A subtonic is the seventh scale degree of the natural minor mode. While this note would usually be called a leading tone in major, the lowered version of the seventh scale degree does not show the same upwards tendency because of it's whole tone displacement from the tonic compared to the raised seventh scale degree (as in a melodic or harmonic minor mode) which is a semitone away from the tonic.

Sub*ton"ic (?), a. Phonetics

Applied to, or distinguishing, a speech element consisting of tone, or proper vocal sound, not pure as in the vowels, but dimmed and otherwise modified by some kind of obstruction in the oral or the nasal passage, and in some cases with a mixture of breath sound; -- a term introduced by Dr. James Rush in 1833. See Guide to Pronunciation, §§155, 199-202.


© Webster 1913.

Sub*ton"ic, n.

1. Phonetics

A subtonic sound or element; a vocal consonant, as b, d, g, n, etc.; a subvocal.

2. Mus.

The seventh tone of the scale, or that immediately below the tonic; -- called also subsemitone.


© Webster 1913.

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