# Marking scale degrees

I am marking down the scale degrees for this exercise. I think the tonic in this piece is D as it feels like a resolution. To find the first scale degree in the exercise I counted up from D until I got to A, which was five steps. So This is the fifth scale degree, which is correct. Then I did the same for the other degree and got to two (as E is right above D). The answer, however, is apparently 7. Where did I go wrong? Does this mean that the tonic is actually F? Because that doesn't sound right to me.

• The writers may have made a mistake, unless there was some kind of modulation which doesn't really give any indication of. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 12:42
• Why do you think the apparent answer is: E natural is 7? Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 12:53
• That E is definitely 2, not and 7. Is it possible the notated score is wrong? (Although having a C-sharp there seems very odd to me.) Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 13:27
• @Tim I mean in context; it results in a tritone leap down to G, and that C# never really resolves back up to tonic. The C# itself certainly isn't odd in D major! Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 15:35
• @Tim, I didn't say that was the key change. It was an open ended comment meant to encourage more from the OP.
– user50691
Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 15:43

With 2 sharps and an anacrucis of A, yes, it's in D major. That A is 5th, and the E note will be 2 (or possibly 9), there's no way it could be 7. Had the dot been on the space below, making it C♯, then, yes, it would be 7.

With the F♯ in the key sig. the tonic would never be F anyway.

• Of course, E is also the (unraised) seventh degree of the F# minor scale, not that there's anything to suggest F# minor here. Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 16:11

This confusion can be explained - to me - only like this:

A bar 1 is the 5th of the tonic DF#A, correct answer D = I (-> I not 5)

E bar 2 is the the 3rd of the chord C#EG (7th degree of major D), correct answer: C# = vii dim5 (-> vii not 2).

• I might go with the 2nd bar harmonising as a V, therefore A dominant 7, so containing an E note, but that doesn't make the note itself 7. The question in the quiz or the answer itself is flawed. That's all. I know typos can (and do!) occur, but in test situations really do need to have been ironed out. Unforgivable.
– Tim
Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 18:17
• I have upvoted your answer, Tim, as I agree with this interpretation. But I was looking for an alternativ explanation, and this would be that degree is not referring to the notes A and E but the chords AC# E and C#EG (A and C#m-5). But in this case the solution must be I-vii (-5) and this should be written in R.N. (and A=5 would be wrong.) Commented Oct 17, 2019 at 19:04