Tonic (music)

Tonic ( French tonique, tonic to Greek tonos tension " ). " Tonic called in the major -minor tonal music, the tonic of the key, which is named after him, eg C major to c, a minor to a Functional Theory of Harmony understands the structure erected tonic triad, the main sound of the key ( in C major CEG, in a minor, ace ). " It is the name given to the first stage of a key.


The name goes on the tonic of Jean -Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) invented term " l'accord tonique " ( " the chord of the fundamental note or the chord with the special emphasis " ) back to the this, the essential feature of the tonic sought to describe, namely their ability as a magnet in the center of all harmonic voltage fields to stand. Therefore, the tonic is often described by the term " tonal center ".

Ever since the introduction of the theory of functions, the term tonic is a definite size, even and especially from the point of forming a reference point to the two dominant ( dominant, subdominant ) and other diatonic chords as part of a cadence. The tonic is according to the classical theory of harmony usually at the beginning and at the end of a piece of music. Almost all the songs of classical European music have a home key.

Treatment in the classical theory of harmony

The classical theory of harmony, in which only octaves, fifths and thirds are regarded as consonances can, as Tonikaklänge only triads. Indispensable is the root; missing the fifth, the third, or both, the resulting sound is perceived as representative of the actual tonic triad.

Treatment in the modern theory of harmony

According to the modern theory of harmony of the tonic triad may well be extended to a four-note chord. So in pop music, the dominant is often dissolved in a to the interval of a major sixth Advanced tonic major. Nevertheless, the tonic in this case also retains its function as a consonant -sounding tonal center. The reason for this lies in altered listening habits: The sixth set for the audience of past musical eras still a very dissonant interval represents today's listeners feel this time interval, however, be absolutely consonant.

Depending on the scale type or style of music, the tonic will be supplemented by other diatonic tones. In jazz, for example, the extension of a tonic major to a major seventh usual. Here too, changed listening habits that this actually very dissonant interval does not affect the function of the tonic as the tonal center. The expansion of the tonic at the interval of a ninth is occasionally practiced.

A special case is the extension of the tonic major in blues. Here is a minor seventh is very often supplemented, which is not in this particular case, part of the underlying major scale, but the building on the root of the tonic natural minor scale is removed. This is handy in this tonic chord major mixed with minor. These minor seventh should not be confused with the Blue Note.