Tredezima chord

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Variants of the dominant tredecima chord of C major / minor. The blackened noteheads indicate the decimals that are left out in most cases.

A tredezima chord , also tredezima chord or third decimal [en] chord is a seven-tone that is created by "overtaking" (= adding another third ) of an undecimal chord . It is composed of six thirds layered on top of one another , which make up the frame interval of a tredezime . The chord can theoretically be set up on all scales, but is mainly used in a dominant function . In the case of the dominant tredezima chord on the fifth degree in major (note example a1), the frame interval is a major treadmill, which is why one speaks of the "large" dominant treadmill chord, in contrast to the "small" dominant tredezima chord (with a small treadmill), which is ladder in minor (note example b2 ).

The function symbol D 13 denotes the dominant treadmill chord par excellence and, without any further information, means the major dominant treadmill chord (note example a1). If one of the two forms is to be identified explicitly, D 13+ is used for the large variant , D 13- for the small variant. Because of the increasing mixing of major and minor in the course of history, the D 13- also occurs in major, less often the D 13+ in minor. The ninth can be large or small in both cases. The D 13+ is also used with a lower ninth (9-, note example a2), the D 13- in addition to the more common form with a lower ninth ( e.g. b2) also with a capital ninth (e.g. b1).

The dominant- third chord rarely occurs completely; the undecimal is usually missing in order to avoid the conflict with its resolution interval (the decime = third octave upwards); in contrast, the third is usually missing in the sounding of the undecimal; the fifth is also often left out. The historically earliest form of the third chord is the very fragmentary form with the fifth, ninth and undecimal omitted (note example c), which is also known as the Chopin chord ; it emerged from the sixth lead before the fifth in the dominant seventh chord (D 7 6-5 ) by making the lead chord independent.

Ravel , from Pavane pour une infante défunte (piano version from 1899)

Application examples

More intensive use of tredezimen chords can only be found in the late Romantic period ( Bruckner , Mahler , Strauss and others) and especially in Impressionism . In the example by Maurice Ravel on the left, a dominant tredecimal chord of F major is built up from the triad sequences that reverberate in the pedal, whereby the third or decimal is initially left out if there is an undezime. This then appears at the accentuated climax as a kind of "resolution" in place of the now missing undecimal. The resolution into the tonic then takes place via a four-note chord, which consists of the notes of the Chopin chord, but stands out from it as a third inversion due to its unusual position and is continued in disregard of conventional voice guidance rules. The fact that Ravel knew these rules nonetheless and apparently deliberately violated them (increasing their effectiveness) can be seen from the fact that a few bars before a Chopin chord (with the added ninth “spiced”) occurs in its basic form and is resolved completely in accordance with the rules.

Debussy , from No. VIII of Volume 2 of the Preludes ( Ondine ), composed between 1910 and 1912. The undecimal (in brackets) is missing in the tredezima chords.

Although in the example of Ravel there are already approaches to a de-functionalized use of chords, z. For example, his treatment of the treadmill chord can still be interpreted in a functional sense as a dominant tension with subsequent dissolution into the tonic. In the adjacent excerpt from the Préludes by Claude Debussy , which was written more than ten years later, a functional assignment of the dominant tredezima chords used is no longer possible: they are used as pure "color harmonies" and are strung together by parallel shifting of the voices ( like a mixture ). The mixture-part writing is not entirely "real" but "varies" because (D under the (large) Dominanttredezimakkorde with great None 13 ) even such a small None (D 9- 13+ mixes).


  • Reinhard Amon: Lexicon of harmony . 2nd Edition. Doblinger, Vienna 2015, ISBN 978-3-902667-56-4 , pp. 230 f .

Web links

  • Everard Sigal: composition, dominants , online . Retrieved October 10, 2015.