leading tone


Definition of leading tone

: the seventh tone of a major or minor scale

called also leading note

Examples of leading tone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Without getting too technical, the mixolydian is a type of major scale in which the leading tone—used relentlessly in pop music to build tension and yearning—is replaced by a flat seven. Andrew R. Chow, Time, 23 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'leading tone.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of leading tone

circa 1889, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About leading tone

Time Traveler for leading tone

Time Traveler

The first known use of leading tone was circa 1889

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near leading tone

leading strings

leading tone

leading-tone seventh

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for leading tone

Cite this Entry

“Leading tone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leading%20tone. Accessed 7 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!