Scale Degree Names - Natural Minor Edition / Music Theory Lesson

Author: sleepfreaks

Before Making a Chord Progression Using Natural Minor Diatonic Chords

This time, we will be taking a look at using “natural minor” diatonic chords to create a chord progression with a sense of story.

We will also be focusing on what was mentioned in our 46th article of the natural minor

  • Not having a “leading tone” note that leads to the Tonic a half-step above it
  • am_scale

  • Not having a “leading tone” and not having a tritone in the 5th diatonic chord (because it’s a m7 chord)/li>

In addition, we will be taking a look at the difference between the scale degree names when compared to the major scale from our 27th article.

The Purpose of each Scale Degree Name in a Natural Minor Scale

Here, lets take a look at the note “C” in each key.

In the C natural minor scale, it is the note on the furthest left.


In the G natural minor scale, it is the 4th note.


As seen with the major scale, the key here is that even the same note has a different purpose in a different minor key.

Lets use the C natural minor scale as an example to take a look at these purposes.
The main difference with the major scale is the last note.


  • You may find these written without a b (III,VI,VII), minor written in lower case (i.e. ⅲ), etc.
  • ︎The roman numerals below (I~VII) simply indicate it’s number from the left, so we have left out the “b”. (the VII will be different, but like the major scale, the natural minor’s bIII is also the Mediant, the major VI and minor bVI are both Submediant, etc)
  • 「I」 Tonic = First degree
  • The first note of the scale, and in solfege (movable do) in a major key it is the note do.
    In most music, there will be a sense of wanting to return to this note found in the progression.
    It is considered the most stable note in a scale.

  • 「II」 Supertonic = Second degree
  • The word Super implies that is it the note above the Tonic.

  • 「III」 Mediant = Third degree
  • This name comes from this notes placement between the middle of the Tonic and Dominant.

  • 「IV」 Subdominant = Fourth degree
  • This note is a P5th below the Tonic, or a P4th above it.

  • 「V」 Dominant = Fifth degree
  • The note that is a P5th above the Tonic, or a P4th below it.
    Similar to the Leading Tone, it has an important placement when in contrast with the Tonic.

  • 「VI」 Submediant = Sixth degree
  • This names comes from this notes placement between the Tonic and the Subdominant.

  • 「VII」 Subtonic ⭐︎
    ❇︎The “natural” scale degree component of the “natural” minor scale.
  • It is found a whole step (M2nd) below the tonic, and has a weaker movement to the Tonic than a Leading Tone.

In our next article, we will continue to look at the minor scale, as well as some of the differences between other types of minor scales as well.

Article Writer: Kazuma Itoh

講師 伊藤
After moving to the USA at 18 years of age with a scholarship from Berklee, he completed a 4 year study focused on song writing and arranging there.
Using this knowledge, he works across a variety of fields from pop music, film music, and more.