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[suhb-dom-uh-nuh nt] /sʌbˈdɒm ə nənt/
Music. the fourth tone of a diatonic scale, next below the dominant.
less than or not quite dominant.
Origin of subdominant
First recorded in 1785-95; sub- + dominant Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for subdominant
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There were no fourths; the dominant and the subdominant were absent.

    A Bed of Roses W. L. George
  • At that point the suggested supporting harmony is an augmented triad upon the tonic leading into the subdominant.

    The Tinguian Fay-Cooper Cole
  • The main theme at its third appearance is in the subdominant key, with effective rhythmic modifications.

    Music: An Art and a Language Walter Raymond Spalding
  • The genus Mele affords an instance of a subdominant group of the first description.

  • We may take Scolia for an example of a subdominant group beginning more southward.

  • The third movement consists of a fine Adagio in E flat, in the key of the subdominant and in three-four time.

    The Pianoforte Sonata J.S. Shedlock
  • At the seventh bar there is modulation to the dominant, and at the ninth, to the subdominant, in which the opening theme recurs.

    The Pianoforte Sonata J.S. Shedlock
  • The next sonata, No. 10 , has three movements, all in the same key; the Trio of the Minuet is in the key of the subdominant.

    The Pianoforte Sonata J.S. Shedlock
  • When the principal theme returns, it is clothed first with subdominant, then with tonic minor harmony.

    The Pianoforte Sonata J.S. Shedlock
British Dictionary definitions for subdominant


the fourth degree of a major or minor scale
a key or chord based on this
of or relating to the subdominant
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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