Harmony/Basic Materials/Four Strong Modes/Chromatic Major


3. The chromatic major mode

The chromatic MAJOR
     a sharpening, ascending mode

This mode comes as a surprise to almost everyone.
     It is the inverse of the nucleus of the Diatonic Major Mode (mode 1).

We will remain in the natural diatonic system
with the keys of C major and A minor.

This mode consists of -

A - A nucleus (at the bottom of the Window)
     composed of 2 major chords and 1 minor chord,
          giving this mode a major-minor "mix".
The progressions in this nucleus are bidirectional -
     the TONIC C progressing
          down to the DOMINANT Fm, and
          up to the COUNTER-DOMINANT G
There are here 3 powerful Dominant-shape chords -
     IV6 - Fm6, V7 - G7, and I7 - C7.
The DOMINANT Fm6 resolves in the opposite direction
     to the other two powerful chords.

     Since the direction of the mode
     is essentially sharpening, ascending,
          as we pass through the minor chords in the top of the window,
          we automatically modulate into the relative minor mode,
               in this case in the key of Am, with its DOMINANT Dm6 (mode 2).
     Moreover, the DOMINANT chord, Fm6, is at the bottom of the Window,
          placing the ANTE-1 chord
               (as well as the other ANTES, if there are any)
          outside of the Window, in no position to act as a real tail
               leading into the DOMINANT chord.
     For all intents and purposes, music in this mode is mostly restricted
          to the three chords of the nucleus.

A - In the nucleus
The chromatic "IV" DOMINANT chord, Fm6,
     resolves up to the "I" TONIC chord, C.

The chromatic flattening, descending TONIC chord, C7,
     resolves back down to the DOMINANT chord, Fm.

This swing between 2 Dominant-shape chords is the essence of Free Harmony.
     It is also the pivot of Adjacent Chromatic Modes.

     resolves down to the TONIC chord, C.

The sharpening, ascending TONIC chord, C6,
     resolves back up to the COUNTER--DOMINANT, G.
The same kind of "Swings" we had in the major mode.

Notice that the first swing has the chromatic notes Bb and Ab
while the second has the diatonic notes A and B.

B - Even if this mode does not have a tail,
It is possible to make a circle which "passes through" the minor mode.

Traveling between modes
How does one “travel” to this mode from the other (minor) modes?
     By following the normal trajectory of its circle, the last 5 chords,
          which brings us from A minor (either mode 2 or mode 3) to C major.
Note that the first 4 chords traveled from C major to A minor
     along the path we saw in mode 2, as we would expect,
          both modes being in the same direction, sharpening (ascending).
     We could travel from one chromatic mode to the other chromatic mode by taking
          the last 5 chords of this circle and
          the last 5 chords of the circle of mode 4.

It is possible to change modes much more abruptly as we shall see in the
Adjacent Chromatic Modes

Strong DOMINANT-type chords
This chromatic mode also has 3 strong chords in its nucleus:
          (1) the new official DOMINANT chord ("IV" - Fm6)
               which has been chromaticized
                    to impose the sharpening, ascending direction of the mode;
          (2) the old diatonic DOMINANT ("V" - G7 - see mode 1)
               which has lost none of its strength;
          (3) the flattening, descending TONIC chord ("I" - C7)
               which has also been chromaticized
                    to make it compatible with the new chromatic DOMINANT.
Of the 4 nucleus chords, only the ascending Tonic ("I" - C6) is still weak.

All strong DOMINANT-type chords
Were it to be dominantized as well (Cm6), we would end up with nothing but strong chords.

Those on a Guided tour should click on next in the Navigation Bar below.

Those browsing might wish to see -
The Adjacent Chromatic Modes
The Diatonic Major Mode
The Diatonic Minor Mode
The Chromatic Minor Mode