• Understanding The Trinity Of Diminished Seventh Chords

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Piano,Theory

    Post image for Understanding The Trinity Of Diminished Seventh Chords

    If you want to learn diminished seventh chords, then this lesson is for you.

    Although diminished seventh chords are not commonly used like major and minor chords, they have a common place in keyboard harmony especially in traditional gospel music and this is because of the feelings they convey.

    Therefore, if you’re a gospel keyboardist at the beginner’s level, you’ll find this lesson helpful because in the next 10 minutes or so, I’ll be taking you by the hand and showing you step-by-step, how you can get started with diminished seventh chords.

    A Refresher On The Diminished Seventh Chord

    I’m assuming that you’ve not come across the diminished seventh chord. So, let’s define the diminished seventh chord before anything else.

    The Definition Of The Diminished Seventh Chord

    Although there are so many ways to define the diminished seventh chord, it is the chord of the seventh tone in the minor key.

    The diminished seventh chord is the 7-chord in the minor key

    Using the C harmonic minor scale (as a reference):

    …the diminished seventh chord can be formed on its seventh tone (which is B):

    In third intervals from B:

    …we have D:

    …F:

    …and Ab:

    Altogether, B-D-F-Ab:

    …produces the B diminished seventh chord.

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

    Intervallic Components Of The Diminished Seventh Chord

    To deepen our understanding of the diminished seventh chord, we’ll have to break it down into intervals.

    Between the successive tones of a diminished seventh chord are minor third intervals (three half-steps each).

    Using the B diminished seventh chord (as a reference):

    …here are (some of) the intervals in the diminished seventh chord…

    B-D (minor third interval):

    D-F (minor third interval):

    F-Ab (minor third interval):

    From the breakdown above, it is clear that the diminished seventh chord can be broken down into minor third intervals. However, that is not to say that there are not other intervals in the diminished seventh chord.

    Formation Of The Diminished Seventh Chord

    Diminished seventh chords can be formed by stacking minor third intervals. In other words, if you know minor third intervals, you can form diminished seventh chords.

    “Here’s An Example…”

    A minor third (three half-steps) from E is G:

    A minor third (three half-steps) from G is Bb:

    A minor third (three half-steps) from Bb is Db:

    Altogether, E, G, Bb, and Db:

    …when played together, produces the E diminished seventh chord.

    “Here Are All The Diminished Seventh Chords…”

    C diminished seventh chord:

    C# diminished seventh chord:

    D diminished seventh chord:

    D# diminished seventh chord:

    E diminished seventh chord:

    E# diminished seventh chord:

    F# diminished seventh chord:

    G diminished seventh chord:

    G# diminished seventh chord:

    A diminished seventh chord:

    A# diminished seventh chord:

    B diminished seventh chord:

    Alright! Now that we’re done refreshing our minds, let’s proceed to learning the trinity of diminished seventh chords.

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

    Diminished Seventh Chords: Learn Three, Learn All

    Although there are twelve diminished seventh chords, it’s possible to learn all of them by just learning and mastering three of them.

    This is possible if you understand the trinity of diminished seventh chords.

    The Relationship Between Diminished Seventh Chords

    Check out these diminished seventh chords:

    B diminished seventh chord:

    D diminished seventh chord:

    F diminished seventh chord:

    Ab diminished seventh chord:

    “What Do They Have In Common?”

    Although the diminished seventh chords above are spelled differently, they sound alike when played and this is because the inversion of one diminished seventh chord produces another diminished seventh chord.

    The first inversion of the B diminished seventh chord:

    …sounds exactly like the D diminished seventh chord:

    …when played or heard, although they are spelled differently.

    Submission: Our emphasis in this lesson is NOT on the spelling of the chord. We’re more concerned with how you can learn the individual notes of every diminished seventh chord on the keyboard.

    Check out these diminished seventh chords:

    C# diminished seventh chord:

    E diminished seventh chord:

    G diminished seventh chord:

    Bb diminished seventh chord:

    “What Do They Have In Common?”

    These diminished seventh chord are spelled differently but they sound alike and inverting one of them produces the other. The inversion of the E diminished seventh chord:

    …produces the G diminished seventh chord:

    “Here Are Other Related Diminished Seventh Chords…”

    C diminished seventh chord:

    Eb diminished seventh chord:

    Gb diminished seventh chord:

    A diminished seventh chord:

    “What Do They Have In Common?”

    Although the diminished seventh chords above are spelled differently, they sound alike when played and this is because the inversion of one diminished seventh chord produces a similar diminished seventh chord.

    Inverting the C diminished seventh chord:

    …produces the Eb diminished seventh chord:

    If we go ahead and invert the Eb diminished seventh chord, we’ll have the Gb diminished seventh chord:

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

    The Trinity Of Diminished Seventh Chords

    There are basically three diminished seventh chords you can learn and you’ll be able to derive the rest of them. So, for any one of the three learned, you’ll be able to play four diminished seventh chords.

    These three diminished seventh chords are a trinity and they can be used to master all diminished seventh chords on the keyboard and they are as follows:

    The C diminished seventh chord:

    The D diminished seventh chord:

    The E diminished seventh chord:

    The C diminished seventh chord can be used to derive the following diminished seventh chords…

    The D# diminished seventh chord:

    The F# diminished seventh chord:

    The A diminished seventh chord:

    The D diminished seventh chord can be used to derive the following diminished seventh chords…

    The F diminished seventh chord:

    The G# diminished seventh chord:

    The B diminished seventh chord:

    The E diminished seventh chord can be used to derive the following diminished seventh chords…

    The G diminished seventh chord:

    The Bb diminished seventh chord:

    The C# diminished seventh chord:

    Final Words

    Traditional gospel harmony is replete with diminished seventh chords and this is because they can function as passing chords.

    In a subsequent lesson, we’ll be exploring the application of these chords in real life songs. But before then, you’re obligated to practicing these chords to an appreciable degree of mastery.

    All the best!

    The following two tabs change content below.
    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 a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with 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.




    songtutor600x314-5jpg



    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 Reney

    Interesting.
    Look out fingers ! There is more work to get done.
    One love

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: