[Smt-talk] Subdominant versus Predominant

Stephen Jablonsky jablonsky at optimum.net
Sat May 5 05:17:30 PDT 2012

It is not the tonic that defines a tonality; it is a subdominant harmony followed by a dominant one. If you hear ii-V, or IV-V, or IV-vii, or ii-vii your ear knows where to find the tonic. Or, when Wagner presents his extended dominant climaxes he usually follows the tonic resolution with a subdominant to confirm the tonality (ex., Meistersinger Overture at the end).

On May 4, 2012, at 11:03 AM, Dmitri Tymoczko wrote:

> On May 4, 2012, at 8:34 AM, Berry, David Carson (berrydc) wrote:
>> Consider George Howard's Course in Harmony (1886) -- also published by Presser. He too calls the sixth scale degree the "super dominant" ("a note above the dominant"), and the dominant itself is similarly characterized as having its name because it is the "ruling tone" (see p. 43). 
> It's worth pointing out that, statistically, the dominant note is often stated more frequently (and for a longer total duration) than the tonic note.  (This is to be expected since it belongs to both tonic and dominant harmonies, which are themselves the most frequent chords.)  So there may be a true perception lurking underneath this unfamiliar metaphor.
> DT
> Dmitri Tymoczko
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Prof. Stephen Jablonsky, Ph.D.
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The City College of New York
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