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Diminished chord

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diminished triad
Component intervals from root
diminished fifth (tritone)
minor third
Diminished triad on B About this sound play .
Dominant seventh and incomplete dominant seventh in C major: G7 and bo chords About this sound Play .

A diminished triad chord (About this sound Play ) is a triad consisting of a minor third and a diminished fifth above the root — if built on C, a diminished chord would have a C, an E and a G[1]. It resembles a minor triad with a lowered (flattened) fifth.

Diminished triad on C About this sound play .
iio6 in C minor About this sound play : first inversion do chord.

In the common practice period, the diminished chord is considered dissonant, or unstable. It lacks tonal center or drive because the diminished fifth symmetrically divides the octave.

A diminished chord occurs in a major scale only on the seventh scale degree; in the key of C, this is a B diminished chord (B, D, F). This also occurs in the seventh chord built on the fifth note; in C, this is G dominant seventh (G, B, D, F).

In a twelve-tone equal tempered tuning, a diminished chord has 3 semitones between the third and fifth, 3 between the root and third, and 6 between the root and fifth. It is represented by the integer notation {0, 3, 6}.

In most sheet music books, Cdim or C° denotes a diminished seventh chord (a four note chord) with root C, and Cm-5 or Cmb5 denotes a diminished triad with root C. However, in some modern jazz books and some music theory literature, Cdim or C° denotes a diminished triad, while Cdim7 or C°7 denotes a diminished seventh chord.

The iio6 chord is usually found in first inversion since it is diminished with the bass note doubled since it is not a part of the tritone, while the viio7 chord appears with all four factors most often in root position[2]. In both cases resolve the bass up and move the upper voices downwards in contrary motion[2]. The popular music symbol for a diminished triad is a capital letter designating the root (as with a major chord) with MI(5) added[3].

Diminished chord table

Chord Root Minor Third Diminished Fifth
Cdim C E G
Cdim C E G
Ddim D F (E) Adouble flat (G)
Ddim D F A
Ddim D F A
Edim E G Bdouble flat (A)
Edim E G B
Fdim F A C (B)
Fdim F A C
Gdim G Bdouble flat (A) Ddouble flat (C)
Gdim G B D
Gdim G B D
Adim A C (B) Edouble flat (D)
Adim A C E
Adim A C E
Bdim B D F (E)
Bdim B D F

See also


  1. ^ Benward & Saker (2003). Music: In Theory and Practice, Vol. I, p.68. Seventh Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-294262-0.
  2. ^ a b Benward & Saker (2009). Music in Theory and Practice: Volume II, p.76. Eighth Edition. ISBN 978-0-07-310188-0.
  3. ^ Benward & Saker (2003), p.77.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Diminished chord". Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.

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