Talk:Degree (music)

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Can someone please tell me where on the web I could find numerals with carets above, as in the examples in the "Scale Degree" section? Thanks! --Dveej 18:21, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

I've never seen that either. Perhaps it should be removed, since it has been a long time since you asked for a reference. Pfly 08:13, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Removed? What the first commenter wanted was easily downloadable images of these, not a reference. —Wahoofive (talk) 18:57, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh sorry, misread, too much wikipedia reading.Pfly 20:50, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

Scales & scale degrees[edit]

can scale degrees help identify scales?durp

if not, is there anything that can?durp

Please sign your posts on talk pages per Wikipedia:Sign your posts on talk pages. Thanks!
The number of scale degrees can help identify scales. For example a scale with only five degrees is a pentatonic scale. See Scale (music). Hyacinth 21:01, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

what about other scales like the japanese (itchisuko) or the oriental, how would I identify those with scale degrees? I'm pretty sure there are scales with the same amount of scale degrees.durp

Additional citations[edit]

Why, what, where, and how does this article need additional citations for verification? Hyacinth (talk) 01:57, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

Tag removed. Hyacinth (talk) 17:59, 23 December 2011 (UTC)


Scale degree Name Meaning
1st Tonic Tonal center, note of final resolution
2nd Supertonic One step above the tonic
3rd Mediant Midway between tonic and dominant
4th Subdominant Lower dominant
5th Dominant 2nd in importance to the tonic
6th Submediant Lower mediant, halfway between tonic and subdominant
7th Leading tone Melodically strong affinity for and leads to tonic
7th Subtonic One whole step below tonic

One book I have [Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.33. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.] has a table like the one above. Hyacinth (talk) 23:35, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Not sure I know what "lower dominant" means for the 4th degree. Doesn't "subdominant" mean "one step below the dominant" in parallel construction to "subtonic"? —Wahoofive (talk) 22:19, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
What does "submediant" mean then? Hyacinth (talk) 07:49, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Okay, you got me there. But I maintain that "lower dominant" is meaningless. —Wahoofive (talk) 16:53, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
W, Like much in music terminology the situation is complex and far from rational. "Sub" is used with different meanings in that table. In "subtonic" it means "below the tonic". In "subdominant" it may mean "below the dominant" (since it is below the dominant), but it appears originally to have involved something like the inverse of the dominant relation, so that it marks the degree to which the tonic stands as dominant, right? See here and here for example. And we might take "submediant" to mean "inverse of the mediant, standing as far below the tonic as the mediant stands above it"; but note its role as mediant to the subdominant; and as the table glosses things, it is mediant, or midway, between the subdominant and the tonic, just as the mediant is midway between tonic and dominant. History weighs heavy on all of this; as it does, notoriously, in uses of "diatonic" and "chromatic" applied in diverse ill-harmonised ways. But let's not go there!
NoeticaTea? 23:50, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm good with all that, Noetica, and although I've never previously encountered the meaning of "would be the tonic if I were the dominant", I see that Harvard Dictionary agrees with that meaning as well (although the SMT guys seems to be on the "below the dominant" team). But "lower dominant" is not in common usage nor does it explain it well. —Wahoofive (talk) 04:07, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Heh! You won't get an argument from me. I make no excuses for the chaotic development of terminology in music theory. I am a stern critic of anyone who claims that it's "Alles in Ordnung". Anyway, good to run into you again.
NoeticaTea? 06:19, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
We could maintain that words and history are meaningless, but we could not go there instead. Saying something doesn't make it so. Hyacinth (talk) 00:26, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Hey, thanks for reverting my good-faith edit with a snarky remark. That really encourages collaborative editing on WP. —Wahoofive (talk) 22:28, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

I agree with the concept presented in the table above - the 7th is either subtonic or leading tone [1], the 8th is the tonic (again). I've altered the table but happy to discuss further Chalky (talk) 13:01, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Subdominant was named[edit]

The subdominant is named for being the same interval below the tonic (a fifth) that the dominant is above the tonic. Although the subdominant happens to be the degree just below the dominant, it was not named for being such. To support this, let's turn to the submediant.

The mediant is the third degree. Let's first assume that the subdominant was named for being the degree just below the dominant, and then find out if the submediant makes sense under this assumption. The degree just below the mediant (the third degree) is the second degree, and the submediant is the sixth. Not the same.

Now let's assume the subdominant was named for being the interval below the tonic that the dominant is above the tonic. Then the submediant would be the degree a third below the tonic. The degree a third below the tonic is the sixth degree, and the submediant is the sixth. The same! See how much sense the submediant makes for those who understand the true reason the subdominant is called subdominant?? Georgia guy (talk) 00:59, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

If what you say regarding the subdominant is true it should be easy to find a source. Hyacinth (talk) 01:30, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
The paragraphs in this section of the talk page support that it's true. What faulty info am I assuming here?? Georgia guy (talk) 01:33, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
You really don't need a source for this - it's like "Paris is the capital of France", everybody knows it. However, [s.n.] (1958) Rudiments and Theory of Music, London: Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, page 58: "Subdominant (the lower Dominant) is so named because it is the same distance below the Tonic as the Dominant is above – not because it is the note below the Dominant." Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 22:45, 19 March 2013 (UTC)