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Not all seventh chords are actually "dominant" seventh chords. This lesson covers when is a Dominant Seventh Chord NOT truly a Dominant seventh?
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Players will often refer to ALL seventh chords as dominant or dominant seventh chords. In the key of C major when referring to the G or G7, this is correct. But - Dominant, in this context does refer to the chord's harmonic function within its scale and harmony. So, unless you can determine that seventh chord is functioning as a V or dominant chord in the tonality. The chord is just a seventh chord and does not need the additional dominant designation.
Dominant Seventh Chords?
And - a chord has a name, the root or letter name of the chord and chord type information. Dominant is not type it is a function.
To determine the function of a chord, you need to do a harmonic analysis (HA) which is beyond the scope of this article.
Here are the traditional function names of the scale degrees of a diatonic major scale:
... the demand of the V7 for resolution is, to our ears, almost inescapably compelling. The dominant seventh is, in fact, the central propulsive force in our music; it is unambiguous and unequivocal. — Goldman, 1965
- First note and chord: Tonic
- Second note and chord: Supertonic
- Third note and chord: Mediant
- Fourth note and chord: Subdominant
- Fifth note and chord: Dominant
- Sixth note and chord: Submediant
- Seventh note and chord: Leading/Subtonic
We don't call other seventh chords Tonic Seventh, Supertonic Seventh, Secondary Dominant, etc... Dominant is the harmonic function of a chord - NOT part of its name.
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Don't Get Around Much Anymore
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St. Thomas - This is perhaps the most recognizable instrumental in the repertoire of American jazz tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, who is usually credited as its composer. However, it is actually based on a traditional nursery song from the Virgin Islands, which Rollins' mother sang to him when he was a child. As such, it has a distinct Caribbean vibe to it.
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