C dim piano

C dim piano DEFAULT

Diminished chord theory for beginner piano players

The diminished chord is considered to be one of the most unstable chords in music. This means that when it is played it creates tension that demands an onward movement to a stable chord such as a major or minor triad.

Even though a diminished triad or chord may sound unusual, it plays a very important role in music and is used more frequently as a passing chord or tone.

Diminished triads or chords are used more often in Jazz and Gospel music. So I would suggest that you start listening to some jazz or gospel music and incorporate them in your practice sessions.


A diminished triad is easy to form and it is also easy to play on the piano. When forming a diminished triad, all you have to do is to flatten the 2nd and 3rd note of a major chord. For example – the F major chord is played as F, A, C. When the A and C notes are flattened leaving F in its original position, what is been created is the F diminished triad.

You should notice that C flat is the same as B since a flat lowers the pitch of a note by one semitone.

Click here for more information on tones and semitones.

The way in which the F diminished triad is formed above can be applied to all major chords.

Here is an illustration showing how the same concept can be applied the C major chord.

Below is a table with all the diminished triads that can be played on the piano. Take your time and learn to play them on your keyboard.

A diminished chord can be naturally formed on the seventh note of a major scale. For example – The letters of the C major scale are C D E F G A B C. B is the seventh note in this scale so it will be the root note for the B diminished chord. Remember, this chord will only have three notes since we are dealing with triads. Take a look at the illustration below for more information.

The illustration shown above applies to all major scales.

Click here to learn more about the structure of major scales.

Other Related Chord Piano Lessons

Piano Chord Theory Concept

Playing Major Chord on the Piano

Minor Chord Theory

Basic Augmented Chord Theory

Playing Slash Chords on the Piano

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The diminished chord is the chord formed by the following degrees:

1, 3b, 5b, 7bb

Note: 7bb is the same as diminished seventh. Since 5b is a diminished fifth, on this chord we have two diminished notes. So this chord is not called “diminished chord” by chance.

Let’s form a chord to see how it looks.

Example of C diminished:

  • First degree: C
  • Minor third degree: Eb
  • Diminished fifth degree: Gb
  • Diminished seventh degree: A (or Bbb)
  • Resulting chord: Cº

The most used symbol for the diminished chord is a little circle above the letter of the chord: C°. But some authors also use the “dim” notation: Cdim

An easy way to think of the diminished chord is to remember the interval of “three semitones”, since all the degrees of the diminished chord have three semitones of distance between them. Check it out:

  • Distance from the 1st degree to the minor 3rd degree: 3 semitones
  • Distance from the minor 3rd degree to the diminished 5th degree: 3 semitones
  • Distance from the minor 5th degree to the diminished 7th degree: 3 semitones

This gives a very particular characteristic: this chord is repeated every three semitones. In other words, if you form a diminished chord on the fretboard of the guitar, keyboard or any instrument and then move that same chord three semitones up or down, the chord will remain the same!

The only thing that will change is the location of the notes in relation to the fingers, but the chord as a whole will have the same notes, that is, it will be exactly the same. Check the C diminished chord and its respective notes below:

Cdim guitar piano

Now this chord shifted 3 semitones upwards (pay attention to the notes):

ebdim guitar piano

3 semitones more:

Gbdim guitar piano

3 semitones more:

Adim guitar piano

Moral of the story: C° = D#° = F#° = A°

This is very convenient, because if we want to play, for example, A°, we can play C° (since it is the same chord!). This is useful if we are playing in a region of the instrument where the Cº chord is closer than the Aº chord. In another situation, the closest and most convenient chord to play can be D#°, so we can play it instead of A°. Cool, isn’t it?!

Notice now that, as there are 12 notes on the tempered scale and a diminished chord corresponds to another 4 chords identical to it, we can conclude that there are only 3 different diminished chords. They are: C°, C#° and D°.

The remaining diminished chords are a consequence of these 3 chords:

  • C° = D#° = F#° = A° 
  • C#° = E° = G° = A#° 
  • D° = F° = G#° = B°

Okay, so we already know how the diminished chord is formed, it’s time to analyze it from the point of view of harmonic functions and general applications. Are you ready? So let’s go:

The harmonic function of a diminished chord

The diminished chord has two tritones. They are between:

  1. The first degree and the diminished fifth; and
  2. The minor third and the diminished seventh.

Well, if it hasn’t already been made clear, the diminished chord has a dominant function! Having two tritones is no small feat, is it?! So, we can use it to replace dominant chords (like the V7, for example).

How to use Diminished Chords

We can exchange the V7 chord for the diminished chord located one semitone above it. For example, the G7 chord could be replaced by the G#° chord (or its equivalents B°, D° and F°). Here is an exercise for you: check the G#° notes and compare them with the G7 notes.

You will see that the G7 tritone is present in the G#° chord, which makes this substitution possible. This is one of the applications of the diminished chord, to serve as a dominant chord option. See an example of replacing the G7 chord with a diminished chord below:

diminished chord

Other application: The Auxiliary Diminished

When the diminished chord has the same bass (lowest note) as the chord it resolves, it is called the auxiliary diminished. Examples:

| Gmaj7 | G° | Gmaj7 |            | Cmaj7 | G° | G7 |

The auxiliary diminished slows down the resolution and provides a minimum harmonic movement, since it keeps the bass.

Ascending and descending diminished chords

Another application, and perhaps the most used, is to play the diminished chord to explore the chromatic approach effect. In this case, the diminished chord is usually played a semitone above or below the chord you want to resolve, being called, respectively, ascending diminished and descending diminished.

Great, but can we use the ascending diminished and the descending diminished to resolve in any major or minor chord? Well, in theory, yes, but in practice it will not always sound good. The descending diminished does not act with a dominant function, as it does not have the same tritone as the V7 chord, unlike the ascending diminished.

Maybe you are now confused, after all we have already stated that the diminished chord has two tritones, so how does the descending diminished not act with a dominant function? After all, it still has two tritones! Well, just as a reminder, the concept of tritones refers to a need for resolution.

When we play a tritone, the need arises for this “tense” interval to be resolved, and the expected resolution is to make each note of that tritone move one semitone. For example, the tritone of the G7 chord is between the F and B notes. When the F note goes a semitone down, it becomes E, and when the B note goes a semitone up, it becomes C. Therefore, the expected chord to resolve this tension is the C chord, which contains these two notes found (C and E, first and third degrees of the chord, respectively).

If the G7 chord resolved in a chord other than C, we would have a deceptive resolution. So far, no new concepts here.

Now, imagine that a song is in the key of B major and the chord sequence G7 – F#7 – B appears. In this case, the F#7 chord is the dominant that resolved in B major, while the G7 chord acted as a chromatic approach chord.

It would not be incorrect to say that G7 was a dominant that had deceptive resolution, but its main function in this song would be the effect of chromatic approach, not least because the expected resolution of G7 is C major, which does not belong to the key of B major.

In other words, it does not make much sense to think of G7 as a dominant that was starting a modulation and suffered a deceptive resolution if it provided another effect for the song, regardless of this one.

The same thing happens with the descending diminished. The tritones of the descending diminished chord do not resolve in the same way as the V7 chord, therefore, the descending diminished ends up having only the chromatic function, and this makes its use not always pleasant.

We will now analyze these two approaches (ascending and descending diminished) and discover which ones are most used when the chord you want to resolve is major or minor.

Resolution to Minor Chord

When the chord you want to resolve is a minor chord, the ascending diminished is undoubtedly the most widely used and always works! It will sound beautiful most of the time. But there are a lot of people who like to use the descending diminished for this resolution also. So don’t restrict yourself to the ascending diminished! Explore both concepts.

Resolution to Major Chord

For the major chords, the ascending diminished can also be used almost always because it is very similar to VIIm7(b5) (seventh degree chord of the major key). Due to this fact, the ascending diminished ends up sounding as if it were tonal.

The descending diminished is often replaced by SubV7 (we will talk about this chord in the next module) when the intention is to explore this chromatic effect for major chords. It is up to each musician to define his tastes.

In short, the ascending diminished, for both major and minor chords, can be used without any fears. The descending diminished, on the other hand, needs more caution.

Generally speaking, the ascending diminished is the most common function of the diminished chord in songs, especially for minor chord resolution.

In both cases (ascending and descending), the diminished chord appears as a passing chord.

Practice this concept and include diminished chords in your music arrangements!

Go to: Diminished scale

Back to: Module 9

Sours: https://www.simplifyingtheory.com/diminished-chord/
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Diminished Scales

The Diminished Scale is built upon two diminished seventh chords. In the C Diminished Scale this would be C - Eb - Gb - A (Cdim7) and D - F - Ab - B (Ddim7). This scale is primarily used in jazz music and works well together with alternate seventh chords.

The Diminished Scale is also referred to as the Whole-half Scale since it is constructed by every second whole and half steps (notice also that it is a symmetrical scale). It is close related to the Half-whole Diminished scale (a.k.a. the Dominant Diminished Scale) and should be separated from the Diminished Whole Tone Scale.


C Diminished scale diagram
Notes: C, D, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, A, B, C

C# / Db

C# Diminished scale diagram
Notes: C#, D#, E, F#, G, A, A#, C, C#


D Diminished scale diagram
Notes: D, E, F, G, Ab, Bb, B, C#, D

D# /Eb

D# Diminished scale diagram
Notes: D#, F, F#, G#, A, B, C, D, D#


E Diminished scale diagram
Notes: E, F#, G, A, Bb, C, C#, D#, E


F Diminished scale diagram
Notes: F, G, Ab, Bb, B, C#, D, E, F

F# / Gb

F# Diminished scale diagram
Notes: F#, G#, A, B, C, D, D#, F, F#


G Diminished scale diagram
Notes: G, A, Bb, C, C#, D#, E, F#, G

G# / Ab

G# Diminished scale diagram
Notes: G#, A#, B, C#, D, E, F, G, G#


A Diminished scale diagram
Notes: A, B, C, D, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, A

A# / Bb

A# Diminished scale diagram
Notes: A#, C, C#, D#, E, F#, G, A, A#


B Diminished scale diagram
Notes: B, C#, D, E, F, G, Ab, Bb, B

Diminished Scales overview
C: C, D, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, A, B, C
C#/Db: C#, D#, E, F#, G, A, A#, C, C# / Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, G, A, Bb, C, Db
D: D, E, F, G, Ab, Bb, B, C#, D
D#/Eb: D#, F, F#, G#, A, B, C, D, D# / Eb, F, Gb, Ab, A, B, C, D, EB
E: E, F#, G, A, Bb, C, C#, D#, E
F: F, G, Ab, Bb, B, C#, D, E, F
F#/Gb: F#, G#, A, B, C, D, D#, F, F# / Gb, Ab, A, B, C, D, Eb, F, Gb
G: G, A, Bb, C, C#, D#, E, F#, G
G#/Ab: G#, A#, B, C#, D, E, F, G, G# / Ab, Bb, Cb, Db, D, E, F, G, Ab
A: A, B, C, D, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, A
A#/Bb: A#, C, C#, D#, E, F#, G, A, A# / Bb, C, Db, Eb, E, Gb, G, A, Bb
B: B, C#, D, E, F, G, Ab, Bb, B

Intervals: 1, 2, b3, 4, b5, b6, 6, 7
Semi-notes: 2 - 1 - 2 - 1 - 2 - 1 - 2 - 1
Formula: Whole, Half, Whole, Half, Whole, Half, Whole, Half


Sours: https://www.pianoscales.org/diminished.html

How to Play Diminished Piano Chords

  • 1

    Diminished Chords: Like all chords, diminished chords and diminished 7th chords are formed from the intervals of the major scale, which is (Root, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step.) For purposes of this example, let's use the “C” scale, which is: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.

  • 2

    A diminished chord is the root, the flatted third, and the flatted fifth. So the notes in a C diminished chord are: C, Eb, & Gb. (It is like a C minor, {C, Eb, & G} with the fifth, G, also flatted.) A C diminished chord would typically be denoted either: C dim, C Dim and occasionally as C-.[1]


  • 3

    Diminished 7th Chords: The notes in a diminished 7th chord are the same as those in a diminished chord, the root, flatted third and flatted fifth. (C dim = C, Eb, Gb) Then the doubly flatted seventh is added; Bbb. Yes a double flatted seventh is the same note as the sixth, so a Bbb is also an A. —However, since the chord is called a diminished seventh, the seventh tone of the scale must be present and “A” is the sixth tone of the “C” scale, not the seventh. To be any type of seventh chord, the seventh tone of the scale must be present in some form. Therefore, to be theoretically correct, the note must be called a “B” double flat, —not an “A”. So, the notes in a C dim7 chord are: C, Eb, Gb, & Bbb.[2]

  • 4

    There are only three Diminished 7th chords: Each ascending note in a diminished seventh chord is the minor third (a whole step followed by a half step) of the one preceding it. (Up a minor third from C is Eb, up another minor third is Gb and up another minor third is Bbb (which is also A) So, C dim7 is one chord, C# dim7 or Db dim 7 is the second chord, and D dim7 is the third chord, - - - and when you reach Eb dim7 / D# dim7, you will be playing the same note that are in a C dim7. (Eb, Gb, Bbb {also known as A} and Dbb {also known as C})[3]

  • 5

    Every diminished seventh chord is really four chords, containing four evenly spaced notes each. Since only twelve notes and their octaves exist and since 12 ÷ 4 = 3, there are only three diminished chords possible before you are playing a different inversion of the same chord again.[4]

  • 6

    The C, Eb/D#, Gb/F# & A (Bbb) diminished seventh chords all contain exactly the same notes.[5]

  • 7

    The C#/Db, E, G, & Bb (Cbb) diminished seventh chords all contain exactly the same notes.

  • 8

    The D, F, Ab/G# & B (Cb) diminished seventh chords all contain exactly the same notes.


  • Sours: https://www.wikihow.com/Play-Diminished-Piano-Chords

    Piano c dim

    What Is a Diminished Chord and How to Use Them

    What is a diminished chord? Learn how to make diminished chords and use them to spice up your chord progressions in this basic music theory guide. Knowing how to use diminished chords will open creative doors and expand your songwriting.

    Music Producer Playing Synthesizer

    What is a Diminished Chord?

    A diminished chord is a triad built from the root note, minor third, and a diminished fifth. It’s a chord with two minor thirds above the root. Meaning three semitones separate the third and fifth notes of the chord. 

    For example, a C major triad has the notes C (the root), E (the third), and G (the fifth). Therefore, a diminished C triad has the notes C, Eb, and Gb.

    Diminished chords inject a sense of drama, tension, and suspense into music. They also have a distinct timbre that sounds dark, dissonant, and eerie. Their oddness makes them unique!

    However, the flattened fifth makes diminished chords sound unstable and creates a desire for tonal resolution. They leave the listener hanging, which makes the resolve back to consonant chords more impactful. This sense of tension makes them interesting chords to use in your progressions.

    How to Make a Diminished Chord?

    D Diminished Chord Piano Keys

    Diminished chords are easy to build because the note intervals are equally spaced by a third. Meaning each note in a diminished chord is separated by three half steps. Easy right?

    There are three types of diminished chords: diminished triads, the diminished seventh, and the half-diminished seventh

    Let’s look at how to build these three chords using the key of D minor as an example.

    1. The Diminished Triad (dim or °)

    The diminished triad chord consists of a:

    • Root Note
    • Minor 3rd
    • Diminished 5th

    A diminished triad is a minor chord with a flat fifth. The chord symbols are “dim” and “°.” For example, Ddim or D°.

    To build a diminished triad, first find the root note of the chord. The root is always the note that’s the basis for the chord. For example, the root note for a Ddim chord is D.

    Next, count three semitones to find the third note of the scale. For example, the third note above the root in a Ddim chord is F.

    Lastly, count three semitones from the third or six semitones from the root to find the diminished fifth note. For example, the fifth note in a Ddim chord is Ab. The complete Ddim triad chord has the notes D – F – Ab.

    2. The Diminished Seventh Chord (dim7 or °7)

    The diminished seventh is a four-note chord that consists of a:

    • Root Note
    • Minor 3rd
    • Diminished 5th
    • Diminished 7th

    The diminished seventh (or fully diminished chord) adds a minor-third above a diminished triad. Meaning the seventh note is three semitones above the flattened fifth.

    For example, the seventh note in a Ddim7 chord is Cb. Therefore, the complete Ddim7 chord has the notes D – F – Ab – Cb.

    3. The Half-Diminished Seventh Chord (m7b5 or ø7)

    The half-diminished seventh is a four-note chord consisting of a:

    • Root Note
    • Minor 3rd
    • Diminished 5th
    • Minor 7th

    A half-diminished chord adds a major-third above a diminished triad. Meaning the seventh note is four semitones above the flattened fifth.

    For example, the seventh note in a Dø7 chord is C. The complete Dø7 chord has the notes D – F – Ab – C.

    How to Use Diminished Chords in Your Progressions

    Passing Diminished Chord Ableton Live

    Diminished chords often function as passing chords in a progression. Passing chords spice up standard progressions and create tension between chords with a stronger relationship to the key.

    A passing chord acts as a transition that sits “in-between” the primary chords of a progression. Typically, a passing chord is not in the same key as the song. As a result, it creates a dissonant sound that needs to resolve to a chord harmonically related to the song’s key.

    The most common passing chord is the diminished seventh. Try adding a diminished chord in the middle section of your chord sequence. Then resolve it to a major or minor chord one half-step higher. This technique adds tension and intrigue to a chord progression while remaining melodic.

    For example, try replacing the V chord in a standard chord progression with a Dim7 or m7b5 chord. If you have a common I – V – vi- IV chord progression, the diminished chord will play second.

    However, diminished chords are not limited to replacing the V chord. You can use them anywhere within a chord progression. But, because diminished chords sound unstable, they rarely play on the first or last bar. You won’t find a sequence of diminished chords in a progression, either. They typically occur once for a beat or two within a chord progression. They’re passing chords, so they pass by quickly.

    Where to Use Diminished Chords

    To figure out where to use a passing diminished chord, find two chords a whole step apart. Next, build a diminished chord on the note between them. Lastly, put the passing chord between the two chords a whole step apart.

    For example, let’s use the progression C – Am – F – G. The F major and G major chords are a whole step apart. The note between them is F#. Build a F#dim chord and put it between the F and G major chords. The new progression is C – Am – F – F#dim – G.

    Diminished Chord Chart 

    You can play the diminished chord in all twelve keys. In major scales, a diminished triad occurs only on the 7th scale degree. Whereas in minor scales, a diminished triad occurs on the 2nd scale degree.

    Below is a list of all twelve diminished triads for each key:

    C dim = C – Eb – Gb
    C# dim = C# – E – G
    Db dim = Db – E – G
    D dim = D – F – Ab
    Eb dim = Eb – Gb – A
    E dim = E – G – Bb
    F dim = F – Ab – B
    F# dim = F# – A – C
    Gb dim = Gb – A – C
    G dim = G – Bb – Db
    Ab dim = Ab – B – D
    A dim = A – C – Eb
    Bb dim = Bb – Db – E
    B dim = B – D – F

    Example of Diminished Chord Progressions

    There are several ways to resolve a diminished chord to either a major chord or minor chord. Leading a song into the vi chord is one common use of diminished chords in popular music. The vi chord builds on the 6th scale degree of the key.

    The song below uses a diminished triad in a major key following a V – vi – IV – I progression.

    “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith

    Sam Smith’s 2014 hit “Stay With Me” uses the G#dim chord in all three choruses and the bridge. Here is one of those rare examples where the progression starts on a diminished chord. 

    Listen to the chord quality of G#dim and how it leads into the last chorus repetition. It changes the emotional feel and sets up the final “stay with me” lyric at the end of the chorus. You’ll also notice how quickly the chord plays compared to the other chords. Can you hear the subtle differences?


    Won’t you stay with me?

    Am – F – C

    Cause you’re all I need

    Am – F – C

    This ain’t love it’s clear to see

    G – Am – F – C

    But darling, stay with me

    G#dim – Am – F – C

    The bridge follows the same chord progression but with different lyrics. It sets up the final chorus.


    Oh oh oh ohhh oh ohhh oh ohhh

    Am – F – C

    Oh oh oh ohhh oh ohhh oh ohhh

    Am – F – C

    Oh oh oh ohhh oh ohhh oh ohhh

    G#dim – Am – F – C

    Oh oh oh ohhh oh ohhh oh ohhh

    G#dim – Am – F – C


    Music theory tools like diminished chords expand the sounds you have available in your chord progressions. Using them in your songwriting will improve your overall sound and make your music more interesting.

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    ICON Collective is a Los Angeles and Online music production school that teaches you core technical skills while unlocking your unique creative process. Mentorships with industry professionals let you access real-world insights and help you personalize your music education. Check out our Music Production Programs.

    Sours: https://iconcollective.edu/what-is-a-diminished-chord/
    How to Play a C Diminished (Cdim) Chord on Piano

    C sharp diminished piano chord - C#dim

    The C sharp diminished chord is a 3-note chord consisting of the notes C#, E and G.
    You can see these notes highlighted in the interactive piano chart below.
    The chord itself is often abbreviated as C#dim.

    Interactive piano diagram for the C sharp diminished chord

    Extended Chords

    Chords that are a superset of C#dim. The chords include more notes but always C#, E and G.

    C sharp diminished piano chord chart image

    In case you prefer a non-interactive variant of the chord chart, we've embedded a PNG image below that shows the notes for the the C#dim chord. Feel free to save or share the image as needed.

    Piano chord chart for the C sharp diminished chord (C#dim). The notes C#, E and G are highlighted.
    Sours: https://www.chordatlas.com/chords/c-sharp-diminished/

    You will also be interested:

    Diminished Chords

    Let’s look at how to play a Cdim (“C diminished”) chord on the piano (and any other diminished chord).

    What Are Diminished Chords?

    To play a diminished chord, play a minor chord, but lower the upper-note 1/2 step.

    I’ve written another post covering diminished chords in more detail here. Basically, you can build a minor chord by playing the first, third and fifth notes of the matching minor scale. Then lower the upper-note 1/2 step to create a diminished chord.

    How to Play a Cdim Chord

    To play a Cdim chord on the piano, we’d start with a C minor chord: C – E♭ – G. These are the first, third and fifth notes of the C minor scale. Then we’d lower the upper-note G 1/2 step, to G♭.

    So to play a Cdim chord, we’d play:

    C – E♭ – G♭

    cdim chord piano

    You can use this pattern to play any diminished chord on the piano. Start with a minor chord, and then lower the upper-note 1/2 step.

    You can also build any diminished chord by choosing a root note and counting three half-steps up, and then another three half-steps up.

    Another way to label diminished chords is with the º symbol, so we could also write Cdim as Cº.

    Minor Piano Chords Chart

    I made this minor piano chords chart so you could use it as a reference for playing minor chords at the piano. Get your copy below:

    Other Chord Types

    Some of the other chord types you can learn are:

    Minor Second
    Minor Sixth
    Minor Seventh
    Major Seventh
    Minor Ninth
    Major ninth


    Now you know how to build any diminished chord on the piano! I love how the patterns on the piano can be applied again and again, starting on any note, to create chords. You don’t have to memorize all the notes of every chord, you can just learn the patterns!

    Julie Swihart
    Julie Swihart

    I show people how to use piano chords to learn the piano quickly and easily, and to play creatively. I also love writing worship songs.

    « Previous PostHow to Play a Caug Chord on the PianoNext Post »Piano Chords PDF – C Chords

    Sours: https://www.julieswihart.com/cdim-chord-piano/

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