top of the major dominant

"The third note of the octave scale, E, the center of the tonic chord in the key of C, is the center of the system. It is the note which has the least tendency either upward or downward, and it has immediately above it in the octave scale the note which has the greatest amount of specific gravity, F, the root of the major subdominant; and immediately beneath it the note which has the greatest amount of specific levity, D, the top of the major dominant. Thus the root of the subdominant chord and the top of the dominant are placed right above and below the center of the system, and the gravity of the one above, and the levity of the one below, causes each of them to move in the direction of the center. These tendencies are seen in the scale at whatever key it may be pitched, and by whatever names the notes may be called. And it is on account of this permanency of character of the notes that the third note of the scale, E, in the key of C, has a lower effect1 than the second, D; and that the fourth note, F, has a lower effect than either the first, second, or third; the fifth note, G, has a higher effect than the fourth, F; but the sixth, A, has a.." [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 28]

There are two Diatonic systems in Music - the major and the minor. With the exception of one note, all the notes of the one system are identical with those of the other. The major key C has all the notes of the minor key A excepting D, the root of the minor subdominant; and the minor has all the notes of the major exception D, the top of the major dominant. These twain are one music, the masculine and feminine of a twofold unity; one system in duality rather than two systems. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 50]

not mathematically identical, the genetic number of the last D, the top of the dominant major, being 27, and that of the first D, the root of the subdominant minor, being 26 2/3. Well, in the triplets of the minor we have minor thirds below their middles, D-F, A-C, E-G. In the triplets of the major we have minor thirds above their middles, A-C, E-G, B-D. But here between the triplets of the two modes we have a triplet which has minor third both below and above its middle note, two minor thirds and nothing else, B-D-F. Here, then, the Diatonic progression chords presents us with a 3-note Chromatic chord, and marchals us the way that we must go to find [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 54]

But, as the subdominant sixth and dominant seventh suggest that the chromatic chord should be a 4-note chord, we must find out how Nature completes this diatonic chromatic triad and makes it a 4-note chord, and that according to its own intrinsic character as of minor thirds. Nature has always a rationale in her operations which it is ever delightful to discover. Wedged in between the minor dominant and the major subdominant, this triad, B D F, has already B, the top of the dominant minor, for its root; and F, the root of the subdominant major, for its top; and its middle is the mysterious D which, in its two positions as root of the minor subdominant and top of the major dominant, stands at the two extremes of the whole twofold diatonic key, bounding and embracing all; and which in its two degrees as D26 2/3 and D27 claims kindred with both minor and major modes of the twofold key system. Surely this Janus-faced D, looking this way toward the minor and that way to the major, seems to say, "the complement of this chord, of which I am the heart, is not far to seek nor hard to find on either side." It has already B in common with the minor dominant; the very next step is to the middle of this chord, G. Roots and tops of chords may not be altered, but middles may with impunity be flattened or sharpened as occasion may require. No two of them in succession in the chord-scale have the same structure; the chromatic triad, in claiming this middle, claims it sharpened, for it must have [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 54]

The intervening chord between the Diatonic and Chromatic systems, B, D, F. - This chord, which has suffered expatriation from the society of perfect chords, is nevertheless as perfect in its own place and way as any. From its peculiar relation to both major and minor, and to both diatonic and chromatic things, it is a specially interesting triad. F, which is the genetic root of all, and distinctively the root of major subdominant, has here come to the top by the prime 2. D, here in the middle, is diatonically the top of the major dominant, and the root of the minor subdominant; and on account of its self-duality, the most interesting note of all; begotten in the great genesis by the prime 3. B, the last-begotten in the diatonic genesis, top of the diatonic minor, middle of the dominant major, and begotten by the prime 5, is here the quasi root of this triad, which in view of all this is a remarkable summation of things. This B, D, F is the mors janua vitae in music, for it is in a manner the death of diatonic chords, being neither a perfect major nor a perfect minor chord; yet it is the birth and life of the chromatic phase of music. In attracting and assimilating to itself the elements by which it becomes a full chromatic chord, it gives the minor dominant the G# which we so often see in use, and never see explained; and it gives the major subdominant a corresponding A♭, less frequently used. It is quite clear that this chromatic chord in either its major phase as B, D, F, A♭, or its minor phase as G#, B, D, F, is as natural and legitimate in music as anything else; and like the diatonic chords, major and minor, it is one of three, exactly like itself, into which the octave of semitones is perfectly divided. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 101]


In Fig. 1, the mathematical framework of the scales major and minor, is shown the genesis of the scale. F1, in the top figure, is multiplied by 3, and that by 3, and that by 3, which brings us to D27, top of the major dominant. F1 is the root of the whole system. C3 is the top of the first chord, and from that grows the next, and from that the next; and so we have F, C, G, and D, the tops and roots of the major system of chords. When these 3 roots are each multiplied once by 5, the middles of the chords are found, as shown - A, E, and B; so B is the last-born of the major family. When B is taken 4 octaves higher at the number 720 and divided by 3, and that by 3, and that by 3, we get the notes E, A, and D, which are the roots and tops of the minor system of chords. Dividing B, E, and A each by 5 once, we get the middles of the 3 minor chords, as shown. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 103]

See Also

major dominant

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Sunday December 20, 2020 04:13:30 MST by Dale Pond.