One of my adult students is working on the gorgeous J.C. Bach Prelude in A minor which has a second page full of “Major,” “Minor” and “Diminished” chords. The sonorities progress in sequences, but they also have a secondary dominant relationship to resolving chords. The “harmonic rhythm” moves quickly.
While this particular pupil may not be ready to understand “functional” harmony or the “modulation” dimension of the broken chords as they occur in the B section, she could learn how to form “Major,” “minor” and “diminished” chords, and then appreciate their differences through ear-training exposure.
In this video, sent between lessons, I reviewed Major, minor and Diminished chords and their derivation from five-finger positions which she has been studying in the Major and Parallel minor. The fact that the chords (broken) moved in a sequence, or a pattern also helped her navigate this section.
The Secondary Dominant aspect had been briefly noted, but will be more deeply explored as the student’s scale work around the Circle of Fifths gives an opportunity to build chords on every degree of the scale, noting harmonic relationships, cadences, and modulations.
In part B, the music blossoms into a series of secondary Dominants against sobbing, sighing pairs of descending seconds, before it returns to a familiar revisit with part of the opening A section.
Sustaining a melodic line through recurring broken pattern chords is paramount to playing the Prelude poetically and musically. Varying dynamics and tapering phrases are woven into the artistic process.
Playing through entire prelude, first in chords, then as written in broken chord sequence.
Music Theory doesn’t have to be drudgery