Imagining the Dominant
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,979
    Yesterday I was discussing the modes with my Advanced Schola (aged 9-17), and was trying to explain the dominant. I said that in Psalms it's the reciting tone, and in other chants the melody circles around it and it is like a second home for the mode.

    I was searching for images: a ledge a few feet above the ground (i.e. the final), or a magnet for the melody, or like what happens when a balloon is held up by blowing air.

    I was wondering if folks had other ideas for images, and also what the resources are.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I view the tenor, wrong though I may be, as a "place of action". It wants to go somewhere. I always point to Kyrie XI: sing a couple neums and then hold the A. You can't help but go back down the scale!
  • Using flight as an analogy of perhaps questionable merit:

    Dominant: Cruising altitude
    Final: Destination

    Psalm tones, formulas for readings and prayers, chant hymns: Wind-tunnel testing/controlled environment
    Proper chants: Real-world action (jet streams, turbulence, geese...)
  • Kathy
    Posts: 4,979
    Cool.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    The dominant to me is a bird hovering on a thermal updraft along the coastline. Rising some, falling some, staying at the same altitude - all with apparently effortless grace.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,024
    Incoming! Watch your arsis!