Secondary scale

Why does Scaler show only one column of secondary chords at a time in the “secondary scale” pane? Why not all at once, particularly as it’s quite cumbersome to move the column with the arrows, and the screen estate is there?

Besides, it’s not really clear to me what the musical function of the upper rows is … They are a the triad (the 7th) a major second (a perfect fifth) from the scale degree in the bottom row, not the V of the row underneath, right? What do I need this for? I would have expected that this pane allows me to quickly dial in progressions like V/V/V -> V/V -> V -> I or IV/V -> V/V -> V -> I, but it seems to serve a different purpose …

Hi @pk-1,

the chords present on the modulation panel are secondary “ii of” and secondary “V of” for each degree of the destination scale, those help you reach a certain degree or have an idea of how you could back-cycle from the destination degree.

Secondary chords are used to escape temporarily from your scale and give strong V to n resolution. They are sometimes referred as tonicization since they could be use to renforce an established tonal key by strong resolution “V of” without modulating too much.

Have a look at the wikipedia page and you will understand, and have fun and play with those screens :slight_smile: .

Hope that helps,


Hi Paul,

Thanks for your reply!

I guess I’m kind of familiar with the theory, which is why I was asking in the first place. But maybe my post wasn’t clear enough.

So, let’s only look at a major destination scale for now. The first row above is the “V7 of”, so that’s OK.

On the row above though, it’s showing the “ii of”, and I’m wondering why.

While ii -> V -> I is a very common circle-of-fifth progression by itself, in the context of secondary chords, one might be more interested in progressions like V/V/x -> V/x -> x or IV/x -> V/x -> x rather than the suggested ii/x -> V/x -> x. But that’s just my take.

(As a side note, Scaler leaves the music theory point of view concerning secondary functions altogether (as far as I can tell) in destination scales other than major. It strictly follows the algorithm of transposing the chords in the same type of scale by major seconds and perfect fifths. That’s easy to implement of course, but I’m not sure yet if it’s musically useful.)

Anyways, my “feature request” was actually more about seeing all these chords immediately (similar to the “modal interchange” pane), rather than having to select the target scale degree with the arrow buttons. I see no purpose in that, and I find it needlessly cumbersome.

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We are not suggesting those as concrete pathways rather displaying predominant and secondary dominant of each scale degree which was a heavily requested feature. We have a suggested modulation pathway which is more human in the progression preset (based on a chord progression you have in section c).
Thanks for the feedback though and the request of showing all. We will take it on board and discuss.

Thanks a lot for your replies David, really great to see such a dedicated and dynamic development team!

I also should have mentioned that I really appreciate that Scaler at least considers “standard” concepts of theory rather than leaving you with an endless list of “popular” chord progressions.