• Exposed: Multiple Diatonic Chords For Every Bass Note On The Keyboard

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,General Music,Piano,Theory

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    There are multiple diatonic chords for every bass note on the keyboard.

    Attention: Just in case you’re coming across the term diatonic for the first time and aren’t sure what it means, you don’t have to worry because we’re starting this lesson with quick insights on diatonic chords.

    In the key of C major:

    …the diatonic chords of the first tone (which is C):

    …are as follows:

    The C major triad:

    The C major seventh chord:

    The C major ninth chord:

    Beyond the C major chords above, there are other multiple diatonic chords that can be derived for the first tone of the scale and we’ll be focusing on the mental process of deriving these chords.

    Quick Insights On Diatonic Chords

    The term diatonic is used to describe musical ideas that are associated with a prevalent key.

    If we narrow it down to chords in the key of C major:

    …diatonic chords are chords that are strictly formed with the tones of the C major scale:

    Diatonic Triads

    Triads in the key of C major are as follows:

    C major:

    D minor:

    E minor:

    F major:

    G major:

    A minor:

    B diminished:

    Altogether, there are seven unique diatonic triads in the major key.

    Diatonic Seventh Chords

    Seventh chords are four-tone chords that encompass an interval of a seventh. There are seven unique diatonic seventh chords in the major key and using the key of C major:

    …here are the diatonic seventh chords:

    C major seventh:

    D minor seventh:

    E minor seventh:

    F major seventh:

    G major seventh:

    A minor seventh:

    B half-diminished seventh:

    Here Are Multiple Diatonic Chords For Every Bass Note

    Apart from the diatonic chords we covered in the last segment, there are other diatonic chords that are associated with the bass notes in the prevalent key.

    Let’s check them out.

    Diatonic Chords For The First Tone

    The first tone in the key of C major is C:

    …C has bass note relationship with the following chords:

    A minor seventh chord:

    …where C is the third tone.

    F major seventh chord:

    …where C is the fifth tone.

    D minor seventh chord:

    …where C is the seventh tone.

    So, over C in the bass:

    …the A minor seventh, F major seventh, and D minor seventh chord can be played to produce the following chords:

    A min7/C (the 6-chord):

    F maj7/C (the 4-chord):

    D min7/C (the 2-chord):

    Attention: These multiple diatonic chords for the first tone CANNOT be used to substitute the 1-chord. For example, the A min7/C chord is the 6-chord and NOT the 1-chord.

    Submission: Following the same procedure, multiple diatonic chords for the rest of the bass notes in the key of C major can be derived.

    Diatonic Chords For The Second Tone

    The three chords that are associated with the second tone of the scale are as follows:

    The B half-diminished seventh chord:

    The G dominant seventh chord:

    The E minor seventh chord:

    Keep in mind that D (the second tone) is the third, fifth, and seventh tone of the B half-diminished, dominant, and minor seventh chords respectively.

    Over D in the bass, here are the chords:

    B half-dim7/D (the 7-chord):

    G dom7/D (the 5-chord):

    E min7/D (the 3-chord):

    Diatonic Chords For The Third Tone

    Over E in the bass:

    …here are the chords:

    C maj7/E (the 1-chord):

    A min7/E (the 6-chord):

    F maj7/E (the 4-chord):

    Diatonic Chords For The Fourth Tone

    The F bass note:

    …is associated with the following chords:

    The D minor seventh chord:

    …where F is the third tone.

    The B half-diminished seventh chord:

    …where F is the fifth tone.

    The G dominant seventh chord:

    …where F is the seventh tone.

    Here’s how everything sounds when put together:

    D min7/F (the 2-chord):

    B half-dim7/F (the 7-chord):

    G dom7/F (the 5-chord):

    Diatonic Chords For The Fifth Tone

    Over G in the bass:

    …here are the chords:

    E min7/G (the 3-chord):

    C maj7/G (the 1-chord):

    A min7/G (the 6-chord):

    Diatonic Chords For The Sixth Tone

    The three chords that are associated with the sixth tone of the scale are as follows:

    The F major seventh chord:

    The D minor seventh chord:

    The B half-diminished seventh chord:

    Keep in mind that A (the sixth tone) is the third tone of the F major seventh chord, the fifth tone of the D minor seventh chord, and the seventh tone of the B half-diminished chord.

    Over A in the bass, here are the chords:

    F maj7/A (the 4-chord):

    D min7/A (the 2-chord):

    B half-dim7/A (the 7-chord):

    Diatonic Chords For The Seventh Tone

    Over B in the bass:

    …here are the chords:

    G dom7/B (the 5-chord):

    E min7/B (the 3-chord):

    C maj7/B (the 1-chord):

    Final Words

    In a subsequent lesson, we’ll learn how these chords can be applied in chord progressions.

    See you then!

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




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    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 fabian cosster

    with these lessons you are changing my life forever i liked this lesson a lot the lesson over multiple diatonic chords for every bass note i would like if you can send a post for me that are talking about harmonizing a melody with jazz chords this is a big problem for me i would like to know if there are a specific formula for this or not my problem is sometimes when i see a lead sheet someof the chords dont have a tension in it i would like to know why but for now god bless you all and keep doing what you are doing i will be waiting for an satisfactory answer

    Reply

    2 Carolyn

    Thanks, Dr. Pokey for the breakdown
    for diatonic chords. God bless you. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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