Tonic (music)

Tonic (music)
Tonic (I) in ii-V-I turnaround on C, found at the end of the circle progression About this sound Play
Major seventh chord on C About this sound Play . I7 or tonic seventh chord in C major.[1]
Minor-minor (i7) seventh chord on C.[2] About this sound Play
Minor major seventh chord on C.
iAbout this sound Play

In music, the tonic is the first scale degree of the diatonic scale and the tonal center or final resolution tone.[3] The triad formed on the tonic note, the tonic chord, is thus the most significant chord. More generally, the tonic is the pitch upon which all other pitches of a piece are hierarchically referenced.

In very much conventionally tonal music, harmonic analysis will reveal a broad prevalence of the primary (often triadic) harmonies: tonic, dominant, and subdominant (i.e., I and its chief auxiliaries a 5th removed), and especially the first two of these.
—Berry (1976)[4]

The tonic is often confused with the root, which is the reference note of a chord, rather than that of the scale. It is also represented with the Roman numeral I.


Importance and Function

In western European tonal music of the 18th and 19th centuries, the tonic center was the most important of all the different tone centers which a composer used in a piece of music, with most pieces beginning and ending on the tonic, usually modulating to the dominant (the fifth above the tonic, or the fourth note down from the tonic) in between.

There can be major scales and minor scales. The tonic remains the same in these two different "modes", for a given key, whereas scale degrees such as the third degree and the sixth degree are altered in the minor scale.

This can be seen another way. Each minor scale uses exactly the same set of notes (key signature) as some major scale and vice-versa. The only difference is which of these notes functions as the tonal center — which of them is the tonic. For example, C major and A minor have no sharps or flats. Consequently, the tonic plays an important part in determining why music composed using a minor mode sounds different from music composed using a major mode.

A tonic may be considered a tonal center, while a pitch center functions referentially or contextually in an atonal context, often acting as axis or line of symmetry in an interval cycle.[5] Pitch centricity was coined by Arthur Berger in his "Problems of Pitch Organization in Stravinsky".[6]

The tonic diatonic function includes four separate activities or roles as the principal goal tone, initiating event, generator of other tones, and the stable center neutralizing the tension between dominant and subdominant.

Other Scale Degrees

Circle progression on C goes through tonic, subdominant, leading-tone, mediant, submediant, supertonic, and dominant before returning to tonic: I-IV-viio-iii-vi-ii-V-I About this sound Play

After tonic, the names of the remaining scale degrees (of a diatonic scale) in order are as follows:
supertonic — second scale degree (the scale degree immediately "above" the tonic);
mediant — third scale degree (the "middle" note of the tonic triad);
subdominant — fourth scale degree (a fifth "below" the tonic);
dominant — fifth scale degree (the most "pronounced" harmonic note after the tonic);
submediant — sixth scale degree (the "middle" note of the subdominant triad);
leading tone (or leading note) — seventh scale degree (the scale degree that "leads" to the tonic, this is also referred to as subtonic);
subtonic - also seventh scale degree, but applying to the lowered 7th found in the natural minor scale.

See also


  1. ^ Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.229. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
  2. ^ a b Benward & Saker (2003), p.230.
  3. ^ Benward & Saker (2003), p.33.
  4. ^ Berry, Wallace (1976/1987). Structural Functions in Music, p.62. ISBN 0-486-25384-8.
  5. ^ Samson, Jim (1977). Music in transition: a study of tonal expansion and atonality, 1900-1920. New York City: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-02193-9. OCLC 3240273. [page needed]
  6. ^ Berger, Arthur (Fall/Winter 1963). "Problems of Pitch Organization in Stravinsky". Perspectives of New Music 2 (1): 11–42. doi:10.2307/832252. JSTOR 832252. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tonic (music club) — Tonic was a music venue located at 107 Norfolk Street, New York City which opened in 1998 and closed April 2007. It was self described as supporting avant garde, creative and experimental music and known for its commitment to musical integrity.… …   Wikipedia

  • Tonic — may refer to: *Tonic (music), a concept of musical theory *Tonic (band), an American post grunge rock band *Tonic (music club), a New York City music venue, 1998 2007 * Tonic (album), a 2000 album by Medeski Martin Wood *Tonic (physiology), a… …   Wikipedia

  • Tonic Sol-fa (a cappella group) — Tonic Sol fa is an all male a cappella quartet from the Minneapolis St. Paul region. With a largely pop music oriented repertoire, their CDs have sold over 1,000,000 copies, and the group has toured throughout the US and abroad.Official Biography …   Wikipedia

  • tonic — [tän′ik] adj. [Gr tonikos < tonos: see TONE] 1. of, producing, or tending to produce good muscular tone, or tension 2. mentally or morally invigorating; stimulating 3. having to do with tones; specif., a) Music designating or based on the… …   English World dictionary

  • Tonic (radio program) — Tonic is a Canadian radio program, which debuted on March 19, 2007 on CBC Radio 2. Devoted to jazz music and airing from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. nightly, the program is hosted by Katie Malloch from Montreal weekdays and Tim Tamashiro from Calgary on… …   Wikipedia

  • tonic — ► NOUN 1) a medicinal substance taken to give a feeling of vigour or well being. 2) something with an invigorating effect. 3) tonic water. 4) Music the first note in a scale which, in conventional harmony, provides the keynote of a piece of music …   English terms dictionary

  • Music theory — is the study of how music works. It examines the language and notation of music. It seeks to identify patterns and structures in composers techniques across or within genres, styles, or historical periods. In a grand sense, music theory distills… …   Wikipedia

  • Music of Zambia — Music of Southern Africa Botswana Comoros …   Wikipedia

  • Tonic sol-fa — Solmisations Tafel in einem irischen Klassenzimmer Tonic sol fa ist der Name einer Lehrmethode für den Gesangsunterricht an Schulen, die ab 1842 von Reverend John Curwen propagiert wurde. Die auf dem Norwich sol fa der Erzieherin Sarah Glover… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tonic Solfa Association — Die Tonic Solfa Association wurde um 1850 in Großbritannien durch Reverend John Curwen gegründet. Sie war eine, bis Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts sehr aktive Vereinigung, welche sich die pädagogischen Methoden des Musikunterrichts mit dem… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”