Harmony in 21 Lessons

by Cheryl Macomber
Glenda Macomber

Pastor Clinton Macomber
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© Copyright 1992, 2010

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Lesson 10—Mutual Tones

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The mutual tone of the tonic and subdominant chords (in the key of C) is C.

Below are the chords arranged so that C, the mutual or binding tone, is retained and the other notes of the chords are arranged to move to the closest notes of the succeeding chords to produce the smoothest leading of the voices.

Mutual tones

Harmonize the following exercise, using the arrangements of the chords in the above example as they are appropriate. The acceptable positions for the tonic and subdominant chords are also included for your convenience.

Tonic Chord Positions

Tonic Chords

Subdominant Chord Positions

Subdominant chords

Exercise 1

Harmony Lesson 10 first exercise

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Because there is no mutual tone between the dominant and subdominant chords, we need to be very careful in how we use then.

The dominant may come after the subdominant, but the subdominant may not come after the dominant at this time.

In the example below we see examples of how the subdominant is first followed by the dominant. You will notice that the bass ascends, usually letting the other notes of the chords descend. This is called Contrary Motion.

Contrary Motion

Now we can put to use the three chords and their positions that we have learned so far. Many of our most popular hymns are composed using only these three chords—tonic, dominant,and sub-dominant.Look at the chords in the following hymns in your hymnal: “At Calvary,” “My Anchor Holds,” “Never Alone,” “Only A Sinner” and “Wonderful Story of Love.”

Harmonize the following melodies using the positions of the chords that you have learned.

(Dominant Chord Positions)

Dominant Chords

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Exercise 2

Exercise 2

Exercise 3

Exercise 3

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Answer Instructions

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

Exercise 1

Exercise 1

Exercise 1 answers

Exercise 2

Exercise 2

Exercise 2 answers

Exercise 3

Exercise 3

Exercise 3 answers