#1
Tonic chord is one where it supports the first but no fourth.
Sub Dominant has the fourth but no seventh and could either have the first as a chord tone or an extension and can **** with the seventh if the first is a chord tone.
Dominant has the seventh but no tonic, if it can support the fourth as a chord tone or extension.
But what about chords with no notes that are in the diatonic scale? Like, in C major (because it's easiest to do things in C major) I play an Ebsus4 or something, say in a progression like C-F-Ebsus4-C. To me it sounds like it's functioning as a subdominant, but that might be because it's following a subdominant chord. What's going on here?

I please don't say things like "listen". I already listen. This question isn't about writing music, it's about functional harmony .
Last edited by macashmack at May 9, 2013,
#2
I wouldn't analyze it as a Eb sus 4 because the Eb/D# is resolving to the third of the C major. Furthemore I'd analyze and change the last Cmajor as a C6 because that has better voice leading. If you change the Eb to D# it makes a whole lot more sense.
#3
The second C that I use is a C major second inversion and it sounds fine to me I like the C6 though.
What do you mean it is resolving to the third?
#5
Quote by macashmack
The second C that I use is a C major second inversion

The voicing please...
#8
Quote by mdc
I just want to know what voicing you use for a Cmaj 2nd inv.

Oh. I can't write it out in a staff so I'll just tell you.
G-C-G-C-E
I might add that I'm writing this piece on my keyboard.
Last edited by macashmack at May 9, 2013,
#9
Theory's theory buddy. It sounds good to you so keep it. Who cares how the chord functions.
#10
Quote by mdc
Theory's theory buddy. It sounds good to you so keep it. Who cares how the chord functions.

So does the Ebsus4 act as a subdominant? I'm using it to resolve to the C maj. but it doesn't sound like a dominant chord.
#11
What do you mean it is resolving to the third?


Well, when you are analyzing voice leading, accidentals are written the way they are typically to describe the voice leading. #2, from the parent scale, almost always if not always (and i don't know any instance in music where it is different) resolves upwards to the 3rd of the parent scale. It is a form of chromaticism.
#13
So does the Ebsus4 act as a subdominant? I'm using it to resolve to the C maj. but it doesn't sound like a dominant chord.


If you keep it as Ebsus4 its more like a Cmin13/Eb then a Ebsus4. Then it functions as a pitch axis.
#14
Quote by mdc
Time signature? Tempo? Chords per bar? Rhythm?

4/4, Andante, each chord has a bar but I'm writing it to be flow-ey they aren't static. So far the whole thing is basically a bunch of arpeggios played jumping around or flowing upward from the bottom. I don't now how to explain it in music words

Quote by Erc
If you keep it as Ebsus4 its more like a Cmin13/Eb then a Ebsus4. Then it functions as a pitch axis.

But C isn't present in the chord.
#15
But C isn't present in the chord.


Well it is tonic and it is actually present in the overtones so you can always just diddle around it. Chord names can get really complicated when you start adding in chromaticism and there are usually a few analytical options. It seems mostly to me that you are not really distinguishing between major and minor (which is perfectly legit btw because one of my favorite composers, scriabin, almost never distinguished between the two)
#16
Quote by macashmack
So does the Ebsus4 act as a subdominant? I'm using it to resolve to the C maj. but it doesn't sound like a dominant chord.

Think of it this way, it sort of does. But it doesn't.

What I mean is, it's like cadences that go: I, IV. That doesn't really end up as a half cadence, but it's similar enough to a half cadence that I refer to it as a "false half cadence".

Does that make sense?
#17
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Think of it this way, it sort of does. But it doesn't.

What I mean is, it's like cadences that go: I, IV. That doesn't really end up as a half cadence, but it's similar enough to a half cadence that I refer to it as a "false half cadence".

Does that make sense?

So you're saying that the Ebsus4 to the C maj. 2nd inv. is acting like a small I IV cadence in itself?
#18
Need the rhythm.

If it's a "vamp", then it's non-functional and those chords are sequence that amount to a functional I.
#19
You've got this all wrong

Tonic = point of resolution, target
Subdominant = preparation for dominant with slight tension
Dominant = maximum tension needing to be resolved

They're not confined to 1, 4, 5, etc.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#20
Quote by Xiaoxi
You've got this all wrong

Tonic = point of resolution, target
Subdominant = preparation for dominant with slight tension
Dominant = maximum tension needing to be resolved

They're not confined to 1, 4, 5, etc.

But then how would you know which notes are in each category?
#21
Quote by macashmack
But then how would you know which notes are in each category?



Individual notes don't really suggest function. It's within the context of harmony...

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#22
Quote by macashmack
So you're saying that the Ebsus4 to the C maj. 2nd inv. is acting like a small I IV cadence in itself?

Kind of. I'd have to listen to the piece, but yeah.
#23
Quote by Xiaoxi


Individual notes don't really suggest function. It's within the context of harmony...

Chords then. How would you know what chords are what without knowing how the notes int hem work in the function?
#24
Quote by macashmack
Chords then. How would you know what chords are what without knowing how the notes int hem work in the function?

Um, knowledge of harmony? Take a progression like C F C7 F G7 C. One could analyze it as a I IV I7 IV V7 I. But, knowing of secondary dominants, I would know that the I7 chord shouldn't be notated like that. It should be a V7/IV chord. So in the end, it's really a I IV V7/IV IV V7 I progression.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


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#25
Quote by macashmack
Chords then. How would you know what chords are what without knowing how the notes int hem work in the function?

Well, it's mostly to do with relative context.

Let's take a D major chord for example and the overall key of the piece was in C# minor.

Just based on that alone, we can't really tell what function it has. But let's say we here it as D -> E7 -> A

Now we know the D has a subdominant function because it leads to the E7 (dominant)

Now, let's say later on in the same piece we see this D major chord again, but this time we see it as D -> G ..... D -> G#7 -> C#m

So this time within a short passage, the D was first a dominant to G, even though the 7th isn't in the voicing, there's a 5 - 1 relationship here. And then shortly it's a subdominant (as a neapolitan) to G#.

So you see, it's all about context.

Ignore the dictated key signature, ignore all that. Just focus on what every chord is doing in relations to the next.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#26
macashmack , If your tonic key is C major the tones Eb,Ab, Bb and Db are generated by using the Tonic, Subdominant or Dominant minor variants and their parallels . Good stuff for the tragedian and voice leading .

As an Eb Major chord you could be preceding the Major Tonic with its variant minor tonic parallel e.g Eb Major to C Major aka tP -T .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonic_parallel

Eb Major is also the minor dominant counter parallel "dL"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter_parallel

Ab Major is the minor subdominant parallel "sP" or a minor tonic counter parallel "tL"
so this could be interesting for you because maybe your Ebsus chord could precede Ab major following C Major. Often times this is where the epic augmented 6th chord comes in too. So for example try including an Ab7 and see how that flows.

Bb Major is the minor dominant parallel "dP"
" crazy side note" In pure minor harmony the minor dominant functions as a Subdominant and the minor Subdominant 6 functions as Dominant .

Db Major is the minor subdominant counter parallel "sL" heres the other epic chord ,Neapolitan.

The intended tonic may also be a Cadential Subdominant Chord by having a cadence on the Dominant. Or an opposite sort of twist is as a Cadential Dominant which would then cadence on the Subdominant.
Another functional spin is the perceived tonic being a deceptive Cadence , for the C major chord is the parallel of an A minor chord , and the counter parallel of an E minor chord , or an altered parallel of Eb major and an altered counter parallel of Ab major . So the "mystery chord " has the possibility of being generated from one of their harmonic profiles also.

Having a solid aspect of the parallel chords for both major and minor profiles on the tonic , subdominant and dominant is the most useful music theory for becoming versatile with dynamic tonality and Harmonic Function.
Last edited by TheJasbo at May 13, 2013,