3 Diminished 7th Chords That Can Turn Into 12 Chords!
Good morning. This is Duane. We’ve been doing a series of videos about music theory called Good Stuff You Really Ought to Know About Music. One thing you really ought to know about music is that there are three chords which are really 12 chords. Now I know that sounds like a puzzle but it’s absolutely true. There’s three chords that are actually 12 chords. Those three chords are the 3 diminished 7th chords.
Let’s back up a hair. You have a major scale, so row of notes that follows some rules about half steps and whole steps and so on. In any case, if you make a major triad, that’s three notes: root, 3rd, and 5th. If you make a minor triad, you lower the 3rd a half step, so that’s a minor triad. If you want a diminished triad you lower the 5th a half step. If you want a diminished 7th triad you start with the 7th and go down a double flat. C diminished 7th looks like that. That note, I guess you can think of it as A if you want to when you’re playing, but I think of it as B double flat because it’s really the 7th double flatted.
In any case, that’s one of the three chords that you need to learn that suddenly become 12 chords when you know all three chords. Still sounds confusing, doesn’t it? Now take that chord and slide each note up a half step. You see that? That’s a diminished 7th chord too, but it starts on C sharp. It’s a half step higher, but it’s exactly a half step higher, mathematically exactly the same. You just slip up a half step.
Now if you take that chord and slip up a half step again, what do you have? You have the third chord, don’t you? This is different than the first chord and different than the second chord. That’s the third chord. But, if you slide up another half step, what do you have? You got the same chord you started with, just upside down. In other words, that’s the C diminished 7th chord, isn’t it? I just have the C on top instead of on the bottom. You see that? It’s the same four notes. That is one of the three chords. We’ll call it C diminished 7th.
Go up a half step and that’s C sharp diminished 7th. Go up a half step and that’s D diminished 7th. Go up a half step and we’re back to C diminished 7th, aren’t we? However, we could call it E flat diminished 7th and we’d be right. In other words, it has more than one name, doesn’t it? I could also call it F sharp diminished 7th because F sharp can function as a root as well. Or I could call it G flat diminished 7th.
If I go up another half step I come to G, B, D flat, and E. Now that is different than the first chord, isn’t it? Each note of that chord can function as the root. In other words, that’s the G diminished 7th chord, the B flat diminished 7th chord, the D flat diminished chord, and the E diminished chord. If I go up another half step, that could function as the A flat diminished chord, B diminished chord, D diminished chord, F diminished chord.
In other words, if you know those three chords, you know all 12 diminished 7th chords, don’t you? That’s it, because there ain’t no more. That’s all. Learn those three diminished 7th chords. I’m illustrating them in the right hand but of course the same thing is true in the left hand. Diminished 7th chords create a tension like that that’s usually resolved to a harmonic chord. In other words, a chord that sounds nice after you build up that tension.
That’s it for today. Three chords that can function as 12 chords. We’ll see you again tomorrow with another Good Stuff You Ought to Know About Music. See you then. Bye bye for now.
***For lots more good stuff on piano playing come on over to my website at http://www.playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips – “Exciting Piano Chords & Sizzling Chord Progressions!”
Here’s a great little book on chords and chord progressions on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Chords-Chord-Progressions-Exciting-ebook/dp/B0076OUGDE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404158669&sr=1-1&keywords=piano+chords+duane+shinn
Here is the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGprNohEbvw&feature=youtu.be