Music theory > Pitch of sounds > Scales > Leading tone

Leading tone


united states of america Leading tone
united kingdom Leading note

Definition of the Leading Tone united states of america (Leading note united kingdom)

The leading tone united states of america (leading note united kingdom) (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 united states of america (semitone united kingdom) between the seventh degree (VII) and the tonic (I), the seventh degree is called a subtonic.

The leading tone united states of america (leading note united kingdom) is a seventh major upper the tonic or a half step united states of america (semitone united kingdom) below the tonic.

Example of leading tones united states of america (leading notes united kingdom)

Below are some examples of leading tones (leading notes united kingdom), and there is always a half step united states of america (semitone united kingdom) 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 C major scale

Leading tone in B♭ major scale:
Leading tone in B flat major scale

Leading tone in A minor harmonic scale:
Leading tone in A minor harmonic scale

Example of subtonics

Below are some examples of subtonics, and there is not a half step united states of america (semitone united kingdom) between the degree VII and the next degree I.


Subtonic in C minor natural scale:
subtonic in C minor natural scale

Subtonic in A 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:

Resolving leading tones


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