Lesson 5 - Chromatic Substitutions: Borrowed Chords

This module builds off of the concept of chord substitution that was introduced previously. However, this week we look at chords that are chromatic, rather than diatonic. Some of you may be familiar with the concept of chromaticism. Its simplest definition is the use of chords that are not part of the key of the passage in which they are used. One of the things that chromaticism helps to make possible is modulation to new keys, so sometimes people think that chromaticism is music that changes keys. That’s not completely true - although it is often the case. In Write Like Mozart we will look only at uses of chromatic harmony that do not cause modulation. (Modulation is a large topic that would take perhaps 2-3 weeks to properly cover, and we just don’t have the space here.) We will also get our feet wet with 2-voice counterpoint. We will look at writing 2:1 counterpoint, that is, 2 notes in the upper voice against 1 note in the lower voice. Counterpoint can go much deeper than this, but it is a subject on its own and also well beyond the space we have in this course. However, I did want to give some guidance in it because we will look at a Bagatelle by Beethoven this week in which he uses 2-voice counterpoint. Since this work could serve in part as a model for your own final project composition, I thought it would be good to take a bit of time to give you some insights into how to write simple 2-voice counterpoint.

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