Page 27 - Voice for Life Yellow Workbook
P. 27

                                 Primary and secondary chords
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With your choir, think of some traditional folk tunes, nursery rhymes and contemporary pop tunes, and ask your choir trainer to play the chords that go with them. Sing the tunes along with the chords. You will find that many of the tunes use only, or mainly, their primary chords.
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The tonic chord
The tonic chord (or tonic triad) is a major triad based on the tonic (or key note) of a key. The note which a triad is based on is called its root. The other two notes in a major triad are intervals of a third and a fifth above the root. They are called the third and the fifth of the triad.
The dominant chord
Counting the tonic as one, count up the scale to the fifth note. This note is called the dominant. A triad based on the dominant note is called the dominant chord (or dominant triad). The dominant note is the root of the triad. The other two notes are a third and a fifth above this root note.
For example, in the key of G major, the tonic chord is based on G, so it contains the notes G, B and D.
  Fifth
Third Root
Fifth
Third Root
       The tonic chord (tonic triad) in the key of G major
In G major, the dominant (fifth note of the scale) is D. So the dominant chord is
made up of D, F sharp and A.
                           Fifth Fifth Third
Third Root
The dominant chord (or dominant triad) in the key of G major
In G major, the subdominant chord contains the notes C, E and G.
  
  Root
  The subdominant chord
The fourth note of a scale is called its subdominant. In G major, this note is C. The subdominant note is the root of the subdominant chord (or subdominant triad).
Fifth Third Root
Fifth Third Root
         The name of a chord depends on the key. In G major, D is the dominant. But in A major, D is the subdominant.
The tonic chord, the dominant chord and the subdominant chord are known as the primary chords of a key. They are called ‘primary’ because they are the ones most often used in many types of music for the harmony that goes with a melody. Many pieces of music use only the three primary chords in their harmony.
The subdominant chord (subdominant triad) in the key of G major
     In this box, write the names of some well-known songs or tunes which use only primary chords in their harmony.
  Module B: Musical skills and understanding 27

































































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