Are you interested in delving deeper into music theory? If so, you might have come across a term called “submediant”. In this article, we’ll explore what exactly is the submediant in music theory.

Defining Submediant

In Western classical music theory, the submediant is the sixth degree of the diatonic scale. It is also known as the mediant of the mediant, as it sits halfway between the tonic and the subdominant.

In Major Keys

In a major key, the submediant is a minor sixth interval above the tonic. For example, in C major, A is the submediant note since it’s six notes above C. The chord built on this note is also called a submediant chord and is typically a minor chord.

In Minor Keys

In a minor key, however, things get a bit more complicated. The submediant can either be raised or lowered depending on whether you are using harmonic or melodic minor scales.

Usage of Submediants

Submediants are often used to create tension and release in music composition. They are particularly effective when used alongside dominant chords – which are built on fifth degrees of diatonic scales.

For example, in the key of C major, the dominant chord is G while the submediant chord is A minor. By playing these chords in sequence, you create a sense of tension and resolution. This tension is created because the dominant chord strongly pulls towards the tonic note – which is C in this case.


In conclusion, understanding music theory concepts such as submediants can help you better appreciate and analyze music compositions. The submediant note and chord are essential tools for creating musical tension and release. With practice, you can start incorporating them into your own compositions to make more engaging music!