|MusicNovatory/Introduction/Reference/Comments and Questions/Harmony/Transformations/Tendency|
It is said and felt that (in major keys) scale degree 4 has a downward tendency, a tendency to release its tension at scale degree 3. It is said and felt that (in major keys) scale degree 7 has an upward tendency, a tendency to release its tension at the tonic. But why should this tension arise in the 1st place, and why should the resolutions point so strongly to the tonic and the mediant of what is now known as the major scale?
Tendency is a very important quality inherent to each note, and not uniquely those of the major scale (the tendencies of the
notes F and B will also apply to the A minor scale). As a matter of fact, tendency has nothing to do with scales. It might
even be the other way around, tendency actually being an important element in "creating" scales by determining the specific
disposition of tones and semi-tones.
Your news of December 2003 led me to your new version of tendency in the CQ where the question concerns the notes F and B in the Key of C. However, also in C, when one speaks of the leading tone, one only speaks of the note B . Knowing how you like to invert things, I thought it might be possible that the F could be the "inverted" leading tone in the key of A minor ?
Yes it is, but we will need new definitions to elaborate this topic (here again, with no scales involved) -
It seems to me that root motion sounds generally major when it moves up a 4th, 2nd, or 6th, and it sounds minor in the opposite direction. I think this can be explained through your explanations of tenant chords and chord shadowing (I don't remember the difference). Does this sound right to you guys?...
We are not quite sure what you mean by a root motion sounding "major" or "minor." The terms major and minor are usually used
to describe the mode or quality of a single chord, i.e., whether it has a major or minor median (third), or as descriptive
of a tonality or key center, i.e., whether its Tonic Chord is major or minor. It occurred to us that by major sounding root
motion you may mean root motion that descends by 5th in a flattening direction, which would be the predominant direction within
the fundamental major mode (as well as the chromatic minor mode - see Four Strong Modes on the website). If this is this
case, then your observations seem correct, as an ascending 4th is a descending 5th, an ascending second is really a Metamorphosis
4 followed by a descending 5th progression, and an ascending 6th could be a descending 5th progression in which the second
chord (1) has undergone Metamorphoses 1 and 4, or, (2) more simply, is an incomplete or "deceptive" triad. Is this what you
meant by "major" root motion - that which descends by fifth?
...For example, when C goes to Em either the C shadows to Am then to Em, or the C goes to Em which shadows G. either way the progession is sharpening (up a 5th).
This is correct, however, in your second example it would be more clear to say "C goes to G which shadows Em" instead of "C goes to Em which shadows G." Also, don't forget that C to Em might not involve a progression at all! The C and the Em might very well both be incomplete versions of a Cmaj7 tetrad. The first being a "real" triad, the second being a "deceptive" triad. See Harmony/Transformations/Incompleteness on the site.
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