• Gospel Musicians: The [Extended] Resolution Of The #4-Diminished Seventh Chord

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    Today, we’ll be talking about the resolution of the #4 diminished seventh chord.

    The #4-diminished seventh chord has a special place in gospel music, classical music, blues music, etc., and once it’s played, it adds this exceptional traditional flavor that church musicians love.

    For the sake of those who don’t know what the #4-diminished seventh chord is, we’ll be starting out in the next segment with an explanation on what the #4-diminished seventh chord is.

    The #4-Diminished Seventh Chord — Explained

    Every tone of the scale is associated with a number derived from its position in the major scale. For example, in the key of C major:

    …the following scale tones are associated with the following numbers:

    C is associated with number 1
    D is associated with number 2
    E is associated with number 3
    F is associated with number 4
    G is associated with number 5
    A is associated with number 6
    B is associated with number 7

    Raising F (that is associated with number 4):

    …by a half-step (to F#):

    …produces the #4 tone.

    So, raising the fourth tone of the major scale by a half-step produces the #4 tone.

    “So, What Is The #4-Diminished Seventh Chord?”

    Playing a diminished seventh chord on the #4 tone in the major key produces the #4-diminished seventh chord. In the key of C major:

    …where F# is the #4 tone:

    …the F# diminished seventh chord:

    …is the #4-diminished seventh chord.

    Attention: In any key of your choice, the diminished seventh chord on the #4 tone is the #4-diminished seventh chord.

    The Resolution Of The #4-Diminished Seventh Chord

    The #4-diminished seventh chord sounds harsh and unpleasant when played and this is because it consists of two tritones. For example, the F# diminished seventh chord (the #4-diminished seventh chord in the key of C  major):

    …consists of these two tritones:

    F#-C:

    A-Eb:

    When the #4-diminished seventh chord is played, it tends to move to a more stable and pleasant chord. This movement to a more stable chord is known as resolution.

    “So, How Does The #4-Diminished Seventh Chord Resolve?”

    The #4-diminished seventh chord resolves to the 1-chord in the key over the 5 on the bass and in the key of C major:

    …we’ll have the F# diminished seventh chord:

    …resolving to the C major triad (over G on the bass):

    Take a closer look:

    F# diminished seventh chord:

    C major triad (over G on the bass):

    The progression above (the resolution of the #4-diminished seventh chord) is common in gospel music and I want to assume that you’ve heard it a lot of times.

    But that’s not all about the resolution of the #4-diminished seventh chord. I’ll be showing you what I call the extended resolution that follows after you’ve progressed from the F# diminished seventh chord to the C major triad (over G on the bass.)

    Extending The Resolution Of The #4-Diminished Seventh Chord

    The resolution of the #4-diminished seventh chord can be extended with a “6-2-5-1” chord progression which consists of series of chords leading us to the 1-chord.

    Let’s check out these three examples.

    “6-2-5-1” Chord Progression #1

    This 6-2-5-1 chord progression consists of the following chords:

    The 6-chord:

    The 2-chord:

    The 5-chord:

    The 1-chord:

    The 6-chord is the A altered chord; followed by the 2-chord, which is the D minor ninth chord; next is the G dom13 [add9] chord; and lastly, the C 6/9 chord.

    “6-2-5-1” Chord Progression #2

    In this example, we have the following chords:

    The 6-chord:

    The 2-chord:

    The 5-chord:

    The 1-chord:

    The 6-chord is the A dom7 [b9] chord; followed by the 2-chord, which is the D dom9 chord; next is the G dom9 chord; and lastly, the C maj9 chord.

    “6-2-5-1” Chord Progression #3

    This 6-2-5-1 chord progression consists of the following chords:

    The 6-chord:

    The 2-chord:

    The 5-chord:

    The 1-chord:

    The 6-chord is the A dom13 [sus4] chord; followed by the 2-chord, which is the D dom13 [#11] chord; next is the G dom9 [sus4] chord; and lastly, the C maj9 chord.

    Final Words

    After resolving the #4-diminished seventh chord, you can use any of the “6-2-5-1” chord progressions examples we covered or any other example you can come up with to create an extended resolution.

    The resolution and extended resolution of the #4-diminished seventh chord can be used during the high praise, shout, and for preacher accompaniment — which we’ll cover in the next lesson.

    All the best and see you in another lesson.

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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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