[Smt-talk] Subdominant versus Predominant

Nicolas Meeùs nicolas.meeus at paris-sorbonne.fr
Sat Feb 25 00:35:06 PST 2012


If you have all the answers to all your questions, I do not see why you 
ask them, nor what you expect from us all.

As I tried to show in my preceding message, Rousseau was unclear as to 
the meaning of subdominant, and wrote: "I may be mistaken in the 
acception of these two words, not having under the eyes the writings of 
Rameau as I write this article. He may understand by subdominant simply 
the note that is one degree under the dominant." I added that it was not 
Rameau who first gave the name, but probably Dandrieu, and that Dandrieu 
most probably understood the word as meaning "the degree under the 
dominant". This is how the term is understood in French today. See my 
article "Scale, polifonia, armonia" in J. J. Nattiez ed., /Enciclopedia 
della musica/, vol. II, /Il sapere musicale/,//Einaudi, 2002, p. 84, 
which is precisely about that question of the difference of conception 
between German and Roman languages.

Nicolas Meeùs
Université Paris-Sorbonne

Le 25/02/2012 00:22, Ninov, Dimitar N a écrit :
> [...]
> Since I-IV is acoustically and functionally more impressive than IV-V in a I-IV-V-I progression, the question "What follows the tonic?" is more relevant in identifying the harmonic function of IV than the question "What precedes the dominant?" The former question is an equivalent to a more important question, namely "How do we leave the state of stability?". On the other hand, "What precedes the dominant?" is an equivalent of the question "What is the lower degree of instability?" which does not seem as important.
> According the the logic explained above, the arrangement T-S-D-T makes perfect sense, but T-PD-D-T does not, for it answers the question "What is the lower state of instability?" instead of answering "How do we leave the state of stability?". This argument, paired with the fact that harmonic functions refer to the tonal center, in my view renders the label "PD" both superfluous and superficial.
> Thank you,
> Dimitar
> Dr. Dimitar Ninov
> Texas State University
> dn16 at txstate.edu
> ________________________________________
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