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Diatonic functionality
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Diatonic functionality

In music diatonic functionality is the assumption used in tonal music theory that a pitch or pitch class and its enharmonic equivalents can not be used in the same way. For example a C# cannot be used as a Db, however this is not to say that they are not enharmonic equivalents, for they are in equal temperament, but rather that a Bb minor chord does not have a C# as its third, but a Db, and an F# major scale does not have a Db as its fifth degree, but a C#.

Thus a pitch may or may not fulfill one or more functions. Functional tonality refers to tonality which uses diatonic functions, non-functional tonality being when the diatonic elements are present (for instance the major scale) but do not use or fulfill their possible function as in, for instance, pandiatonicism.

In the United States and other places the diatonic functions are:

Function Roman Numeral
Tonic I
Supertonic II
Mediant III
Sub-Dominant IV
Dominant V
Sub-Mediant VI
Leading/Subtonic VII

However, in Germany functions besides the tonic, subdominant and dominant are named as "parallels" (US: relatives) to those functions. For instance in C major an a minor is the Tonic parallel or TP.

See: Function.

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