For the lowered seventh degree, see subtonic.
Seventh scale degree, or leading-tone, leading to the first scale degree, or tonic, in C major .
Tonic and leading tone chords in C  . C major and B diminished (b°) chords.
Dominant seventh and incomplete dominant seventh in C major: G7 and b° chords  .
Tritone resolution inward and outwards . Both notes resolve by half step.
Tritone substitution, ii-subV-I on C, creates an upper leading-note (D, which leads down to C)
 Leading tone in V-I progression Leading tone repeats four times over dominant (V) chord which then moves to the tonic (I) as the leading tone resolves upwards to the tonic Problems playing this file? See media help.
Cadence featuring an upper leading tone from a well known 16th-century lamentation, the debate over which was documented in Rome c.1540 (Berger 1987, 148).
Seventh chord resolution from Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" (Benward & Saker 2003, 203)  . Note that the seventh resolves down by half step.

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.

## Tonality

According to Ernst Kurth (1913, 119–736) the major and minor thirds contain "latent" tendencies towards the perfect fourth and whole-tone, respectively, and thus establish tonality. However, Carl Dahlhaus (1990, 44–47) contests Kurth's position, holding 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 works from the 14th- and 15th-century Western tradition, 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.

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

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.

## Chord

Leading-tone seventh chord in C major: viiø7  .
Leading-tone seventh chord in C minor: viio7  .
Leading-tone chord in C major  .

In music theory, a leading-tone chord is a triad built on the seventh scale-degree in major and the raised seventh-scale-degree in minor (the leading-tone). The quality of the leading-tone triad is diminished in both major and minor keys.

On the other hand, the leading-tone seventh chord does appear in root position. For this reason, outside of the two uses listed below, a leading-tone triad is less common than a leading-tone seventh chord.

### Uses

The leading-tone triad is used in several functions. Commonly, it is used as a passing chord between a root position tonic triad and a first inversion tonic triad (Aldwell, Schachter, and Cadwallader 2010, 138).[need quotation to verify] The leading-tone triad prolongs tonic through neighbor and passing motion in this instance.

The leading-tone triad may also be regarded as an incomplete dominant seventh chord: "A chord is called 'incomplete' when its root is omitted. This omission occurs, occasionally, in the chord of the dom.-seventh, and the result is a triad upon the leading-tone" (Goetschius 1917, 72, §162–63, 165). Since it contains three common tones with a dominant seventh chord, it easily can replace and function as a dominant. When used at a cadence point, it creates an imperfect authentic cadence since there is no root motion from scale-degree 5 to scale-degree 1 in the bass. This type of cadence was used commonly in the Renaissance era but increasingly grew out of fashion as the common practice period progressed.