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Thread: Terms. Tonic Subdominant Dominant

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    Default Terms. Tonic Subdominant Dominant

    Hello!
    I need to translate some terms into English. But I can not find such analogs in English language musical theory books.
    1) Do you study, name and pay attention to the I, IV, V (Tonic Mediant Dominant) degrees?
    We call the list of this three degrees "Main degrees of the key".
    In books it looks like: There three main degrees of the key: I, IV, V. And then we test students by questions such as : "Name three main degrees of the C minor key".
    Do you have any term for the list of three this degrees?
    2)I, III, V (Tonic Mediant Dominant) all together we call "sustainable degrees" (or stable, steady, strong)
    For them we use singin method we call "oversinging" (or around singing)
    e.g. for E in C major we sing E-D, E-F, E
    3)II, IV, VI, VII we call "unsustainable degrees"
    And we study the way the try to resolve to stable
    E.g. The 2nd resolves to thefiirst and to the third, the 4rth resolves to the 3rd and to the 5th.
    Do you have any terms for it (main degrees, sustaiable degrees, unsustanable degrees, aroundsinging for stable degrees, resolving of unstable degrees)?

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    I thought you already named them the tonic dominant and subdominant chords, I V IV. I'm not aware of any separate name referring to these 3 together.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    The scale of musical intervals begins with absolute consonance (1 to 1) (Tonic) and gradually progresses into an infinitude of dissonance, the consonance of the intervals decreasing as the odd numbers of their ratios increase.

    If there is a need to name the scale degree functions as a group, or divide them into groups, then this should be done logically, being mindful of their relatedness to "Tonic" or one.

    In fact, the names themselves automatically do this: "dominant" means the strongest relatedness to I, withe the strongest "most dominant" pull to resolve, because (in the key of C) C-G is the ratio 3/2.

    "Subdominant" is next in line, not as 'dominant' as C-G or 3/2. Its ratio is the fourth scale degree to tonic, or 4/3. It can be considered as F up to C.

    Taken as intervals, we hear (in the key of C) C-G (3/2) (a fifth) as having the root on bottom, or C as root. This reinforces the key of C.

    F-C (4/3) (a fourth) is heard as having root on top. This reinforces C again.

    All intervals, as ratios, are always considered as related to tonic, I. The smaller the ratio, the more related to I, and thus, the "more dominant" the interval is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    I thought you already named them the tonic dominant and subdominant chords, I V IV. I'm not aware of any separate name referring to these 3 together.
    Thank you. Can you tell what country are you speaking about? In what country you don't name them 3 all together?

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    According to all this information are there any term names that you can suggest?

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    C-G is the ratio 3/2.

    "Subdominant" is next in line, Its ratio is the fourth scale degree to tonic, or 4/3. It can be considered as F up to C.

    F-C (4/3) (a fourth) is heard as having root on top. This reinforces C again.

    The smaller the ratio, the more related to I, and thus, the "more dominant" the interval is.
    Thank you very much. I need time to understand it. And can you give a link to more information about it?

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    Noone hears the root "on top". If you are looking for historical explanation of the modern music theory, check the Cambridge companion of Western music theory - it's basically the modern music theory bible (at least for anything pre 1980s).

    The most influential historical books on the topic are by Rameu and H. Riemann (Anglo-American tradition is more influenced by the Austrian theories of Schenker and Schoenberg - there are some small differences like notation and pedagogy) - English translations are out of copyright and can be found after a quick google search.

    Unfortunately all these traditional theories are somewhat outdated. I would be curious when modern mathe-musical pedagogy (based on set complexes and transformational theories) will become more popular outside of post-tonal university education.

    http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.98.....4.2.cohn.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by ksenpol View Post
    According to all this information are there any term names that you can suggest?


    Thank you very much. I need time to understand it. And can you give a link to more information about it?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatonic_function

    This is a subject which covers a broad area of understanding; music theory, harmony, intervals, just intonation, and more. You've got a lot of reading, pondering, and work ahead of you if you want a complete understanding of this.

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    I would just like to add some info about the origin of the terms "dominant" and "subdominant."

    In plainchant, melodies begin on the tonic but move quickly to the perfect fifth above (this can be some other pitch depending on the mode). The singer would then spend a lot of time on this higher pitch getting in the words in recitative style. This higher pitch is called the "reciting tone," or, since it dominates the phrase, the "dominant tone." So the pitch a perfect fifth above the "finalis" or tonic came to be called the "dominant."

    Later we find the term "subdominant" referring to the perfect fifth below the tonic. This is also called the "under-dominant"
    in 19th-century theory.

    So subdominant does not mean "below the dominant" as it may appear to.

    This way if thinking of the scale as having the tonic in the middle instead of on the ends also sheds light on a seemingly anomalous scale degree name, the submediant for scale degree 6. It is obvious that the submediant is not immediately below the mediant.

    The mediant, or scale degree 3, so called since it lay "between" the tonic and dominant, is a third above the tonic. The submediant is a third below the tonic.

    This methodology does not always work, such as in the case of the supertonic (II) and subtonic (bVII) chords. These are actually above and below the tonic, respectively.

    I know this discussion is lacking some details (names of theorists, treatises, full discussion of the medieval modes), but I hope it helps clarify the scale-degree names we use today.

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