Fundamentals of
SCALES AND KEY SIGNATURES

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PART D--SCALE DEGREE ACTIVITY

10. Scale Degree Activity in Major Keys. Scale degrees are classified into three type of tones: stable, active, and tendency (Figure 2-27).


Figure 2-27: Scale Degree Activity in Major Keys.

a. Stable tones have a sound quality that suggests completeness and stability (Figure 2-28).


Figure 2-28: Stable Tones in Major Keys.

b. Active tones lack stability and want to move toward a stable tone. Normally, an active tone moves to an adjacent note in the scale (Figure 2-29).


Figure 2-29: Active Tones in Major Keys.

c. Tendency tones are active tones that pull toward a particular pitch. Tendency tones tend to move a half step to an adjacent scale degree. A leading tone moves to the tonic unless it is part of a descending scalewise motion. The subdominant moves to the mediant unless it is part of scalewise motion that is ascending (Figure 2-30).


Figure 2-30: Tendency Tones in Major Keys.

 


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