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Thread: Why is the tonic so important for melodies?

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    Default Why is the tonic so important for melodies?

    I made a simple melody in FL studio that was in C Major. The melody consisted of two phrases both of which started on D. The only difference between the two is the second phrase ended on C (the tonic of C major). The only problem is it didn’t feel resolved ending on the tonic like I thought it would. When I changed the last note of the tonic to a D it sounded resolved even though D is not the tonic of C Major. I’m assuming it has something to do with the context in which I’m using it. For reference, I didn’t use C at all until I tried to resolve the second phrase and the other notes used we’re D,F,G,A and E. Any insight into why it didn’t sound resolved even though I used the tonic? Is there a fundamental concept I’m missing here?

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    I don't know how anyone could answer this without seeing/hearing your melody.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I don't know how anyone could answer this without seeing/hearing your melody.
    That's illuminating. So music theory ideas and explanations are sometimes better answered in a very direct experiential way. That reminds me of the R.D.Laing quote:

    “Even facts become fictions without adequate ways of seeing "the facts". We do not need theories so much as the experience that is the source of the theory. We are not satisfied with faith, in the sense of an implausible hypothesis irrationally held: we demand to experience the "evidence".”
    ― R.D. Laing
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-22-2020 at 22:49.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    That's illuminating. So music theory ideas and explanations are sometimes better answered in a very direct experiential way. That reminds me of the R.D.Laing quote:

    “Even facts become fictions without adequate ways of seeing "the facts". We do not need theories so much as the experience that is the source of the theory. We are not satisfied with faith, in the sense of an implausible hypothesis irrationally held: we demand to experience the "evidence".”
    ― R.D. Laing
    I hardly think a simple matter of needing to see/hear a melody to know what the melody's tonality is requires an explanation by R. D. Laing. It just seems common sense to me. Nevertheless, I'm glad to have illuminated you.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Mar-22-2020 at 23:03.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I hardly think a simple matter of needing to see/hear a melody to know what the melody's tonality is requires an explanation by R. D. Laing. It just seems common sense to me. Nevertheless, I'm glad to have illuminated you.
    Thank you, you did, and I consider your reply to be just as useless as you say mine is.

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Thank you, you did, and I consider your reply to be just as useless as you say mine is.
    I made a simple, accurate, useful reply to youngcapone. This is the very beginning of his thread. He wants responses to his questions.

    You're poking the bear again. Don't.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Mar-23-2020 at 00:15.

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    The point I wanted to emphasize is that "music theory ideas and explanations are sometimes better answered in a very direct experiential way," and the R.D. Laing quote is perfectly suited for this point. As far as "poking the bear," I think I deserve the same respect as you do, not implications that my posts are 'useless.'
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-23-2020 at 14:22.

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    Yep, it's crucial for my gin & tonic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sad Al View Post
    Yep, it's crucial for my gin & tonic.
    Does it make you feel dominant, or sub-dominant? How about a 2-shot supertonic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Does it make you feel dominant, or sub-dominant? How about a 2-shot supertonic?
    Perhaps G&T makes Al "unstable" MR.....
    New website and some new music......www.mikehewer.com

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    youngcapone:
    Without seeing and hearing your melody it's impossible to know for sure. However, the notes you say you used are comprised by more than one key. The most likely explanation is that your melody is in D minor (D, E, F, G, and A are the first five notes in a D minor scale), not C major.

    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    The point I wanted to emphasize is that "music theory ideas and explanations are sometimes better answered in a very direct experiential way," and the R.D. Laing quote is perfectly suited for this point. As far as "poking the bear," I think I deserve the same respect as you do, not implications that my posts are 'useless.'
    Sadly, you are wrong. Your responses have added nothing substantive or helpful. They've merely loaded a thread launched by a simple question with irrelevancies.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    Perhaps G&T makes Al "unstable" MR.....
    Some people get unstable when they have no fifth.

    BTW, Tikoo Tuba said it was Dorian on that other thread, so he must be as smart as EdwardBast. He's just fooling us with that zen unicorn stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Sadly, you are wrong. Your responses have added nothing substantive or helpful. They've merely loaded a thread launched by a simple question with irrelevancies.
    You are wrong in your attitude towards me, and interpreted my response wrongly. What I was getting at is "use your ear and common sense."

    What is many times "irrelevant" are the pedantic answers that beginners receive about basic questions. I see this as indicative of inadequate teaching methods which do not explain enough to "ear" oriented students, or "ear" questions. This is what I mean by "direct experience:" the ear.

    “Even facts become fictions without adequate ways of seeing "the facts". We do not need theories so much as the experience that is the source of the theory. We are not satisfied with faith, in the sense of an implausible hypothesis irrationally held: we demand to experience the "evidence".”
    ― R.D. Laing

    Pedantic:


    1. Like a pedant, overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning.
    2. Being showy of one’s knowledge, often in a boring manner.
    3. Being finicky or fastidious, especially with language.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-26-2020 at 16:35.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I hardly think a simple matter of needing to see/hear a melody to know what the melody's tonality is requires an explanation by R. D. Laing. It just seems common sense to me. Nevertheless, I'm glad to have illuminated you.
    I DO think it's necessary to remind some of the members here on the music theory thread that sometimes beginners need to see the difference in 'what their ears hear' and in CP music theory, which doesn't correspond to what the ear hears as much as other less restrictive approaches. In many cases, I think these beginners would be better off elsewhere to get their questions answered.

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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    MR, learning CP is the best way to develop an ear imv and the best way to acquire musicality. It is also the best way for a young composer to find their own voice. I am assuming said young composer would want to write for instrumental combinations big and small and for the concert hall.

    A proviso would be a composer who feels the pull of the 20th and 21stC I would suggest. That composer would be better off learning basics and then heading straight for extended techniques once they felt able to control an atonal medium.

    Personally, I also think mastering CP has a benefit when heading off into atonal fields, for one can then rely on the instincts gained in a 'safe' environment when negotiating dense chromaticism and indiscernible pulse.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Mar-26-2020 at 16:48.
    New website and some new music......www.mikehewer.com

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