Lesson

Arpeggiation Patterns and Tonic – Dominant Phrase Structure 

TONIC (I): The keynote of a scale is called the tonic. It is the lowest and highest tone of the scale. Since the tonic is the 1st scale degree, it is given the Roman numeral I. In C major, C is the tonic note or chord.
DOMINANT (V): The tone a 5th above the tonic is called the dominant. Since the dominant is the 5th scale degree, it is given the Roman numeral V. In C major, G is the dominant note or chord.**

**Alfred’s Essentials of Music Theory, A Complete Self-Study Course for all Musicians. Andrew Surmani, Karen Farnum Surmani, & Morty Manus. Unit 12, Lesson 49, page 76.

Suggested review of “Chords: Tonic and Dominant” in the Harp Composition Toolbox section

Our harps are currently tuned to the key of C major. The tonic chord in this key is a C major triad with the notes of C E G. The dominant chord in this key is a G major triad with the notes of G B D.

What arpeggiations patterns do you see in the excerpt below from El Siquisirí?

Above transcription from Chilpachole de Arpa, Sones Tradicionales Jarochos para Arpa Mercedes Gómez, Octavio Vega, Marian Shaffer. p.21
Siquisirí Conjunto Alma Jarocha “Sones Jarochos” performed by arpista Rufino Velásquez Córdoba

Assignment: Compose a 4 measure melody in 3/4 time that begins with the tonic chord (C major) for 2 measures and then goes to the dominant chord (G major) for two measures. Think of the tonic phrase as the initial statement and the dominant phrase as the response to that statement. Use one or two of the above patterns as part of your melody.