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