A Neapolitan chord is a major chord built on the flattened second scale degree (the super-tonic) of a major or minor scale. For example, the Neapolitan chord in the key of C major, or minor, would be a Db major chord. These chords often resolve to a primary or secondary dominant chord from another mode or tonality and thus can be used as a device for modulation. Its function is close to that of a sub-dominant chord and for that reason is often considered as a pre-dominant chord. Being a major chord, it is commonly used in minor keys because of its contrast with the minor sub-dominant chord or the diminished super-tonic – see augmented sixth chords.
Do you like what you read?
Subscribe to the newsletter and get a free sample of the Beyond Music Theory eBook!