Why is the IV chord subdominant it has the root in it so shouldn't it be tonic?

3 Answers

  • 1 year ago

    To reinforce the already excellent responses - you must have heard of  *circle of fifths*.  This is based on acoustics - the first overtone of a string or wind instrument, that is NOT the fundamental tone, is a fifth higher.  Acoustically, it wants to fall back to the root.  FROM the root, you extend that cycle (considering it as that overtone of *something else*) that you fall to the subdominant.  Far easier to play aloud for you, than explain only in words.  So now you have two other primary chords, each a fifth away from the tonic.  You have symmetry and balance.

  • Me2
    Lv 7
    1 year ago

    That a chord simply contains the scale's tonic doesn't make it a tonic chord.  Chords are built on thirds.  Subdominant to submediant is a third, but tonic to subdominant isn't a third, therefore it cannot be a tonic chord.

    Consider that C major, F major, and A♭ major all contain C♮, but only one is a C chord.

  • 1 year ago

    Each triad (I through VII) has a different name. The tonic chord is the triad built on the tonic note. That is the only chord called the tonic chord. The subdominant chord is called that because, I suppose, it's the one immediately below the dominant.

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