MA­JOR SCALE DE­GREE NAMES AND TEN­DENCY TONES

Guitar Techniques - - Play: Theory -

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.

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