Chord Functions - All There Really Is Is I and V

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brainpolice
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Thats right. Sounds a little weird to you? Well its true. All there really is is I and V (home and not home), and i'll explain why.

Take major keys:
I = home base
II = just an extension of the V (1 notes diff, the 6th scale degree, which wants to go to the 5th scale degree.) (why do you think there is II V I)
III = just an extension of the I (1 notes diff, the 7th scale degree, which wants to go to the 1st scale degree.)
IV = just an extension of the V (two notes (the root and 3rd) of the IV chord surround the 5th scale degee, the 6th and/or 4th scale degree want to go to the 5th.) (why do you think theres IV V I)
V = the ultimate tension. this tension wants to return home (the I chord) The 2nd scale degree wants to go to the 1st, the 7th scale degree wants to go to the 1st, the 4th scale degree in a domionant V chord wants to go to the 3rd).
VI = just an extension of the I (1 notes diff, the 6th scale degree, which wants to go to the 5th scale degree). This is also where the relative minor occurs.
VII = just an extension of the V (No notes are different from a dominant V chord. If its a minor7b5, the different note created is the 6th scale degree which wants to go down to the 5th scale degree.)

Take Minor Keys:
I = home base
II = just an extension of the V (1 notes diff, the 6th scale degree, which wants to go to the 5th scale degree.)(why do you thinks there is II V I)
III = just an extension of the I (1 notes diff, the 7th scale degree, which wants to go to the 1st scale degree.) This is also where the relative major occurs.
IV = just an extension of the I (two notes (the root and 3rd) of the IV chord surround the 5th scale degree, the 6th and/or 4th scale degree want to go to the 5th.) (why do you think theres IV V I)
V = the ultimate tension. this tension wants to return home (the I chord). In minor keys they had to raise the 7th scale degree by a halfstep to create major or dominant V chord so that it has resolving power to the I (this is how harmonic minor came to be). But that created an augmented 2nd interval between the 6th and 7th scale degree, so they opted to raise the 6th scale degree by a halfstep as well (this is how melodic minor came to be). The 2nd scale degree wants to go to the 1st, the raised 7th scale degree wants to go to the 1st, and the 4th scale degree created by a dominant V chord wants to go to the 3rd.
VI = just an extension of the I (1 notes diff, the 6th scale degree, which wants to go to the 5th scale degree.)
VII = just an extension of the V (If one is using a fully diminished chord here, the only note that's different is the 6th scale degree created, which wants to go down to the 5th scale degree.)

So why am I saying all there is is I and V? Well everything else is truly an extension of one of these two. The notes are practically the same, and the one note thats different has a clearly defined melodic tendency of where to go. If you were to analize, say, a chorale by J.S. Bach, you'll find a bunch of different chords, but the function all still boils down to I and V. Say it goes: I, VII (6), I, IV (6/4), VI (6), I, II, V (6/4), I. Well all of that is just a big I really. The VII returns to I, the IV goes to VI which is an extension of the I, which lord and behond ends up going to the I, then it resolves with the II V I progression. Bach does this at beginning of every single chorale of his that ive ever looked at. He establishes home very distinctly. All of that is just a big I. I'd bracket all those chord change with a big I. Say you get to a point in a chorale in A minor where it goes: D fully diminished, B fully diminished, G# fully diminished, E 7. Well all those fully diminished chords are just extensions of the E 7, which they finally resolve to. I'd label all of that with a big V. In the end when you analize these pieces, you find a whole bunch of chords, but then if you realize the true functions going on, you're paper should be fulled with a bunch of bigger brackets that just say "I V I V I V I V I" because thats all thats truly going on.

Hope i didnt confuse anyone, and im sure i'll be greeted with some arguement in no time. :)
theox
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Very interesting is all I can say right now...
markelia
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I see what you are going for, but I think this is an oversimplification. I agree that this could be helpful way of simplifying a bunch of chord changes; you have presented some thoughtful analysis here.

However, you must agree there is a value in addressing the sound of each piece of harmony on its own. If you classify everything as TONIC and NOT TONIC, you're glossing over the individual character and flavor of each chord.
brainpolice
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I know what you mean. But i still think its all just I and V. In the end, its all just I. That where it starts and ends. But take into account - Im more or less talking about counterpuntal music here.
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Ricardo
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You could take it further and just say all music that is not changing keys is just a big I chord. But I see you did sort of say that at the end. I think you can fairly say music (major, minor, or modal) is just about how the tritone is used for tension and possibley resolved (unless it is atonal music). V does not have the tritone, but V7 does.

But looking at your analysis, I don't get how you say IV is an extension of V since they are diatonic neighbors (no common notes unless you make V7) and IV has the root of I in it. Also in the minor key, I feel the "ultimate tension" is the vii7 (dim7) vs the V7 since EVERY note is a leading tone or needs resolution, where as V7 and I share a note. For me the ultimate resolution chord is V7(b9) since it has it all.

Richard
brainpolice
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Yea. But like i said, the fully diminished chord in minor keys is literally an extension of the V chord. Im not pulling this shit out of my ass. If any of you would like to talk to the proffesor of music at my college, who attended berklee with vai, go ahead. He'll tell you he's convinced all there is is I and V (which is a concept he explains to all his theory students) and do a much better job of explaining it then me. :)
Mr_Guitarman
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all there is is I and V. Well if this is true than I've wasted to many hours studying theory. All i need to know is I and V.
brainpolice
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"Techniques and Materials Of Music from the common practise period through the 20th century" by Thomas Benjamin, Michael Horbit, Robert Nelson

Pg 40:
"Connection of Tonic and Dominant Triads in Root Position"
I. The roman numeral V refers to the major triad built on the fifth degree of the scale (dominant triad). In a minor key the third of the dominant triad, the leading tone, must be raised. The accidental that affects the leading tone is shown next to the roman numeral V.
II. Function. At this point, the V chord may be preceded or followed by the I chord. THE TONIC AND DOMINANT TRIADS ARE THE BASIC HARMONIC BUILDING BLOCKS OF TONAL MUSICAL STRUCTURE AND ARE TYPICALLY THE HARMONIC GOALS OF THE PHRASE AND OF LARGER FORMAL UNITS. The close relationship between the tonic and the dominant derives from their acoustical properties. See the harmonic Series, Part V, Unit 2. The descending fith (or ascendiong fourth) is the strongest relationship in tonal music.

Pg 53:
"Connection of Subdominant and Dominant Triads in Root position"
I. The IV chord frequently functions as a dominant preparation (pre-dominant) harmony, progressing to V. It rarely follows V. The tonic, subdominant, and dominant triads are often refered to as the "primary triads". The movement from tonic to subdominant to dominant and finally back to tonic typically defines the basic harmonic direction of tonal works, and determines form. ALL OTHER HARMONIES MAY BE THOUGHT OF AS A DECORATING OR SUBSTITUTION OF THESE ESSENTIAL HARMONIES.
II. The three upper voices move in contrary motion to the bass to the nearest notes of the 2nd chord. (this is refering to IV to V).

Pg 72:
"The Supertonic Triad"
I. The supertonic triad (II) is a minor triad in the major mode and a diminished triad in the minor mode. It is found more often in first inversion then in root position, especially in the minor mode.
II. function. The supertonic triad will generally function as a dominant preparation, a progression analagous to IV-V. THE SUPER TONIC TRIAD MAY BE UNDERSTOOD AS A QUASI DOMINANT TO THE DOMINANT, THE DESCENDING FIFTH RELATIONSHIP CORRESPONDING TO THAT FROM DOMINANT TO TONIC.

Pg 89:
"Submediant and Mediant Triads in Root Position And First Inversion"
I. The roman numberals VI and vi refer to the major and minor triads built on the sixth degree of the scale (submediant triads). The roman numerals III and iii refer to the major and minor triads built on the third degree of the scale (mediant triads).
II. Function. the submediant and mediant triads are used less frequently than the primary triads (I, IV and V), and have less significance for the building of music structure. THEY MAY BE THOUGHT OF AS EMBELLISHING OR SUBSTITUTING FOR THE MORE FUNDAMENTAL HARMONIES (Especially I). They are often found in sequences.

Pg: 95
"The Leading Tone Triad"
I. The leading tone triad is a diminished triad; it occurs in both major and minor modes.
II. THE CHORD IS USED WITH DOMINANT FUNCTION EXCEPT TO REPLACE V AT A HALF CADANCE. IT MAY ALSO BE USED AS LINEAR (EMBELLISHING) CHORD (STILL ASSOCIATED WITH TONIC HARMONY). The triad is almost always in first inversion; root position is very rare, and second inversion is virtually never used.

And there you have it folks. I think the pinnacle statement is "ALL OTHER HARMONIES MAY BE THOUGHT OF AS A DECORATING OR SUBSTITUTION OF THESE ESSENTIAL HARMONIES." Its all just a decoration of I or V.
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burnt out
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Well sure.I think this relates nicely with the previous thread titled: "confused with modes because..."

It's all just tension and release.Just with varying amounts of tension.


If you arrange the modes in order of "brightest to darkest" like so:

Lydian
Ionian
Mixolydian
Dorian
Aeolian
Phrygian
Locrian

Instead of saying it's from "brightest to darkest" you might instead say it's from "most resolved"(or "relaxed") to "most unresolved" (or most "tense").You can track that "tritone" bugger through each mode.What's interesting is that the Lydian mode has the tritone occurring immediately between the root and #4th and yet it is the most resolved sounding mode,while the Locrian has the tritone occuring immediately between the root and the b5th and this produces the darkest,most tense and unresolved sounding mode.So the diminished 5th is the most unstable instance of the tritone.

Tritone occurances in each mode:

In Lydian between steps 1 and #4...(relaxation)...(birth)
In Ionian between steps 4 and 7...(suspense)......(childhood)
In Mixolydian between steps 3 and b7...(action)...(adolescence)
In Dorian between steps b3 and 6...(drama)........(young adulthood)
In Aeolian between steps 2 and b6...(sorrow)......(middle aged)
In Phrygian between steps b2 and 5...(pain)........(old age)
In Locrian between steps 1 and b5...(hate)..........(death)


Or maybe it's going from:

most mellow to most rowdy?
most innocent to most corrupt?
most passive to most agressive?
most compliant to most rebellious?
most good to most evil?
most holy to most unholy?


I don't know,I have no idea what I'm talking about.I'm just making this up as I go along... :P
Last edited by burnt out on Thu Oct 21, 2004 4:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
markelia
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I think most of us disagree with your professor's explanation, eheh.
:oops:
guitar_chicken
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Yeah burntout, you'll right all the way.

I was making a sociologic study about chinese music, and what you're saying is exactly what they thought. The "purest" form of scale is mixolydian, and the "scale of the dark side" is the locrian. But in their traditions the locrian is the hardest mode to conquer, while the other derived scales are easier.

What's even nicer is how locrian and mixolydian modes are made. The original note in chinese music was the sound of the flow of the Yan-Tsé-Kiang, and if you go perfect fifths up (3/2) you get all the notes in the mixolydian. The other way, you go perfect fifths down (2\3) you get the locrian mode.

All the scales in their music come from these sounds; each carries an emotion, and that's why I think the I-V theory, well, it kills this spirit a bit.... I guess it's good when you want to learn to master the instrument, but if you have something to say, just learn all the theory.... it works better for me anyways......

Oriental music is soooo rich...... we look like complete idiots beside of them.....



p.s.; did you know the tritone was called "musicus diabolus" by the middle age monks???


cheers
brainpolice
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Obviously none of you understood the examples directly from a music theory book. :)
theox
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guitar_chicken wrote:The "purest" form of scale is mixolydian, and the "scale of the dark side" is the locrian.
I suppose you mean Lydian, not Mixolydian (just to avoid confusion).
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Ricardo
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Well, Brainpolice your extra explanation taken from some text sheds no light on the V/IV connection. It is referred to as Subdominant, in the sense that it usually preceeds the dominant on the way to tonic. Well, duh! So what. You should not spend so much time taking things verbatum from proffessors, and do more self searching on your instrument. No one is out to prove you wrong, this is all about learning and understanding in hopes we can apply this knowledge to actual music.

I feel that if you must lump functional harmonies together, than IV is a middle of the road chord that can be used multiple ways. A great cadance is IV-iv-I which is more effective than IV-V-I in some cases. And in minor the dim7 (vii) is an extension of V, with the ROOT omitted or replaced? That is fine, all I was saying was that THAT extension (if you must) is more the "ultimate" tension than the V itself.

I like what Burnt out said regarding the tritone's relation w/ the individual modes. Notice Lydian and Locrian appear the same based only on the roots. That is because the tritone is the unique interval that is the same in any octave (vs 2nd-7th, 3rd-6th, 4th-5th, unison-octave). I disagree however w/ Ionian being "darker" than Lydian. Lydian is very tense and unresolved, it needs a fade out to end. To me it is exotic, a bit dark. Maybe that is just my ear. I feel that Ionian and aeolian both have the least tension (or are the most "resolved" modes), and that is why they have been accepted as the "major and minor" key centers of tonal music.

Take any major or minor chord (or power chord is better) and move tritones over it chromatically to get the flavor of all the modes based on that tonic.

Richard

Richard
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This is pretty interesting. The most common analysis I've come across is that there are three functions, predominant, dominant, and tonic. Predominant function is inclusive of ii IV and most chromatic chords and secondary dominants. Dominant includes V, V7 and its tritone sub, viidim, and vii-7b5.

However I can understand looking at the predominant function as a set-up of dominant and grouping them together. Is that what your professor is saying?

I think an important thing to keep in mind is that this is music theory not music dogma. It's really just a collection of observations about great music. Some of these observations are genius and some are bullshit.

I saw a book a while back thats entire premise was if you played a chord tone on every fourth note of a of a phrase, you can approach those tones with any random chromaticism and you're improvising bebop! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ! But maybe it works for some people. The guy who wrote it isn't that bad a player.

We hear a lot of theory so use what's useful and trash what's not.

peace
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