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Discussion in 'Tab & Music Forum' started by FireFunkRevival, Apr 4, 2021.
Basic harmonizing of the major scale: I, IIm, IIIm, IV, V, VIm, VII
Without the vii°... its incomplete. The leading tone isn't taught in rock...and it should be. You can't have a dom 7 chord without a diminished triad.
Also worth noting is that (all too often) when a vii° chord is called for, a vii°7 chord is what actually shows up!
There are several types of diminished chords, so learning and (more importantly) actually applying them is something else worth considering (then finding the correct notes to solo over that part as well of course).
The plain old “diminished triad” is “diatonic” to a specific Major Key (i.e. all the notes fit a certain Key). It only has three notes: In the Key of C Major those notes would simply be B-D-F and is called a B diminished triad (or Bdim or B°).
It is a minor chord with a flatted 5th.
The structure is a minor 3rd with another minor 3rd stacked on top.
minor 7th flatted 5th
If you add a “Major 3rd” to the B° triad, you get a chord that has the notes B-D-F-A... * these notes are also diatonic to the Key of C Major.
It is a minor chord with a "flatted 5th" and a "minor 7th".
As far as what to call it? I personally prefer m7♭5 (minor 7th flatted 5th) since that best describes its structure. To me “Half-diminished” seems to imply that it’s somehow not fully diminished - when in fact it is.
“ø7” is fine for a shorthand symbol on a music score, such as “Bø7”.
The structure is a Major 3rd stacked on top of a diminished triad (or a minor 7th added to a diminished triad).
This chord is the same as the m7♭5 except the minor 7th is lowered a half-step to become a “diminished 7th”.
That diminished 7th note is NOT diatonic to any Major Key.
If used in the Key of C Major, these notes would be B-D-F-A♭. Since the notes in the Key of C Major are C-D-E-F-G-A-B, you can clearly see that A♭ is an odd duck.
The structure is three minor 3rds stacked on top of each other (or a diminished 7th added to a diminished triad).
Anyway, the reason I’m mentioning all this is two-fold:
A) You should practice all these variations in different positions on the fretboard and in every key - which should keep you busy for awhile.
B) Often times music lesson books ignore the "plain diminished triad" in favor of the "dim7 chord". For example, in this Mel Bay chord chart book, they label these chords as “diminished” but clearly show “diminished 7th” chords:
So if all you've ever learned was those chord shapes and a musical piece calls for "B°", don't be surprised if it sounds off - since B° is quite different than B°7.
My point is, don't overlook the basic diminished triad or the m7♭5 chord, since their unique sounds can fit a piece much better than a diminished 7th at times.
One final note...
I don't just "practice" these triads and chords, but actually apply them in a musical way... by making up a little song! That's the only way to really get a feel of how each of them sounds and, just as importantly, get them engrained into your fingers and brain - thus further extending your musical vocabulary. Listen to how each interacts with other chords; Strum a diminished chord type then strum a Major, minor or 7th chord and figure out what works and what doesn't.
For instance, I was noodling in a the Key of Em last night (while watching Netflix) and came up with this little ditty:
Now that there fancy dancy F#m7♭5 chord is firmly engrained into my brained! (hey "brained" is actually a word and, well, just rhymes better)...
Learn the entire fretboard - the standard 8 note major scale pattern across the entire board, and then how you shift the pattern to play the other modes - ie, Minor, Mixolydian, Dorian, etc.
Work on playing melodies instead of patterns.
I remember reading an article in which Steve Vai suggested singing a musical line and then figuring out how to replicate it on guitar - capturing the inflections and the rise and fall of your voice. Eventually, you can develop to the point where the guitar becomes your voice - instead of singing with your vocal cords you channel it through your fingers - I know, very weird and Zen sounding, but it's true.
Transcribe a lot of solos you like by ear. Then memorize them and learn to play them. And analyze them so you understand how the notes relate to the chords. Those ideas will eventually become part of your improvising vocabulary.
For me it was the Breakthrough Guitar method. I am not affiliated with them in any way, but what he teaches works!
There are several courses that include fretboard mastery, pentatonic mastery, ear training, rhythm training, knowing the right chords, dexterity, and many more. Basically all of the elements that you need. Most people are looking for the one thing. The truth is, you need all of these things.
This method has done wonders for me. I would recommend it to anyone. It starts out at $37 up to about $300 for a lifetime membership. I think that's pretty cheap for all that you get.
You will need to leave all of your preconceived notions at the door and have an open mind to some of the concepts. Provided you do that, and put in the work, I promise you, this method will work.