Tonic Sub-dominant Dominant
confused, see theory.
There are 7 basic chords
in the Major scale.
show the stability of each note (compared to the root note).
To make a
chord, pick a root note. Skip the next note in the
the next note. Skip a
note. Use a
These chords make a key.
Re-number each chord.
Dominant Subdominant Tonic
These terms explain how chords
interact in a key.
Some chords are
stable and some chords are unstable.
Tonic is the 1 Chord.
It contains all three stable notes.
The Tonic can also be the
Chord 1 = 1 3 5
These chords contain two stable notes.
Chord 6 = 6 1 3
= 3 5 7
Chord 3 is less stable than Chord
6 because it
contains the 7
(the leading tone
which wants to resolve to 1)
The 6 or 3 chords
can change function depending on where they're located in a
These are less
stable because they contain less stable notes.
= 4 6
Chord 2 = 2
Chord 4 is less stable because it
contains the 4
and one stable note 1
Chord 2 is less stable then Chord
it contains the 4
and no stable notes.
These chords have a strong "need" to resolve. They dominate
the chord progression.
Chord 5 = 5
Chord 7 = 7
Chord 5 is less stable because it
contains 7 and
Chord 5 resolves
to Chord 1 because of 7
(the leading tone)
and the relationship of the 5
to the root note (1
See overtones in a note.
is least stable
because it contains the most
unstable tones, (7
It resolves to Chord 1, because of 7 and
because the natural* resolution of (7
also has a b5 instead of a 5. This interval (the tritone)
is the most unstable interval and "requires" resolution
* This differs from the
natural resolution of each note. This is the natural resolution
for the chord.
most similar- smoothness least similar
vi and 3 as chameleons.
relative to themselves
this group of
seven chords is the solar system. They all revolve around the
sun. The sun is the tonic.
However, each chord is a separate planet. It's stable
to itself, with systems of it's own.
Each chord by itself, is stable. (with the
exception of Chord 7)
you start by playing the 5 chord (a tense chord) it won't sound tense
until you play more chords that define it as the 5 chord.
Until then it will sound very
stable, since it's a Major chord.
Triad 1 3 5
I don’t consider mathematical
relationships as I
compose. “If I play root, 3rd, 5th, I instantly know what
that is, because I was trained to…It’s possible that some of the things
starting out mathematically, but it’s quite automatic now.” -Joe Satriani