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Pedal points are usually over scale degree 1 or 5, the former to seal the tonic in the listener's mind, and the latter to generate more tension than most other techniques in music.

It seems that there are other degrees that would work to generate tension, perhaps even more effectively than 5. Namely, scale degree 7(raised 7 in minor) would clash with virtually any chord(the objective of a pedal point) and would create said tension as it refuses to resolve to scale degree 1.

Are pedal points on scale degrees that are not 1 or 5, namely scale degree 7, still effective?

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  • Possibly a duplicate- music.stackexchange.com/questions/111218/… Though I think that you're not just looking for a "yes" answer but rather some insight into how such a pedal point might appear in music.
    – Edward
    Commented Mar 18, 2023 at 23:47
  • You may find Wikipedia's Pedal point article of value.
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 18, 2023 at 23:48
  • youtu.be/tR32h5jhPtU?t=349 Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 0:02
  • Which pedal points have you tried? What effect did they have ?
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 7:10
  • I feel like IV or vi are used often enough, often to create an “unsettling“ or foreboding sense under a major melody Commented Mar 19, 2023 at 13:38

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Pedals other than tonic and dominant are not much used (in Common Practice styles at any rate) so I guess we can infer a general opinion that they're not so 'effective'.

You could use a non-diatonic pedal to create a discombobulating effect. 'Harmony' or just an 'Effect'? 'Composition' and 'Sound design' often overlap these days!

You might want to re-examine your opening statement: "Pedal points are usually over scale degree 1 or 5, the former to seal the tonic in the listener's mind, and the latter to generate more tension than most other techniques in music." Do you agree that a dominant pedal is the strongest tool we have available for creating tension?

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  • Note the keyword "most". I was referring to the fact that the dominant pedal point is effective to build tension, and that it was a prominent tool to do exactly that near the end of a composition. It was more of a logical conclusion considering it's ubiquity in western musical styles.
    – OprenStein
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 1:00

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