The sixth scale degree of a diatonic scale

In music theory, the "submediant" refers to the sixth scale degree of a diatonic scale, often represented by the Roman numeral "VI" when analyzing harmonic progressions. The submediant note is a significant element in music, contributing to the overall harmonic and melodic character of a composition. For example:

  • In the key of C major, the submediant note is A.
  • In the key of G major, the submediant note is E.

The submediant note can be used to create harmonic variety and emotional depth in music. It often appears in chord progressions, melodies, and harmonizations. The chord built on the submediant note is typically referred to as the "vi" chord.

  • In C major, the vi chord is A minor (A, C, E).
  • In G major, the vi chord is E minor (E, G, B).

The submediant chord (vi) is often used to transition between other chords in a progression. It can provide a sense of contrast and can help create a musical journey by offering moments of tension and release.

Melodically, the submediant note is used in melodies to add color, expressiveness, and variety. It can be a point of departure or arrival, contributing to the overall character of a musical phrase.

Example of Submediant

Lesson 21: Scale Degrees. What are they?