• “I Played The C Diminished Chord And Then This Happened…”

    in Beginners,Chords & Progressions,Piano,Theory

    Post image for “I Played The C Diminished Chord And Then This Happened…”

    In this lesson, I’m going to show how to resolve the C diminished chord.

    Attention: If the term resolve doesn’t sound quite familiar, don’t give up yet because I’ll explain it in the course of this training and you’ll be glad at the end of the day.

    I know you’re eager to know what happened after I played the C diminished seventh chord:

    …but before I tell you, let’s refresh our minds a bit on diminished chords.

    A Short Note On Diminished Chords

    Here are the chords in the major key (using the key of C major as a reference):

    C major (1-chord):

    D minor (2-chord):

    E minor (3-chord):

    F major (4-chord):

    G major (5-chord):

    A minor (6-chord):

    B diminished (7-chord):

    You can clearly see that the diminished chord is one of the chords in the major key and it’s formed off the seventh tone of the scale.

    In the key of C major:

    …it is formed off the seventh tone (which is B):

    If you go to any major key and form the chord of the 7th tone of the scale using the tones of the major scale in that key, you’ll have a diminished chord.

    But here’s an easy way to form the diminished chord in two simple steps:

    Step 1. Form a minor chord

    Step 2. Lower its fifth tone by a half-step

    Using the D minor chord:

    …we can form the D diminished chord by lowering the fifth tone (which is A):

    …by a half-step (to Ab):

    …and we’ll have the D diminished chord:

    There are so many ways to skin a cat and I know that you might even have your own way of forming the diminished chord. So, let’s play through all the diminished chords on the keyboard and I’ll tell you what happened.

    “Here Are All The Diminished Chords…”

    C diminished:

    C# diminished:

    D diminished:

    D# diminished:

    E diminished:

    F diminished:

    F# diminished:

    G diminished:

    G# diminished:

    A diminished:

    A# diminished:

    B diminished:

    Alright! We’re good, so let’s proceed.

    “I Played The C Diminished Chord And Then This Happened…”

    The C diminished chord:

    …has a lot of tension when played. You can hear the tension in the chord when played.

    Unlike the C major and C minor chord:

    C major chord:

    C minor chord:

    …the C diminished chord wants to move to a more stable chord when played and this movement is called resolution. When a diminished chord moves to a more stable chord, that’s when it has resolved.

    I played the C diminished chord and was asking myself how I’m going to resolve it; move to a more stable chord. Then I remembered that diminished chords are leading note triads and they resolve by an upward half-step movement.

    Attention: The term “leading note” is just a technical name of the seventh tone of the scale. So instead of calling the diminished chord a 7-chord, you can call it a leading note chord because the seventh tone of the scale is technically known as the leading note.

    So, for a moment, I started seeing the C diminished chord for what it really is: a leading note chord. I also asked myself the major key where C is the seventh tone and I recalled that it’s the key of Db major:

    Wow! The C diminished chord:

    …is the leading note chord in the key of Db major:

    That means that the it would resolve to the Db major chord:

    Whilst my mind was illuminated with these thoughts and ideas, I rushed to the keyboard and played the C diminished chord:

    …and progressed to the Db major chord:

    …and the Db major chord was able to resolve the C diminished chord:

    C diminished chord:

    Db major chord:

    After my C diminished experience, I’ve been thinking of diminished chords as leading note chords and applying them as passing chord.

    Final Words

    Thank you for stopping by to read today’s lesson and I’m glad you’ve learned how diminished chords can be applied as passing chords.

    I want to specially appreciate my mentor and role-model, Jermaine Griggs, for the opportunity to share this information with you. Questions, comments, suggestions, and contributions are welcome in the comment section below and I’ll be happy to reply.

    All the best and see you in another lesson.

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

    Comments on this entry are closed.

    Previous post:

    Next post: