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The point of DIMINISHING returns…

The point of DIMINISHING returns…

Is it true that when music calls for a diminished chord, it really means a diminished 7th?

Ahh… the diminished chord. It does cause confusion.

Because one needs to be really precise with nomenclature, it generates questions like this one from a Quora poster. Diminished chords come your way in a variety of styles of music. The most important feature of a diminished chord is that the fifth is diminished. Because of that they sound darker. There is a variety of them and context is key.

So, I understand where the question is coming from and I provide the answer in Quora below. Since the seventh in a diminished four-note chord could be minor or diminished, I thought I better lay out all options. And then there is the fact that this could also just refer to a triad…

So, I lay out all the various possibilities with examples that clearly highlight the differences. It’s critical that you understand the notes in play when faced with a diminished chord!


Match Game

For fun, let’s play the match game. Match the chord types on the left with the correct chord notes on the right:

Chord Name 

  • 1)  Adim7 
  • 2)  Amin7b5 
  • 3)  Adim or Ao 

match with Chord Notes

  • a)  A – C – Eb – G
  • b)  A – C – Eb – Gb
  • c)  A – C – Eb

(To check your answers, click over to the Quora post!)

Quora POST click here

Related Posts:

Do dominants, secondary dominants, or tritone substitutions have to be seventh chords?

What is the distinction between using a flat five chord and a sharp eleven, besides the octave?

Related Blog Posts:

What you need to know about “diminished”

The Diminished Scale


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