Essentially I've come here to understand what both those mean.

Been seeming to have a tough time understanding anything on either.

Could anyone help?
I really know nothing about either of them. Basically i would like to have a basic understandering and kinda understand what some one means when I read on these forums.
honestly...you're best off reading a theory book. they really are huge topics.
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If you are serious about learning the guitar and music theory concepts in a way that you can apply it to the guitar as well as overall understanding on music and how it works, we teach it online through our Academy. There's a link to it in my sig, or if you'd like to contact me here through UG and send me your email, I'd be happy to get you a course catalog on all that we do and teach, and see if maybe something like that might be useful for you. I think learning theory and understanding how music can work together intelligently is a good thing.

If we can help, let me know!


Quote by srvfan2022
Essentially I've come here to understand what both those mean.

Been seeming to have a tough time understanding anything on either.

Could anyone help?

Think of what the word resolution means. In a story for example the plot will introduce obstacles that need to be problems that need to solved. Basically what happens is the story has three parts. the opening which sets the scene the middle which develops the tension and the end which resolves the tension. Without this progression we find the story to have no point, to be very boring and uninteresting, or if it has no resolution we feel it is incomplete (like when your favourite TV show ends with a "to be continued..." the story has developed tension and left it unresolved until next week.)

In this respect music is similar. For it to be interesting and to feel complete we have to create a sense of tension in the music and then resolve that tension.

If you play the following chords:

F F G G7

and stop after the G7 you should get a kind of feeling that it doesn't quite sound finished or complete. You should feel a kind of longing to hear one more chord. If you play through those chords and then strum a final C chord after the G7 you should then get the resolution you desired.

The same is also true melodically. If you listen to the major scale played melodically and it stops on the 7th degree you will often hear the next note in your head even though it is not actually played because it will feel incomplete or unresolved on the seventh degree and your mind will want that last note.

There are many ways to create tension and resolution in music. The majority of them have to do with the use of the V-I relationship, the leading tone, and the use of dissonance vs consonance.

Tension and Resolution are simple enough on the surface but they run as deep as our entire history of musical development.

Harmonic Value

I don't quite know what you are looking for here.

But I will describe for you in very general terms the basic scale degrees and how each scale degree can be harmonized to build a chord that fulfils a basic harmonic function.

In a piece of music the most fundamental sound is that of the tonic. It is the tonal centre or Home of the piece of music. The tonic is the place where the music will sound fully resolved or at rest. This includes the fundamental tonic as well as any of it's octaves.

The next most prominant sound is the fifth scale degree and it is named accordingly as "the dominant". it is named such because after the tonic the dominant is the most dominant sound of the piece of music.

the dominant tonic relationship is of primary importance in all western music. some say that all music is just some kind of exploration of the V-I relationship.

The dominant is a distance of a perfect fifth above the tonic and it's importance in relation to the tonic is also evident in the harmonic series. (But I'm going to leave that for now as I don't want to get side tracked).

The next most important scale degree is the dominant below the tonic. It is found a perfect fifth below the tonic and because of it's position as the dominant below the tonic it is known as the Sub Dominant (or the below dominant).

As it is a perfect fifth below the tonic it is also a perfect fourth above the tonic. (if you don't understand how this works search "interval inversions").

After these three primary sounds there come four secondary scale degrees to complete the scale.

The mediant is so named because it is midway between the tonic and dominant scale degrees.

The Sub Mediant is the scale degree midway between the tonic and the sub dominant (going down).

The Supertonic is the second scale degree and is the scale degree above the tonic.

The seventh degree is most commonly referred to as the leading tone as being a half step below it leads strongly into the tonic. Sometimes you might see "subtonic" which is the scale degree below the tonic.

So we have the major scale degrees...
1 = tonic
2 = supertonic
3 = mediant
4 = subdominant
5 = dominant
6 = sub mediant
7 = leading tone (subtonic)
8 = tonic

While these terms are names for the scale degrees they are also oftenused to refer to the chords that are harmonized off those scale degrees.

(search harmonize major scale if you don't know how to do this)

Each of the chords harmonized off each scale degree serves a typical harmonic function.

The primary chords I IV V (tonic subdominant and dominant) represent the three basic harmonic functions. The tonic is the tonal centre creating a sense of rest and resolution. The subdominant serves to pulls us away from the tonic and "sets up" the dominant. The dominant functions by creating an expectation that the next chord will be the tonic. It creates a tension that we want to be resolved by the tonic.

The chords built off the secondary scale degrees (ii iii vi viidim) can be categorized to fulfil one of these same three functions to a lesser degree. (search diatonic chord families).

Other chords can also be found to serve one of these three functions. They may be borrowed from a parallel key or they might be derived from some kind of substitution. Wherever the non diatonic chords came from they can also be classified what it does in the context of the musical piece.

If through some kind of tension the chord in question creates an expectation to hear the tonic chord then it would be considered to serve a dominant function. If it pulls away from the tonic and sets up the dominant then it is serving a subdominant role. If it resolves a tension and creates a sense of rest then it is serving a tonic function.

There really is a lot to this. The topics you have touched on are broad and deep and encompass much of what music is all about. I have not by any means provided you with any definitive and all encompassing answers but hopefully at least I have given you some things to think about.

I would suggest you check out this series to start with... How Music Works - Harmony watch all of them there are ones on Melody, Rhythm, Bass, Harmony. It is very interesting and worth while viewing, for anyone interested in music.

Best of Luck,
20tigers, thank you so much, all that was very helpful. I really appreciate you trying to get me the idea of it.

Also, I'll watch all those videos in that series.

EDIT, thanks Steven and everyone else. Sean, I'll look into your site, seems interesting. Don't know when I'll have the money but it looks very helpful.

Again, thanks everyone.

Second edit: I was just sitting here thinking, so concerning harmonic values. It's tonality? It's what sounds good and what doesn't in a way? It's all about creating and solving tension, or the theory of? kinda like how you where talking about the V-I being the strongest movement in music because the tension becomes solved? Like G would resolve to C.

G being G, B, D and C, E, G. the third of the G is pulling and what to resolve to the root (obviously C) of Cmaj?

Sorry if it's worded weird, I'm not the best at putting my thoughts down.
Last edited by srvfan2022 at Feb 4, 2012,