# root of the Tonic

Ramsay
"Moreover, he begins his calculations from F, the root of the Subdominant, instead of C, the root of the Tonic, which is the usual way." [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 8]

Nature has not finished when she has given us the Diatonic Scale of notes as first generated. In the diatonic scale, in ascending from C, the root of the tonic, the first step is an interval of 9 commas, supposing that we adopt the common division of the octave into 53 commas, which is the nearest practical measuring rule; the second step has 8 commas; the third has 5; the fourth has 9; the fifth has 8; the sixth has 9; and the seventh and last has 5 commas. So we have three steps of 9 commas, two steps of 8, and two of 5. The order of the steps in the major is 9, 8, 5, 9, 8, 9, 5. In the minor the magnitudes are the same, but the order is 9, 5, 8, 9, 5, 9, 8. So there are three magnitudes.1 But Nature has an equalizing process in the course of her musical marshallings, in which these greater ones get cut down, and have to change places with the lesser, when her purpose requires them so to do. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 47]

In the laws of quantities and motions the three primary ratios, 1:2, 1:3, 1:5, with the three different units, F1, C3, and G9, the roots of the chords of the subdominant, tonic, and dominant, produce the three chords of the musical system major, the one not interfering with the other; and by an inverse process are produced, from B720, E240, and A80, its generating notes, the three chords of the musical system minor; the one chord not interfering with the other. In a similar way the chromatic chords can be produced from three different units, without the one interfering with the other; and, like the subdominant, tonic, and dominant chords of the diatonic scale, they are fifths apart. So we may call them the subdominant, tonic, and dominant chromatic chords. Each of the three chromatic chords has also kinship with the major and minor modes, from the way in which the diatonic minor triad is constituted a chromatic chord by its supplement coming in the one side from the minor, and on the other side from the major system. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 53]

How far does this compounding process go? The dominant seventh has the first note of the subdominant; the dominant ninth has the second; if we should add a third note, where are we? G B D F A C; here would be the dominant with the whole of the subdominant welded to it; it would have to be called the dominant eleventh, and it has brought us right through to the root of the tonic C. What would be the use of such a chord? We might, in a similar way, add the dominant to the subdominant till we should be through to the tonic on the other side; it would be G B D F A C, and so we should have reached the top of the tonic G. This process shows us, however, that there is just a certain length that we can go, and there is satisfaction in seeing exhaustively that so it is. When the beautiful becomes the useless, it ceases to be the beautiful. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 72]

true. Music is a network of orders, but three notes going to the root of the tonic does not happen to belong to any of them. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 95]

The middle one of these three chords is called the tonic; the chord above is called the dominant; and the chord below is called the subdominant. The order in which these three chords contribute to form the octave scale is as follows:- The first note of the scale is the root of the tonic; the second is the [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 96]

top of the dominant; the third is the middle of the tonic; the fourth is the root of the subdominant; the fifth is the top of the tonic; the sixth is the middle of the subdominant; the seventh is the middle of the dominant; and the eighth, like the first, is the root of the tonic. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 97]

In the first six chords of the scale the tonic is the first of each two. The tonic chord alternating with the other two produces an order of twos, as - tonic dominant, tonic subdominant, tonic subdominant. The first three notes of the octave scale are derived from the root, the top, and the middle of the tonic dominant and tonic; the second three are derived from the root, top, and middle of the subdominant, tonic, and subdominant. The roots, tops, and middles of the chords occurring as they do produce an order of threes, as - root, top, middle; root, top, middle. The first, third, fifth, and eighth of the scale are from the tonic chord; the second and seventh from the dominant; and the fourth and sixth from the subdominant. In the first two chords of the scale the tonic precedes the dominant; in the second two, the subdominant; and in the third two the tonic again precedes the subdominant; and as the top of the subdominant chord is the root of the tonic, and the top of the tonic the root of the dominant, this links these chords together by their roots and tops. The second chord has the top of the first, the third has the root of the second, the fourth has the root of the third, the fifth has the top of the fourth, and the sixth has the root of the fifth; and in this way these successive chords are woven together. The only place of the octave scale where there are two middles of chords beside each other is at the sixth and seventh. The seventh note of the octave scale is the middle of the dominant, and the sixth is the middle of the subdominant. These two chords, though both united to the tonic, which stands between them, are not united to each other by having a note in common, inasmuch as they stand at the extremities of the system; and since they must be enabled to succeed each other in musical progression, Nature has a beautiful way of giving them a note in common by which to do so - adding the root of the subdominant to the top of the dominant, or the top of the dominant to the root of the subdominant, and this gives natural origin to compound chords. The tonic chord, being the center one of the three chords, is connected with the other two, and may follow the dominant and sub- [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 97]

notes attracted by proximity are attracted in the direction of the center of the tonic chord, major or minor. But if D in the major is attracted by C, the root of the tonic, then it would be moving away from the center. Two notes which have the ratio of 8:9, as C and D, or two notes which are produced by the same ratio as C and D, or two notes where each of them is either a root or a top, as C and D, never resolve to each other by proximity. It is an invariable order that one of the notes should be the middle of a chord. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 99]

"What we have thus said about the resolving notes to the major tonic has been allowed in the case of the minor. No one ever said that the second of the minor scale resolved to the root of the tonic. Notwithstanding the importance of the tonic notes, the semitonic interval above the second of the scale decided the matter for the Law of Proximity; and no one ever said that D, the root of the subdominant minor, did not resolve to C, the center of the tonic minor, on the same terms that two notes are brought to the center of the tonic major; with this difference, that the semitonic interval is above the center in the major and below it in the minor. The other two notes which resolve into the tonic minor are on the same terms as the major; with this difference, that the semitonic interval is below the root of the tonic major and above the top of the tonic minor. And the small tone ratio 9:10 is above the top of the tonic major and below the root of the tonic minor. If it has been the case that D resolved to the root of the tonic major, then, according to the Law of Duality, there would have been another place where everything would have been the same, only in the inverse order; but, fortunately for itself, the error has no other error to keep it in countenance. This error has not been fallen into by reasoning from analogy. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 99]

are always when they have returned to the side from which they were started. The Pendulographer, also, when writing the beautiful pictures which the musical ratios make when a pen is placed under the control of the pendulums, always finds his figure to begin again when the pendulums have finished their period, and have come for a fresh start to the side from which the period began. This confirms our author's definition of an oscillation of a pendulum. Fig. 3 is an illustration of the correct definition of a Musical Vibration, as also given in this work. Although the definition of an oscillation is not identical with that of a vibration, yet on account of their movement in the same ratios the one can be employed in illustration of the other as we have here done. Fig. 4 is a uniform rod suspended from the end as a pendulum; it will oscillate, of course, at a certain speed according to its length. In such a pendulum there are three centers related in an interesting way to the subject of Music in its three chords - subdominant, tonic, and dominant, which roots are F, C, and G. The center of gravity in the middle of the rod at 2, suspended at which the rod has no motion, corresponds to F, the root of the subdominant, in which there is the maximum of musical gravity. The center of oscillation at 3, which is one-third of the length of the rod from the end, is like the root of the tonic whose number is 3 in the genesis of the scale from F1. In this point of suspension the oscillations are the same as when suspended from the end at 1. The point at 9 is at a ninth from the center of oscillation. Our author discovered that, if suspended at this point, the pendulum had its highest rate of speed. Approaching the end, or approaching the center of oscillation from this point, the rate of speed decreases. Exactly at one-ninth from the center of oscillation, or two-ninths from the end, is this center of velocity, as Ramsay designated it; and it corresponds in some sort also to the root of the dominant G, which is 9 in the genesis of the scale from F1; its rate of vibration is nine times that of F1. The dominant chord is the one in which is the maximum of levity and motion in music. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 105]

When Ramsay gave a course of lectures in Glasgow, setting forth "What constitutes the Science of Music," his lecture-room was hung round with great diagrams illustrating in various ways his findings; an ocular demonstration was also given of the system of musical vibrations by his favorite illustration, the oscillations of the Silent Harp of Pendulums. A celebrated teacher of music in the city came to Mr. Ramsay's opening lecture, and at the close remained to examine the diagrams, and question the lecturer, especially on his extension of the harmonics to six octaves. Having seen and heard, this teacher went and shortly after published it without any acknowledgment of the true authorship; and it was afterwards republished in some of the Sol-Fa publications, the true source unconfessed; but our plagarist stopped short at C, the top of the tonic, instead of going on to F, the sixth octave of the root of all; the effect of this was to destroy the unity of the great chord. The 22 notes instead of 25, at which this teacher stopped, allowed him, indeed, to show the natural birthplace of B, which Ramsay had pointed, but it beheaded the great complex chord and destroyed its unity. If C, the root of the tonic, be made the highest note, having quite a different character from F, it pronounces its character, and mars the unity of the great chord. Similar diversity of effect is produced by cutting off only two notes of the 25 and stopping short at D, the top of the dominant; and also, though in a weaker degree, by cutting off only one note of the 25 and stopping at E, the middle of the tonic; this, too, disturbs the unity of the fundamental sound. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 111]

DIATONIC RESOLUTIONS, SIMPLE AND COMPOUND.

In the major system, when the tonic chord follows the subdominant one, there is one semitonic progression to the middle of the tonic, and one note in common with the root, so these two chords are linked together in different ways. When the tonic chord follows the dominant one, there is one semitonic progression to the root of the tonic, and one note in common with its top, so these two chords also are linked together in two different ways. When the tonic chord follows the compound dominant, i.e., the dominant seventh, there are two semitonic progressions, one to the middle and one to the root, and one note in common with its top, so these two are linked together in the same two ways; but the semitonic progression being double gives this resolution great urgency. And now we come to the two chords, the subdominant and dominant, which have no note in common, and must, when they succeed each other, be helped to come together. Nature teaches us how this is to be done by a process of borrowing and lending which will establish between them a similar relationship to that which keeps the continuity of the other chords in succession. We have seen that the top of the subdominant and the root of the tonic are a note in common to these chords, and so the top of the tonic and the root of the dominant also are a note possessed in common by these two chords. In like manner in this disjunct part, when the dominant follows the subdominant, the root of the subdominant is lent to the top of the dominant, and thus they come to have a note in common. The top of the [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 111]