Subminor interval

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Subminor minor third on G About this sound Play .
Origin of large and small seconds and thirds in harmonic series.[1]

In music, a subminor interval is an interval that is noticeably wider than a diminished interval but noticeably narrower than a minor interval. It is found in between a minor and diminished interval, thus making it below, or subminor to, the minor interval.


Thus, a subminor second is intermediate between a minor second and a diminished second (enharmonic to unison). An example of such an interval is the ratio 26:25, or 67.90 cents. Another example is the ratio 28:27, or 62.96 cents.


A subminor third is in between a minor third and a diminished third. An example of such an interval is the ratio 7:6 About this sound Play , or 266.87 cents,[2][3] the septimal minor third, the inverse of the supermajor sixth. Another example is the ratio 13:11, or 289.21 cents.


Main article: Subminor sixth


A subminor seventh is an interval between a minor seventh and a diminished seventh. An example of such an interval is the 7:4 ratio, the harmonic seventh.


Composer Lou Harrison was fascinated with the 7:6 subminor third and 8:7 supermajor second, using them in pieces such as Concerto for Piano with Javanese Gamelan, Cinna for tack-piano, and Strict Songs (for voices and orchestra).[4] Together the two produce the 4:3 perfect fourth (a supermajor second above a subminor third is the perfect fourth).[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leta E. Miller, ed. (1988). Lou Harrison: Selected keyboard and chamber music, 1937-1994, p.xliii. ISBN 978-0-89579-414-7.
  2. ^ Von Helmholtz, Hermann L. F (2007). On the Sensations of Tone, p.195&212. ISBN 978-1-60206-639-7.
  3. ^ Miller (1988), p.xlii.
  4. ^ Leta E. Miller, Fredric Lieberman (2006). Lou Harrison: American Composers, p.72. ISBN 978-0-252-03120-5.
  5. ^ Miller & Lieberman (2006), p.74. "The subminor third and supermajor second combine to create a pure fourth (87 x 76 = 43)."