Dominant (music)

Dominant ( French ( note ) dominant ( adj ) or simply: dominant ( n ) from Latin dominans (Part. pre, of dominare ), dominant, dominant, dominant, Italian and Spanish: dominant; engl.. dominant), and super-dominant, is a concept of harmony and referred to the fifth level of a scale and the function of all based on chords. The dominant feature is a fifth above the tonic, and together with this and the subdominant one of the three main stages or main functions of tonal harmony.

Dominant voltage

Dominant chords is generally attributed to a voltage, which manifests itself in an effort to be continued or dissolved in a tonic chord.


If a key (eg C major ) is clearly established by the harmonic context, builds the fifth step from the tonic to the dominant one "Power " on. As this increase is perceived by the root to fifth as stress build-up, the reverse path from the fifth to the tonic acts as a solution to this tension. The fifth step from the dominant to the tonic G C is an ear familiar ( through listening experience ) movement with relaxing effect. You to some extent confirmed an expectation reveals a kind of closure. In addition, the third hour of the dominant chord acts as a leading tone, which aims at a half-step to the root of the tonic.


In the " natural minor " is the leading tone of the tonic major seventh manager not own. At 5th level, the minor key is a minor chord, the third ( on a minor relative here ) a whole step below the Tonikagrundton a is g. To obtain the familiar strut of major effect here, is instead used in the minor as a dominant major chord. For this, the scale underlying is reformed by increasing the g for gis for harmonic minor. If this leading tone is not used, it is called illustrative of a " minor - dominant ".

Reinforcing the dominant tension


→ Article seventh chord section: dominant

More dominant chords tables

Dominant function in a broad sense have all the chords, which carry a high voltage content in themselves and dissolve in a subsequent, less tension sound. Chord extensions, which are generally dissonant in durmolltonalen system, are particularly well suited as a dominant. In addition to the dominant here are the Dominantseptnonakkord and their truncated forms mentioned.

Also altered chords of the fifth stage act primarily dominant table.


The word dominant is older than the major -minor tonal music. Already in 1615 used Salomon de Caus this designation at authentic church modes for the 5th, at plagal for the 4th stage. In general, the term was often used interchangeably dominant for the other terms of the Rezitationstons of church modes ( repercussa, tenor, tuba). At the beginning of the 18th century the dominant feature was a 5th tone of the ladder next Finalis and mediant (after Brossard ) to the Sons essential ( essential tones ) of a mode.

Today's meaning of the term as one of the three basic functions of tonal harmony goes back to Jean -Philippe Rameau. This meant by dominant generally any sound, which is based on a seventh chord, the latter dissolves in a chord with a fifth deeper root. The dominant tonique (of Marpurg translated as tonic dominant) is the special case of the on the fifth above the tonic seventh chord built, which dissolves in the tonic triad (which today Dominant understanding comes pretty close ). From Rameau's immediate successors took only a few ( eg, Johann Friedrich Daube ) the new doctrine of the basic functions.

Jean -Jacques Rousseau weakened the highlighting importance of the terms tonic, dominant and sub- dominant again somewhat, he continued to expand by name each scale degree (eg Sus - dominant for the 6th level ). When Heinrich Christoph Koch and Gottfried Weber, however, explicitly between essential or main harmonies ( tonic, dominant and Subdominantdreiklang ) and random or minor harmonies of a key distinction is made. Weber has also one of the first to the fact that the triad of the dominant always (even in a minor key ) is a major triad. The final consolidation of the dominant concept was done by Moritz Hauptmann, of those of the fifth, the second of the three directly understandable intervals ( octave, fifth, major third ), was derived. Today's traditional function designation D for the dominant was introduced by Hugo Riemann.

The dominant feature was also called in the first half of the 20th century in German-speaking upper-dominant.