Sometimes you start with a dominant.
Because the dominant – unless you are Poulenc, and let’s face it, none of us are – makes you do things, much in the subliminal-messages-on-my-ACDC-album-played-backwards, or the Doctor-Freud-would-be-so-proud kind of way. Don’t tell the PMRC, if there still is such a thing.
Maybe it’s the voice leading, or its cultural adaptations or both (or neither), but, when used, a well-executed dominant can make you go into uncharted waters before you realize that you aren’t in a safe harbor anymore. It doesn’t always bring you home; sometimes it dumps you on the doorstep of a new home. Sometimes it pivots in an unsuspecting way to a completely new and foreign tonal language.
And you can’t return to the dominant to find your way back from whence you came because, beside that being incredibly boring, disingenuous, unadventurous, and simply in bad taste, you don’t usually have the time or the skills to do such a thing. And, anyway, everyone would know what you were up to, and that just sucks.
But, the unspoken lesson of the dominant is complete, expansive and unrelenting freedom. The dominant has the audacity and skill to make everyone and everything look sexy, simply by proximity. It’s a little bit cheeky, and rightly so, but everyone secretly wants to be that cool, if vicariously, and however terrifying it may seem.
So move in, and then find a squirmy way to nest like this: