[Smt-talk] The "Governing tone"

Stephen Jablonsky jablonsky at optimum.net
Sat May 5 05:20:19 PDT 2012

The dominant note is so powerful (and controlling) that a tonic triad in the second inversion sounds dominant, especially after much obfuscating chromatic motion.

On May 4, 2012, at 11:46 AM, Michael Luxner wrote:

> Colleagues,
> How do you feel about considering the dominant the "governing tone?"  I don't think it's strange at all, and teach it that way all the time.  If tonic is perceived as the "pitch of rest," surely it must be resting from something, from some kind of tension that gives the sense of resolution when tonic is reached.  And that something, whether determined by the acoustics of the harmonic series or the habits of centuries of practice, would be the dominant.  Thus the dominant does, indeed, "govern" ("dominate") the tonic. 
> Michael Luxner, Ph.D.
> Professor of Music
> Millikin University
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> >>> "Arthurs, Daniel" <Daniel.Arthurs at unt.edu> 5/3/2012 6:07 PM >>>
> Dear List,
> It seems very strange to me that he considers the dominant “the governing tone”; the subdominant is under it, but then he adds a second moon orbiting around the dominant when he describes VI as the super dominant, not submediant!
> Danny Arthurs
> Lecturer of Music Theory
> Division of MHTE
> College of Music, UNT
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Prof. Stephen Jablonsky, Ph.D.
Music Department Chair
The City College of New York
160 Convent Avenue S-72
New York NY 10031
(212) 650-7663

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