The terms ‘tonic’ and ‘key’ get thrown around a lot – anytime we talk about music theory or music composition. While it’s pretty easy to gain an intuitive idea of what these terms mean, this course seeks to illuminate how they are related. Furthermore, this course talks about the power of modal tonics. Modal tonics represent an opportunity to think more strategically about conveying specific emotions in your harmony, melody and improvisation. This course discusses the fundamentals and implications of what a tonic is and how it is related to the concept of a key.
Where You’ll Start…
We’ll start by relating keys to scales and see that they have a lot in common… but they aren’t exactly the same thing. We’ll reference key signatures and talk about scale degrees in order to clarify our understanding of tonics & keys. From there we can dive deeper into modal tonics. This course explains the conceptual identity of a modal tonic (oriented to a mode instead). As the course proceeds, we’ll look at applications in composition, melody & improvisation.
How Tonics & Keys Relate
Recognizing what a tonic and key represents is a good foundation. However, a deeper recognition awaits if you learn how their relationship offers up the opportunity to compose (and talk about) conveying different emotions in music. This understanding – how tonics and keys relate – will elevate your creativity for composition, melody and improvisation. Each of those applications is discussed in this brief course under the broader goal of conveying emotion in a meaningful and authentic way using tonics.
When You’re Finished…
By the time you’ve completed this short course, you’ll understand how tonics and keys relate, what they are and what you can do with them in your music.