5.6 Inserting vi

Like IV, vi may be used to expand the initial tonic. For instance, the Irish folk song "Rosin the Bow" has a vi chord inserted in an initial tonic which lasts from the beginning of the song to the second measure of the second phrase. Listen for and see the B minor chord on the word "go" above.

The video to the left shows that movement from I to vi and back in four voices is straightforward, with the smoothest voice leading being CTS with two common tones. As in both phrases in the video, there is frequently a passing tone between the bass notes of I and vi.

The bottom system shows that VI may be used to expand the tonic in minor as well as in major.
An interesting situation occurs when the vi chord may be considered both expanding the tonic, as on this page, and leading to ii, as part of a circle progression. In the video to the right these two functions are represented by a bracket for the tonic expansion, and by an arrow for the circle progression.

The beginning of the third movement of Brahms' Violin Concerto op. 77 has an example of vi expanding the initial tonic. See the reduced score below and listen to the .mp3.

Orchestral reduction from Tim Cutler's site, Music Theory Examples. Thank you, Dr. Cutler.

Comments? Click here.