In music, the mediant (Latin: to be in the middle) is the third scale degree of the diatonic scale, being the note halfway between the tonic and the dominant. Similarly, the submediant is halfway between the tonic and subdominant. The fifth note is almost always a perfect fifth, while the third note can equally be a minor or major third.
In Roman numeral analysis, the mediant chord can take several forms. In major scales, the mediant chord is minor and is noted with the Roman numeral iii. In a natural minor scale, the mediant occurs as a major chord, noted with the Roman numeral III. In harmonic minor scales and ascending melodic minor scales, the seventh scale degree is raised by a half-step from a subtonic to a leading tone, creating an augmented mediant chord, noted with the Roman numeral (♭)III+.
For example, in the C major scale (white keys on a piano, starting on C), the mediant is the note E; and the mediant chord is E-minor consisting of the notes E, G, and B. Therefore, Em is the iii chord in the C major scale. Also, in the A natural minor scale (same white keys, but now starting on A), the mediant is the note C; and the mediant chord is C (or C-major) consisting of the notes C, E, and G. Therefore, C is the III chord in the A (natural) minor scale. However, if the harmonic minor scale is used, G would be raised to G♯, changing the C chord to Caug, consisting of the notes C, E, and G♯. Therefore, Caug is the III+ chord in the A harmonic minor scale.
"Mediant" also refers to a relationship of musical keys. For example, relative to the key of A (natural) minor, the key of C major is the mediant, and often serves as a mid-way point between I and V (hence the name). Tonicization or modulation to the mediant is quite common in pieces written in the minor mode, and usually serves as the second theme group in sonata forms, since it is very easy to tonicize III in minor (no need to alternate notes). Tonicization of III in major is quite rare in classical harmony, compared with, say, modulation to the V in major, but mediant tonicization in major is an important feature of late romantic music.
- ^ Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.230. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
- ^ MacDowell, Edward A. (2008 edition). The Music-Lover's Handbook, p.167. ISBN 1-4437-8087-1.
- ^ "Mediant", Merriam-Webster.com.
- ^ Benward & Saker (2003), p.32.
- ^ Benward & Saker (2003), p.33.
Degrees and functions of the diatonic scale
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Mediant — Me di*ant, n. [L. medians, p. p. of mediare to halve: cf. It. mediante, F. m[ e]diante.] (Mus.) The third above the keynote; so called because it divides the interval between the tonic and dominant into two thirds. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
mediant — англ. [ми/диэнт] mediante ит., нем. [мэдиа/нтэ] médiante фр. [мэдиа/нт] верхняя медианта (III ступ.) … Словарь иностранных музыкальных терминов
mediant — (n.) third note of the diatonic scale, 1753, from It. mediante, from L.L. mediantem (nom. medians) dividing in the middle, prp. of mediare to be in the middle (see MEDIAL (Cf. medial) (adj.)). So called from being midway between the tonic and the … Etymology dictionary
mediant — [mē′dē ənt] n. [It mediante < LL medians, prp. of mediare: see MEDIATE] the third degree of a major or minor scale … English World dictionary
mediant — noun Etymology: Italian mediante, from Late Latin mediant , medians, present participle of mediare to be in the middle Date: 1822 the third tone of a major or minor scale … New Collegiate Dictionary
mediant — /mee dee euhnt/, n. the third degree of a major or minor musical scale. [1720 30; < It mediante < LL mediant (s. of medians), prp. of mediare to be in the middle. See MEDIUM, ANT] * * * … Universalium
mediant — me•di•ant [[t]ˈmi di ənt[/t]] n. mad the third tone of an ascending diatonic scale • Etymology: 1720–30; < It mediante < LL mediant (s. of mediāns) … From formal English to slang
mediant — noun /ˈmidiənt/ The third degree of the diatonic scale … Wiktionary
mediant — me|di|ant Mot Agut Nom femení … Diccionari Català-Català
mediant — meÂ·diÂ·ant || miËdÉªÉ™nt n. third note in a musical scale … English contemporary dictionary