Using Neapolitan Chords (Music Theory Lesson)

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In the previous lessons, we learned how to construct Neapolitan chords. In this lesson, we will learn how to use them.

Although root position and second inversion Neapolitans exist, first inversion is normally used. When in this inversion, the Neapolitan is commonly called a Neapolitan sixth.

In this inversion, the Neapolitan is called a Neapolitan sixth.

Notice that the Neapolitan sixth's bass note is the same as a first inversion iio (or ii) or a root position iv (or IV).

For this reason, it often substitutes for these chords. Hence, it primarily functions as a predominant.

Consider this example.

We can replace the ii6 chord with a Neapolitan sixth. Listen to the new example.

Next, consider this example.

This time, we will replace the IV with a Neapolitan sixth.

Use this chart to reference the Neapolitan chord's usage. Listen to the new example.

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