related topics
{album, band, music}
{language, word, form}
{film, series, show}
{theory, work, human}
{math, energy, light}
{specie, animal, plant}
{math, number, function}
{mi², represent, 1st}

In music theory, a leading-note (also subsemitone, and called the leading-tone in the US) is a note or pitch which resolves or "leads" to a note one semitone higher or lower, being a lower and upper leading-tone, respectively.

Generally, the leading tone is the seventh scale degree of the diatonic scale, with a strong affinity for and leading melodically to the tonic (Benward & Saker 2003, 203). For example, in the C major scale (white keys on a piano, starting on C), the leading note is the note B; and the leading note chord uses the notes B, D, and F: a diminished triad. In music theory, the leading note triad is symbolized by the Roman numeral vii°. By contrast, an upper leading-tone, which leads down, may be found as the seventh of the dominant seventh chord, which leads to the third of the tonic chord (in C: F of a G7 chord lead to E of a CM chord).

According to Ernst Kurth (1913) the major and minor thirds contain "latent" tendencies towards the perfect fourth and whole-tone, respectively, and thus establish tonality. However, Carl Dahlhaus (1990) shows that this drive is in fact created through or with harmonic function, a root progression in another voice by a whole-tone or fifth, or melodically (monophonically) by the context of the scale. For example, the leading note of alternating C chord and F minor chords is either the note E leading to F, if F is tonic, or A♭ leading to G, if C is tonic. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the leading-note is created by the progression from imperfect to perfect consonances, such as a major third to a perfect fifth or minor third to a unison. The same pitch outside of the imperfect consonance is not a leading note.

As a diatonic function the leading-note is the seventh scale degree of any diatonic scale when the distance between it and the tonic is a single semitone. In diatonic scales where there is a whole tone between the seventh scale degree and the tonic, such as the Mixolydian mode, the seventh degree is called instead, the subtonic.

The leading-tone seventh chords are viiø7 and viio7(Benward & Saker 2003, 219).

Full article ▸

related documents
Garage Inc.
Carl Crack
Bill Stevenson (musician)
David Mansfield
Phil Madeira
Concerto per Theremin. Live in Italy
Mercury Rev
Mars (band)
Will Jennings
Slip It In
Paul Dukas
Shocking Blue
Analog Brothers
David Tudor
Rene Farrait
Bass (music)
Firehose (band)
Make Yourself
Free Your Mind...And Your Ass Will Follow
List of musical instruments
Saverio Mercadante
Bill Johnson (jazz musician)
Lionel Tertis
Chino Moreno
The World Needs a Hero
The Abduction of Figaro
Abe Cunningham
The Plimsouls