3.12 The leading tone in the minor scale


Category: Harmony | Tags: Scales


In Chapter 2.13 Scales: tonic, dominant tone and leading tone you’ve learned that the seventh tone of a scale is called the leading tone and is a half step below the tonic. In this chapter you will learn about the leading tone in a minor scale. In the videos and examples I show how to make a leading tone in a minor scale.

How to obtain a leading tone in a minor scale?

The minor scale has something special, as there are also two variants. That these variants exist is because of the seventh tone. Remember that in a major scale the seventh tone is called the leading tone? That the distance between the seventh and first tone is a half step? That therefore the leading tone wants to dissolve to the tonic? And do you remember that in a minor scale this distance is a whole step? Because of this, the minor scale has no leading tone. And there is a need for a leading tone that can resolve to the tonic.

What can you do? The solution is, in the minor scale, to artificially raise the seventh note by a half step. In other words, just place a sharp before the seventh note. Then, the distance between the seventh tone and the tonic is a half step. And now the seventh tone can resolve to the tonic. We have created a leading tone.

We did change the scale. This variant, in which the seventh tone is raised, is called the harmonic minor scale. In Chapter 3.13 The harmonic and melodic minor scale you will learn more about the harmonic minor scale and also about the second variant.



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