Harmony in 21 Lessons

by Cheryl Macomber
Glenda Macomber

Pastor Clinton Macomber
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Lesson 7—The Tonic and Dominant Chord

A tune should begin and end with the tonic chord.

A change from one chord to another is called a progression.

The following chords are progressing from the tonic (C Chord) to the dominant (G Chord) and back again.

Notice the notes that are tied. They are called the mutual or binding tone. Whenever one changes chords in a song, he must retain the mutual tone and keep it in the same voice.

Note that the mutual tone in Example 1 is G, because it belongs to both chords. It is in the tenor and must stay there through the changes in chords.

Note, in Example 2, the mutual or binding chord is in the Alto and must stay through the change.

Now that the mutual tone has been retained, the other voices must move to the tone in the next chord that gives the least movement and produces the smoothest leading of the voices.

Choose correct answers from following words.










  1. Always begin and close a tune or melody in the ________ chord.
  2. The tone that belongs to two chords is the _______ or ________ tone.
  3. This binding or mutual tone should always be retained and kept in the same ________ (soprano, alto, tenor, bass).
  4. The mutual or binding tone for the tonic and dominant chord is _______.
  5. The other voices in the chord must move to the tone in the next chord that produces the least __________ and smoothest ________ in the voices.

Below are two melodies which need to be harmonized according to the rules and examples on the previous page.

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3

In the following exercise, select words and write a melody of your own, using only the tonic and dominant chords; and harmonize them, using the examples and rules of progression given in this lesson.

Song 1

Song 2

Answer Instructions

Click on the following "Answers" tab when you are ready to see the answers.


  1. tonic
  2. binding, mutual
  3. voice
  4. tonic
  5. motion, leading