Deceptive resolution is when a dominant chord does not resolve in its tonic. For example, the G7 chord is the fifth degree (V7) of C (dominant of C), so our ear expects it to resolve in C. If, after G7, a chord other than C was played, we would have a deceptive resolution, that is, it would be a surprise for our ear!

We call this resolution “deceptive” because it is as if our ears are disappointed by an unfulfilled expectation. However, this surprise effect can be interesting and pleasant depending on the context.

Go to: Chord inversions

Back to: Module 6