Hi Everyone, in this lesson we will look at functioning and non-functioning (static) Dominant chords.When I first started to learn to play the guitar I kept on hearing the term functioning dominants and it sometime before I finally understood what this term meant. Later when I started playing jazz I started to realize how important these terms where and also their meanings.
What is a function Dominant Chord?First of all, its important to understand what a Dominant chord is.
Let's quickly go back to the information we covered in the lesson on diatonic harmony.
If we look at the scale of C the chords created when we harmonize the scale are:
If we add the 7th note to these chords we get:
The V chord is the Dominant which is a major triad with a flat 7th: G, B, D, F:
The reason we have a flat 7 is because the G chord is from the scale of the C major.
The C Major Scale
So starting from G as the root we have the B which is a major 3rd, then the D which is a perfect fifth from G. Then the seventh note is F which is a minor seventh interval from the G. Because the chords have to be diatonic this note has to be the note of F and not F# which would give us G major 7.
When we play the G7 chord or V Chord the sound of the chord creates a tension that wants to resolve to the I chord. This sound can be heard in many songs and chord progressions.Blues uses a I, IV, V progression and in the final bars or cadence the V7 chord resolves back to the I chord.
We also hear this is ii, V, I progression Dm7, G7, C maj7.When the V7 Chord resolves back to the I chord this is known as a functioning Dominant Chord.
The movement is either a Perfect fourth ascending of a perfect fifth descending.
Below we see the root note of G moving a perfect fourth to the C root on third fret of the A string which is a perfect fourth interval ascending.
In the example below we see that the Root of G7 moves down 3 frets and down to the C note of the Low E or 6th string which is a perfect 5th interval descending.
A Nonfunctioning Dominant or Static Dominant chord is any dominant chord that moves to another chords that is not acting as a functioning dominant. i.e. it doesn’t resolve to the I chord.
Why is this important to know?Well if you can identify your functioning Dominant chords then you can Alter these chords which will be looking at in a later lesson.
By Geoff Sinker