Definition of the Leading Tone (Leading note )
The leading tone (leading note ) (also called subsemitone) refers to the seventh scale degree (VII) only when the distance between it and the next tonic is a single semitone.
If there is more than a half step (semitone ) between the seventh degree (VII) and the tonic (I), the seventh degree is called a subtonic.
The leading tone (leading note ) is a seventh major upper the tonic or a half step (semitone ) below the tonic.
Example of leading tones (leading notes )
Below are some examples of leading tones (leading notes ), and there is always a half step (semitone ) between the degree VII and the next degree I.
You can find the leading tone in Major scales or in minor harmonic scales.
Leading tone in C major scale:
Leading tone in B♭ major scale:
Leading tone in A minor harmonic scale:
Example of subtonics
Below are some examples of subtonics, and there is not a half step (semitone ) between the degree VII and the next degree I.
Subtonic in C minor natural scale:
Subtonic in A minor natural scale:
Resolving leading tone
In tonal music, most of the time, the leading tone resolves to the tonic. Below is an example: