Leading-tone seventh chord

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Leading-tone seventh chord in C major: viiø7 About this sound Play .
Leading-tone seventh chord in C minor: viio7 About this sound Play .
Leading-tone seventh chord resolution in C major: viiø7-I About this sound Play .
Diminished seventh chord resolution: both diminished fifths tend to resolve inward, doubling the third of the tonic chord About this sound Play .

In music theory, the leading-tone seventh chords are viiø7 and viio7,[1] the half-diminished and diminished seventh chords on the seventh scale degree, or leading-tone, in major and harmonic minor, resolving to the tonic. Leading-tone triads and seventh chords are frequently substituted for dominant chords, with which they have three common tones, for variety.[2]

The leading-tone seventh chord is half diminished in C major (B-D-F-A) and fully diminished in C minor (B-D-F-A). However, composers throughout the Common practice period often employed modal mixture when using the leading-tone seventh chord in a major key, allowing for the substitution of the half-diminished seventh chord for the fully diminished seventh chord. This mixture is commonly used when the leading-tone seventh chord is functioning as a secondary leading-tone chord. The leading-tone seventh chord contrasts with the subtonic seventh chord in that the subtonic has a flatted seventh (chord root): in C minor, B-D-F-A.

Fétis tunes the leading-tone seventh in major 5:6:7:9.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.219. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
  2. ^ Benward & Saker (2003), p.217.
  3. ^ Fétis, François-Joseph and Arlin, Mary I. (1994). Esquisse de l'histoire de l'harmonie, p.139n9. ISBN 978-0-945193-51-7.