1.

The tune is usually called Beecher or Zundel, I think it's most widely known as "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling". This one has kind of haunted me since I started trying to figure out hymns on guitar, just because the harmony is kind of strange

So what's going on here in the third line?
IMG_20221122_193226735.jpg
 

swarfrat

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Here it is with melody - I'm not saying it can't be a key change but ... I think it's just a stank face chord that gets snuck in to see who's paying attention. (Especially that 2)
 

swarfrat

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But if it's relative minor, wouldn't the same chords all still be minor or major with a new place in the new key? I. e. Every named chord retains it's composition, it just changes function
Key \ ChordB♭CmDmE♭FGmA°
B♭12-3-456-7°
Gm34-5-6712
 
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aadvark

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The D chord is functioning as a dominant of Gm, the relative minor. including the leading tone F#. ie, not as a iii or III. The interesting moment is when it arrives at D major towards the end, like the dominant of Gm, and then slips back to Bb major - this version gets around that by isolating the D pitches without harmonisation, nice trick. hope that helps.
 
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Guran

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But if it's relative minor, wouldn't the same chords all still be minor or major with a new place in the new key? I. e. Every named chord retains it's composition, it just changes function
Key \ ChordB♭CmDmE♭FGmA°
B♭12-3-456-7°
Gm34-5-6712
Yes, but it's common practice to make the V chord a dominant. The dominant chord helps define the (new (in this case)) key.
 

BigDaddyLH

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Yes, but it's common practice to make the V chord a dominant. The dominant chord helps define the (new (in this case)) key.

@swarfrat, did you ever learn "the three minor scales": natural, harmonic, and melodic? Well, you were talking about chords in the natural minor while this song, and stuff from its era, uses harmonies built on the harmonic scale. As the two previous replies point out, raising F to F# creates a dominant V7 chord, D F# A C which makes the progression from D7 to Gm much stronger. That's why they do it.

For example:
measure 9, fourth beat (D7 = D C F# A) to measure 10 first beat Gm = (D Bb G). The F# goes up a half step to G, which sounds stronger than if F# was Fnat.
 

jbmando

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But if it's relative minor, wouldn't the same chords all still be minor or major with a new place in the new key? I. e. Every named chord retains it's composition, it just changes function
Key \ ChordB♭CmDmE♭FGmA°
B♭12-3-456-7°
Gm34-5-6712
Yes, in a typical Aeolian tune, the 5 is minor, but very often in Western music, the dominant V is used in a minor key due to the use of the harmonic minor scale, which has a raised 7th, making the 5 chord major. The A Harmonic minor scale is A B C D E F G# A, the G# being the major third of E.
 

swarfrat

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For an alternate interpretation, my friend I consulted says i wouldn't call it a modulation because it doesn't go somewhere new. Instead it's a deceptive cadence and the 3 major is actually the V of vi, and the 2 major is more obviously the V of V.

I think I can get more behind this interpretation
 

AAT65

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Not being familiar with the melody, I can't give you a definitive answer but I think it's just there to define an actual key change to the relative minor. The 6- becomes a I- and the 3 becomes a V chord. Pretty common.
I’d say it’s a sort of faked-out modulation to the relative minor, because it doesn’t stick & we are back to the starting key a couple of bars later — but vi and III like that definitely is a hint at a modulation with vi as the new i and III as the new V.
Yes, in a typical Aeolian tune, the 5 is minor, but very often in Western music, the dominant V is used in a minor key due to the use of the harmonic minor scale, which has a raised 7th, making the 5 chord major. The A Harmonic minor scale is A B C D E F G# A, the G# being the major third of E.
This is why minor songs are so much more interesting harmonically!! The harmonic minor (sharpened 7) and melodic minor (sharpened 6 and 7 on the way up) mean you get b6 and natural 6, b7 and natural 7 to play with. That gives you possible chords i, ii and iib5, bIII, iv and IV, v and V, bVI and vib5, bVII (which can be a 7 or a major 7 chord) — and you can switch between those alternatives as you go.
 

BigDaddyLH

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I’d say it’s a sort of faked-out modulation to the relative minor, because it doesn’t stick & we are back to the starting key a couple of bars later — but vi and III like that definitely is a hint at a modulation with vi as the new i and III as the new V.
I agree it's too brief to be called a modulation. I'd just say "chords were borrowed from the relative minor", which happens all the time.
 

soundcloset

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I know what sounds good, but my grasp of theory is quite limited -- quite very limited -- this is one of my favorite hymns to sing and one of those for which I know the bass part by heart. And being in the type of church that does modern worship songs (for which I bounce between guitar and bass duties) -- I miss hymns.
 

swarfrat

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I really started to miss hymns when I hit mid 40's and I started singing them to my kid when he was a baby. Couple that with I started to become aware modern worship songs were being cycled out every 5-10 years and I really wanted to make sure to pass these down so he has something to come back to when he reaches adulthood.

Once you suss this one out out there's nothing hard to play in it, it just has the quirky moments because of the (see above). No diminished 5ths.. which seems to the bane of guitar players (there's often multiple 5ths to move). But when I started to figure these out this was one that really stumped me, so it kinda became my white whale.

My big overarching goal is kind to bring hymns more or less intact to the guitar/bass/drums/keyboard stage band. Play it like you're subbing a gig and someone drops a chord chart in front of you. Play anything you think will fit, just don't lose grandma. Not ripping off a 300 year old song and sticking your own Circle C on it - just play the song. (I already got copyright claimed for Amazing Love (And Can It Be), straight out of the hymn book. Warner Chappelle thinks they own the melody because one of their artists played a 200 year old public domain song)

This does of course bring you into contact with some weird harmonization from time to time
 
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fenderchamp

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Here it is with melody - I'm not saying it can't be a key change but ... I think it's just a stank face chord that gets snuck in to see who's paying attention. (Especially that 2)
stank and love divine .. Guam cheese?
 

BigDaddyLH

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I know what sounds good, but my grasp of theory is quite limited -- quite very limited -- this is one of my favorite hymns to sing and one of those for which I know the bass part by heart. And being in the type of church that does modern worship songs (for which I bounce between guitar and bass duties) -- I miss hymns.

I don't play on that team, but I do like a good requiem. Love singing along to the bass part of "tuba mirum"

 

SRHmusic

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The (major) III chord shows up fairly often. Two examples at least for my "easy piano" playing, both in C with a cool E7 stuck in the middle of a sequence with C E7 and F.
Imagine (John Lennon)
Nobody Home (Pink Floyd, on The Wall)

I think it's easiest to hear it as the V of the vi chord, which is one of the tonic chords (I, iii, vi). But... these songs don't go to the vi chord where the III appears, so perhaps not.

Also, for when a chord from a parallel minor key shows up without actually modulating to the key, it's called a "borrowed chord from a parallel minor."

I just find it easier to remember a major III sounds cool and might show up sometimes. For me it's in the same mental bucket as a IV (major) to iv (minor) change, e.g. "songwriting things that are fairly common. "

Jake Lizzo has a few videos on these topics with some examples. Here's one.
 

Chester P Squier

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About once a month, I use my acoustic guitar to lead music at afternoon worship services at a senior living center. (In fact, I did this just yesterday.) One of the fun things is figuring out the chords. It's not hard, since I grew up singing them and playing them on the piano as part of my piano lessons. I use a capo on hymns in keys with flats.

When I was young teaching myself to play the guitar, my dad said "when you're playing the guitar, you're playing the bass," and my brothers and I would say "no, you're playing the chords." But if you know how the bass line goes in a hymn, you can figure out the chords rather quickly and easily and determine the difference between the underlying chords and passing tones. Hint: Play the underlying chords!
 




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