Which composer(s) introduced as the first time mediant chords and mediant keys in their compositions - or in which period the use of this kind of modulation was coming up?

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    Bach, Handel. you had it probably from the very beginning. the baroque masters did much more adventurous things with harmony than a parallel key.
    – Neil Meyer
    Feb 11, 2019 at 10:51
  • really? I couldn't name a piece of them without looking up in my sheets .. could you tell a piece? If it has been them we could find it surely by vivaldi too. Feb 11, 2019 at 11:08
  • and this question would probably already have been answered here. But: Stupid! I have mixed up the terms again: in German we have the same expression for parallel keys: the scales of C and am for example and the other week I've learnt that " Varianten" are relative keys in English. Well, I didn't mean to ask about relative keys (as this I could name as example already the prelude in C of Bach in the second part where it turns to the IV7 and (vii°7) to c minor! I meant to ask about the mediants which are named the same in both languages. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediant. Feb 11, 2019 at 12:15
  • Sorry, I didn't mean to fool you, my question was meant about the first use of mediant scales and chords in music ... Thus I have edited my question. Feb 11, 2019 at 12:18
  • I would add that the use of the flat submediant as a secondary key area (replacing the dominant) became common in the early Romantic era, i.e. Schubert & later. Other, less structural, uses of submediant harmony (e.g. as chords) predates the invention of the term.
    – John Wu
    Feb 13, 2019 at 2:01

1 Answer 1


If you mean chromatic mediants, I think the 'famous' textbook example is Moro, lasso, al mio duolo by Gesualdo, Carlo from the Renaissance.

  • :Great example! I will have to analyze this composition:youtube.com/watch?v=6dVPu71D8VI How about that famous "textbook"? Do you mean a special work book? Feb 11, 2019 at 17:13
  • I wasn't thinking of a particular textbook, but I think I have it in Anthology for Musical Analysis, Burkhart. I've seen it in other music history and appreciation sources. Usually the discussion notes the chromaticism being unusual for the time period and expressive of the composer's emotional pain. Feb 11, 2019 at 22:22

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