Are You Sure You Know What A DOMINANT Chord Is?

Tommaso Zillio

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dominant chord

The other day I was giving a music lesson to a bright young mind…

(I love teaching anybody, but the pleasure is even more when the student is bright)

… and I mentioned that a certain chord was a “dominant chord”.

I should have known better than this.

(Why? What’s wrong about dominant chords?)

“Teach, what is a dominant chord?”

I knew right then and there what kind of rabbit hole we were going to get into

I answered: “A dominant chord is …” + a simple explanation (you’ll find that in the video)

“But teach, I’ve also heard this musician talking about a dominant chord, and it was not what you say”

“Yes, you heard well. See, the word ‘dominant’ has more than one meaning in music. For instance, it can also mean…”

And I explained her the other meaning.

I was expecting her to protest like many before her did. After all, it’s simply not right that the same word has two completely different meanings in music.

Instead, without breaking stride, she asked me a great question:

“I see. How many other meanings the word ‘dominant’ has?”

… I told you she is a bright one :-) The bright ones always ask interesting questions

They also ask the inconvenient questions - I had to dig deep into my library to make sure I got the complete answer :-)

But what is my inconvenience in front of a bright young mind? So I answered her: “I’ll find out for you”.

Turns out - there are more than two meanings on the word ‘dominant’.

Indeed there are at least 3 of them that can be applied to chords.

No, they are completely different thing - so a chord can be ‘dominant’ in one sense but not the other.

So here’s the answer… for you, and for her:

And don’t get me started on ALTERED Dominant.

Completely different can of worms… and it’s incredible musicians can’t even agree on that

Beside all these problems about naming… harmony is still super-useful for anybody who wants to make music on the guitar.

Whether you want to write your songs, or arrange other people’s song in a creative way, or being able to play creative accompaniments on your guitar… the Complete Chord Mastery guitar course is for you!


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