In the previous lessons, we checked out different types of major chords, minor chords, and dominant chords. Here you will learn Diminished chords and how to build 3 different types of diminished chords – Diminished, Diminished 7th and Half Diminished Chords on Guitar.
The scale for explaining diminished chords also remains the same, yes, the good ole C Major Scale!
A Diminished chord is quite similar to a Minor Triad (1-b3-5) but differs with a flattened 5th degree or also, it can be seen as a Major Triad with flattened 3rd and 5th degrees.
The formula for building a Diminished Chord is 1-b3-b5.
By applying this formula on the C Major Scale, we can derive a C Diminished Chord notes as C-Eb-Gb
A Diminished Chord can be denoted as Cdim or C Diminished.
Full Diminished or Diminished Seventh Chord
Adding a double flattened 7th degree from the major scale to the Diminished Chord Triad yields a Diminished 7th Chord or a Fully Diminished 7th Chord.
Note: Double flattening just means that you lower a note by 2 semitones (2 frets) or a whole tone.
The formula for building a Diminished Seventh chord is 1-b3-b5-bb7
Applying this formula on the C Major Scale gives us a C Diminished 7th Chord as C-Eb-Gb-A
(Lowering the B note twice or a whole tone gives us the A note).
C diminished 7th chord can be represented as Cdim7 or C Diminished 7.
Unlike the fully diminished chord, a Half-Diminished Chord has the 7th degree lowered just ONCE. That’s the only difference between a Full and Half-Diminished Chords!
But a half-diminished chord is also the same as a Minor 7th Chord with a Flattened 5. So the half-diminished chord is more popularly known as m7b5 than its real name.
The formula for building a half-diminished chord is 1-b3-b5-b7.
By applying this formula on the C Major Scale we get the C Half-Diminished or Cmin7b5 chord as C-Eb-Gb-Bb.
A half-diminished chord is represented as Cm7b5 or Cmin7b5 or C Half-Diminished.
[Video] Taking the Diminished Chords knowledge to the next level…
Knowledge of any music theory is useless unless you know how to apply it effectively in a practical musical situation and also in several creative ways to add dimensions and color to your composition. This video by famous guitar tutor Sean Daniels does just that. Watch it and find out for yourself!
I hope this lesson could unravel the mystery behind the diminished chords to a good extent. And I hope you also enjoyed it.
By the way, how often have you used diminished chords in a musical situation? Can you identify different chords by ear?
Please do share your thoughts and suggestions as comments.
In the next lesson, we’ll learn to derive Augmented and Suspended Chords.