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Home Music Theory Intervals MUSIC THEORY FOR PRODUCERS - THE DIMINISHED CHORD

# MUSIC THEORY FOR PRODUCERS – THE DIMINISHED CHORD

Today we will learn about the diminished chord, which is extremely used in pop music, jazz, electronic music, and much more. You will see that it’s very easy to build a diminished chord – again, it’s all about intervals.

There are three types of diminished chords: the diminished triad, the diminished 7th chord and the half-diminished 7th chord.

Â To better understand how to build a diminished triad, let’s consider a C major triad:

Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  C

Any major triad consists of a root, a major 3rd and a perfect 5th. So, there’s a major 3rd between C and E and a perfect 5th between C and G:

Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  C

The chord formula is 1-3-5.

Now, let’s build a C minor triad:

Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Cm

Notice that the difference between a major and a minor triad is the 3rd: it is a major 3rd on major triads and it is a minor 3rd on minor triads.

The chord formula for minor triads is 1-b3-5.

Finally, here’s a C diminished triad:

Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  Cdim (or Cmb5, or even Co)

Notice that now we have not only the minor 3rd but also the diminished 5th.

The chord formula for diminished triads is 1-b3-b5.

So, if you want to build a diminished triad, take a major triad and lower both 3rd and 5th by one semitone.

Here’s another example:

Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â Fdim (Fmb5 or Fo)

All diminished chords sound a lot dissonant, and its harmonic function is similar to the dominant 7th chord (we’ll cover that in a future lesson).

The half-diminished 7th chord

Â All you need to do to build a half-diminished 7th chord is to add a minor 7th to the diminished triad. Observe:

Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  CÃ¸7 (or Cm7/(b5))

The minor 7th can be quickly found by just lowering the root (or octave) one whole step.

The chord formula is 1-b3-b5-b7.

We can say that a half-diminished 7th chord is a diminished triad with a minor 7th.

The diminished 7th chord

The diminished 7th chord is a diminished triad plus a diminished 7th. Observe:

Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â Co7 (or Cdim7)

Notice that we can build a diminished 7th by lowering the minor 7th a half step.

In interval theory, whenever you lower (by a half step) a major interval, it becomes a minor one. Whenever you lower a minor interval, it becomes a diminished one.

The chord formula for a diminished 7th chord is 1-b3-b5-bb7.

Let’s see another example:

Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â  FÃ¸7 (or Fm7/(b5))

The diminished 7th chord can also be viewed as four notes all stacked in intervals of a minor 3rd.

That’s it! Keep practicing!

Good productions!

FrancisHamzagichttp://www.francishamzagic.com%20
Pianist, keyboardist and music producer.
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