controsensibile

rosspiano

New Member
Italian
Hi!
Is this term always used in Italian (as most of classical music/harmony terms...) or translated?
Controsensibile is the note 1/2 tone away (up) from the tonic (root).
Ex: if we are speaking of a piece in C major, the controsensibile of C is Db.
Thanks.
regards,
r
 
  • TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Hi,
    I wonder if you are talking about "subdominant" based on the following.

    Sottodominante

    La sottodominante è la quarta nota di una scala diatonica. Quando si presenta unita al settimo grado viene chiamata controsensibile per il caratere di moto che la spinge a risolvere sulla nota vicina, ovvero sul terzo grado della scala: la caratteristica.

    Subdominant
    In music, the subdominant is the technical name for the fourth tonal degree of the diatonic scale. It is so called because it is the same distance "below" the tonic as the dominant is above the tonic - in other words, the tonic is the dominant of the subdominant. It is also the note immediately "below" the dominant [1]. In the C major scale (white keys on a piano, starting on C), the subdominant is the note F; and the subdominant chord uses the notes F, A, and C. In music theory, the subdominant chord is symbolized by the Roman numeral IV if it is within the major mode (because it is a major triad, for example F-A-C in C major) or iv if it is within the minor mode (because it is a minor triad, for example F-A-C in C minor).
     

    rosspiano

    New Member
    Italian
    Hi TimLa, thanks for your response.
    No, I mean by controsensibile (I make an example in C):
    controsensibile of C is Db.

    i.e. the note located 1/2 tone away (upwards) from C. Opposite to the sensibile (Leading Note), which is 1/2 tone below C (B natural).
    Thanks a lot!
    regards,
    ross
     

    TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I've looked and looked at many Italian texts regarding harmonic theory, and it seems that "sensibile" and "controsensibile" are descriptions of the tones in an harmonic series.
    "Controsensibile" seems to be synonymous with "subdominante".

    I think we're going to need the sentence that you found this in, and that would help quite a bit.
     

    rosspiano

    New Member
    Italian
    Thank you :)) But as far as I've been told, however, controsensibile is not the subdominant.
    Speaking is C for example:
    Dominant is the 5th G
    subdom is the 4th F
    sensibile is the 7th (1/2 tone below the "next" tonica (root) C, of the upper octave) nat B controsensibile should be 1/2 tone away (upward) from the tonica C: (Db)
    But never mind, I'll leave it in Italian, as most of the words relating to harmony and I'll explain what note it is. Thank you so much! Best,
    ross
     

    arazzo

    Member
    UK
    English
    Ciao rosspiano

    Db would be called the flattened second in the key of C Major.

    We don't use Italian terms for the degrees of the scale..

    Hope that helps.
     

    Tonza

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Hi, I don't think you should leave it in Italian, we can express it in English too! I agree with arazzo, but I would suggest "flatted second" or "lowered second" because to me "flattened second" sounds a bit like it got hit by a truck! :eek: The second degree of the scale is the supertonic but I think you need to use one of these other terms to specify that it has been lowered a half step. I don't know your exact context but if you are referring not just to the lowered 2nd degree itself but to the major chord built on it, it is called a Neapolitan chord (or Neapolitan sixth, in its most common inversion).
     

    elfa

    Senior Member
    English
    Hi Ross,

    Is the term you are looking for "semitone" by any chance?

    In English, we say D flat is a semitone up from C. And B is a semitone down from it.
     
    Last edited:

    elfa

    Senior Member
    English
    One more thing, you might want to incorporate the word "interval". So..."semitone interval" or "interval of a lowered second".

    "Lowered second" can't exist in isolation - it has to be related to a key (e.g. C) or tonic (first degree of the scale - e.g. C).

    Ciao
     

    Tonza

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    One more thing, you might want to incorporate the word "interval". So..."semitone interval" or "interval of a lowered second".

    "Lowered second" can't exist in isolation - it has to be related to a key (e.g. C) or tonic (first degree of the scale - e.g. C).

    Ciao

    Good point, I didn't think about that because ross's examples were all linked to C. From what I understand, controsensibile is, by definition, a semitone above a given tonic. I think it's much more specific than just saying "semitone" or similar terms, which apply to the interval itself without relation to key or tonic. I think if we translate it as "lowered second degree" it will take care of the problem because "degree" will automatically link it to the particular scale or key being discussed.
     

    elfa

    Senior Member
    English
    Tonza, I would still use "interval" in preference to "degree". "Degree" implies a relationship to a tonic (key) whereas "interval" is non-specific. Just my opinion :)
     

    Tonza

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "Degree" implies a relationship to a tonic (key) whereas "interval" is non-specific. Just my opinion :)

    That's exactly why I suggest "degree", because "interval" is too broad for the term required. Unfortunately we don't have a fixed equivalent in English (we have "leading tone" but not its opposite, "controsensibile") so we're all kind of feeling around for the best solution. But in his first post, ross explained that the controsensibile is a half step up from the tonic of a particular key, not a half step up from any note in general.
     

    rosspiano

    New Member
    Italian
    so, you'd suggest me always to add the word "degree", ex . "fifth degree" etc, rather than just writing for ex. "the bass plays the fifth... the minor seventh... "? (although it's clear what it refers to, because I've written the relevant chord name, before). thanks!
     

    Tonza

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    As long as you are already on the subject of a key or chord, it's perfectly fine (even preferable) just to say "the fifth", "the minor seventh", etc. It would only be if you used a term like "controsensibile" in isolation that you would need to specify "degree" in English so that the note's relation to the root is understood. Whew, this was a tough one! :)
     

    arazzo

    Member
    UK
    English
    I agree with arazzo, but I would suggest "flatted second" or "lowered second" because to me "flattened second" sounds a bit like it got hit by a truck! :eek:

    Thank you, Tonza and sorry to return so late to this thread but, just for the record: flattened second is absolutely correct, standard terminology.
    You can check any reputable theory lexicon if you don't want to take my word for it. :)

    Cheers
    arazzo
     

    Tonza

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Thank you, Tonza and sorry to return so late to this thread but, just for the record: flattened second is absolutely correct, standard terminology.
    You can check any reputable theory lexicon if you don't want to take my word for it. :)

    Cheers
    arazzo

    Hi arazzo, I agree that it's correct, no need to take or not take your word for it! I just prefer the sound of the other options. Maybe it's an AE/BE difference; in my experience "flattened" does sound strange, but I absolutely was not disputing its accuracy! :)
     
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