In music, the supertonic is the second degree (scale degree 2) of a diatonic scale, one step above the tonic.[1] In the movable do solfège system, the supertonic note is sung as re.

Musical scores are temporarily disabled.
Musical scores are temporarily disabled.
The scale and supertonic triad in C major (top) and C minor (bottom).

The triad built on the supertonic note is called the supertonic chord. In Roman numeral analysis, the supertonic chord is typically symbolized by the Roman numeral "ii" in a major key, indicating that the chord is a minor chord (in C: D-F-A). In a minor key, it is indicated by "iio" if it is built on the a natural minor scale, indicating that the chord is a diminished chord (in C: D-F-A). Because it is a diminished chord, it usually appears in first inversion (iio6) so that no note dissonates with the bass note.

These chords may also appear as seventh chords: in major, as ii7 (in C: D-F-A-C), while in minor as iiø7 (in C: D-F-A-C) or rarely ii7. They are the second-most-common form of nondominant seventh chords.[2]

\override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f
\relative c' {
   \clef treble 
   \time 4/4
   \key c \major
   <d f a c>1_\markup { \concat { "ii" \raise #1 \small "7" } } \bar "||"

   \clef treble 
   \time 4/4
   \key c \minor
   <d f aes c>1_\markup { \concat { "ii" \raise #1 \small "ø7" } }
   <d f a c>^\markup { "rare" }_\markup { \concat { "ii" \raise #1 \small "7" } } \bar "||"
} }

About this soundPlay ii7 (first and third chords)  and About this soundPlay iiø 7 (second chord) 

Supertonic (ii) in ii-V-I progression on C, found at the end of the circle progression About this soundPlay 

The supertonic chord normally functions as a predominant chord, a chord that naturally resolves to chord with dominant function. The supertonic chord lies a fifth above the V chord. Descending fifths are a strong basis for harmonic motion (see circle of fifths). The supertonic is one of the strongest predominants and approaches the V chord from above by descending fifth.

In C Major: A Neapolitan sixth chord in first inversion contains an interval of a sixth between F and D (About this soundPlay ).
Common-tone diminished seventh chord resolving to I 6 About this soundPlay .

In major or minor, the major chord built on the lowered supertonic (scale degree 2) is called a Neapolitan chord (in C: D-F-A), notated as N6 or II6, usually used in first inversion. The supertonic may be raised as part of the common-tone diminished seventh chord, iio7 (in C: D-F-A-C). One variant of the supertonic seventh chord is the supertonic diminished seventh[3] with the raised supertonic, which equals the lowered third through enharmonic equivalence (in C: D=E).

The term supertonic may also refer to a relationship of musical keys. For example, relative to the key of C major, the key of D major (or D minor) is the supertonic.

In Riemannian theory, the supertonic is considered the subdominant parallel: Sp/T in major though sP/T in minor (AM).


  1. ^ Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.32. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0. "One step above the tonic."
  2. ^ Kostka, Stefan; Payne, Dorothy (2004). Tonal Harmony (5th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill. p. 216. ISBN 0072852607. OCLC 51613969.
  3. ^ Kitson, C. H. (2006). Elementary Harmony, p.43. ISBN 1-4067-9372-8.