Tonic and Dominant

The tonic as “a resting place” and the dominant as “tension” are the basic sensations in harmony. In this first meeting of Keys we are going to work on a simple song Mi limón mi limonero, by Venezuelan composer Henry Stephen, in which uses only the following two chords: tonic (I = 1st degree) and dominant (V = 5th degree):

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The structure of the song is the following one:

Tonic and Dominant. Chorus and verse
The above video works thru the song in three different keys: C Major, D Major (2#) and G Major (1#). For the last one (minute 1:02), I made a simple arrangement:

Tonic and Dominant. Chorus and Verse
In this arrangement, I’ve used the following resources:

  1. Chord development:

    Sequence G Gmaj G6 keeping the basic G chord, then descending from the 8th note to 7th followed by the 6th, descending through the diatonic scale.

2. Secondary dominants:
   G sharp diminished G#º as the II degree of the dominant.3. Enriched dominants:

  • D with a seventh and a ninth D9, E with a seventh and a ninth E9
  • E with a seventh and a minor ninth E(b9)
  • D with an appoggiatura of the 4th D7sus4
  • D altered dominant (elevating the 5th) D7alt

Dominant chord and possible resolutions:And now ask and propose:

What other songs do you know that only use the tonic and dominant?


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