MAJOR SCALE DEGREE NAMES AND TENDENCY TONES
Now we’ve seen the basics of how four-part harmony works vertically, let’s look at how each voice moves in time. The general principle is minimal motion with not too many leaps in one direction (the Soprano, and particularly the Bass have more freedom of motion than the middle two voices). Most importantly, two of the notes in the scale have a tendency to resolve in a particular direction: the leading tone (7th note in the scale) has a very strong tendency to resolve up to the root (the tonic), and it ’s rare to see it not do so in traditional four-part writing. The 4th degree (the Subdominant) has a tendency to resolve to the 3rd degree (the Mediant). In particular, when the leading tone and Subdominant appear together, the tendencies are even stronger.