Welcome!
Just a few a ground rules first...

Promotion, advertising and link building is not permitted.

If you are keen to learn, get to grips with something with the willing help of one of the net's original musician forums
or possess a genuine willingness to contribute knowledge - you've come to the right place!

Register >

- Close -
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17

Thread: Diminished? Half-Diminished? (stacking question/problem)

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    26

    Diminished? Half-Diminished? (stacking question/problem)





    I C Major Seventh (CM7) (Notes: C - E - G - B) (Intervals: 1 - 3 - 5 - 7)
    ii D Minor Seventh (Dm7) (Notes: D - F - A - C) (Intervals: 1 - b3 - 5 - b7)
    iii E Minor Seventh (Em7) (Notes: E - G - B - D) (Intervals: 1 - b3 - 5 - b7)
    IV F Major Seventh (FM7) (Notes: F - A - C - E) (Intervals: 1 - 3 - 5 - 7)
    V G Dominant Seventh (G7) (Notes: G - B - D - F) (Intervals: 1 - 3 - 5 - b7)
    vi A Minor Seventh (Am7) (Notes: A - C - E - G) (Intervals: 1 - b3 - 5 - b7)
    vii What KIND OF B?????


    This is very confusing.

    -- After stacking, following Peter Vogl's book, it is CALLED a B Diminished and the notes are B - D - F

    -- But one website CALLS it a B Half-Diminished (Bě or Bmin7b5) and the notes are B - D - F - A

    -- But Mel Bay Chord Dictionary CALLS it a B Diminished and he has the notes as B - D - F - Ab


    Something is wrong.

    (1) What's the correct name of the vii? B Diminished or B Half-Diminished/BMinor7Flat5?

    (2) Is that 7th note of the vii chord an A or Ab?


    Last edited by skybleu; 03-24-2013 at 09:52 PM.

  2. #2
    MMus, MA, PGCE JumpingJack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    309
    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post
    (1) What's the correct name of the vii? B Diminished or B Half-Diminished/BMinor7Flat5?
    (2)Is that 7th note an A or Ab?
    It depends if you're talking about the triad (3-note-chord) or seventh (4-note-chord). It also depends on whether you are in a major or minor key.

    B-D-F is a diminished triad.

    However, in all your other examples, you added a (diatonic) seventh.
    B-D-F-A is a half-diminished seventh, you might call it Bm7(b5).

    B-D-F-Ab is a diminished seventh. But you should notice that the Ab does NOT belong in C major. It does however belong in C minor. But then, if you were in C minor, all your other examples would change too.


    So, if you stick to your pattern of stacking notes from C major, and each chord having four notes in it, then the correct answer to you question is the half-diminished seventh.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    26
    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    It depends if you're talking about the triad (3-note-chord) or seventh (4-note-chord). It also depends on whether you are in a major or minor key.
    As you can see from the image, I'm using the C MAJOR scale. And I'm stacking thirds to find out the I ii iii IV V vi and vii chords. So when I start at the second note of the C Major Scale, the D, I stack thirds and get D - F - A - C (which is a Dm7). And I do this for EACH note of the C Major scale to find out all the rest of the chords.

    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    So, if you stick to your pattern of stacking notes from C major, and each chord having four notes in it, then the correct answer to you question is the half-diminished seventh.
    And -- following this pattern of stacking, when I get to the B note and count ever other note, as Vogl says to do, I come up with these notes: B - D - F - A.

    Now Vogl says the vii chord is always a diminished when stacking thirds from the 7th note of the major scale. But another site (Jay Skylar) does NOT call the vii of the major scale a diminished, but a HALF-DIMINISHED or Minor7Flat5. So who is right?

    Vogl says it's diminished. Jay Skylar says it's called half-diminished/minor7b5. Who is right?

    And if I follow Vogl's stacking, as I said, it comes out to B - D - F - A. And again, he says the vii chord is always diminished (when starting with the 7th degree and stacking thirds) of a major scale. Yet Sklyar says no it's half-diminished. And my chord dictionaries define diminished as having an Ab. But that contradicts the results of the stacking method of Vogl, which yields an A natural.

    I'm totally confused.

    And further complicating my understanding, my Mel Bay Chord Dictionary says a "B Diminished" has the notes B - D -F - Ab. It calls it just Diminished.

    ?
    Last edited by skybleu; 03-24-2013 at 10:23 PM.

  4. #4
    MMus, MA, PGCE JumpingJack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    309
    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post
    I'm totally confused.
    You're confused because you're mixing up lots of different things.

    There are different types of chords.

    G-B-D is a G major triad, but G-B-D-F is a "dominant seventh". - Both of those labels are correct, neither is wrong.

    Similarly:
    B-D-F is a B diminished triad, but B-D-F-A is a "half-diminished seventh".
    You see, the first has 3 notes in, the second has 4.

    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post
    Vogl says the vii chord is always a diminished when stacking thirds from the 7th note of the major scale.
    Which is correct, because he is talking about the basic triad; the three-note chord: B-D-F.

    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post
    But another site (Jay Skylar) does NOT call the vii of the major scale a diminished, but a HALF-DIMINISHED or Minor7Flat5.
    Which is also correct because they are talking about a seventh chord, the four-note chord: B-D-F-A.

    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post
    my chord dictionaries define diminished as having an Ab.
    Which is correct because they are talking about the (fully) diminished seventh, not the half-diminished seventh.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    26
    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack
    Which is correct because they are talking about the (fully) diminished seventh, not the half-diminished seventh.
    Ok, so when we have a B Diminished chord with an A natural, what do we call it?

    When we have a B Diminished with an A flat, what do we call that?

    In other words, which one is called DIMINISHED 7th and which one is called HALF-DIMINISHED 7th? And WHY the term "half"? What does half refer to?
    Last edited by skybleu; 03-25-2013 at 12:01 AM.

  6. #6
    MMus, MA, PGCE JumpingJack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    309
    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post
    Ok, so when we have a B Diminished chord with an A natural, what do we call it?
    B half-diminished seventh, or Bm7(b5).

    When it has an Ab (that's A-flat, not A-sharp as you wrote), it becomes a (fully) diminished seventh.

    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post
    In other words, which one is called DIMINISHED 7th and which one is called HALF-DIMINISHED 7th? And WHY the term "half"? What does half refer to?
    Diminished chords have the intervals of a minor third between each note.
    B-D-F for example is two minor thirds. B-D-F-Ab is three minor thirds.

    If you have an A natural, that means one of the intervals isn't a minor third anymore. It's similar but not quite the same so we call it "half-diminished".

    Incidentally, you have to be careful with the word "chord". Literally, a chord is any combination of notes played at the same time, but there are different types of chord. Broadly (and simplistically) speaking, a triad is the simplest type of chord you can have that makes musical sense. However, in some contexts (jazz for example), people are so accustomed to using seventh chords as the default, that they refer to them simply as chords. So, sometimes you might see a jazz musician refer to a "diminished chord" when what he technically means is a "diminished seventh chord" (and not a diminished triad).

  7. #7
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Twickenham, UK
    Posts
    4,959
    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post
    When we have a B Diminished with an A sharp, what do we call that?
    A dim triad can only have a minor 7th (A in this case) or a diminished 7th (Ab), one half-step less than a minor 7th. It never has a major 7th (A#).
    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post
    In other words, which one is called DIMINISHED 7th and which one is called HALF-DIMINISHED 7th? And WHY the term "half"? What does half refer to?
    The dim7 chord has two diminished intervals, 5th and 7th (b5, bb7).
    The m7b5 (half-dim) only has one (b5).

  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    26
    OK, let me forget using the C Major Scale and stacking with each note to figure out the chords in the key of C. (And the A# was a typo. I had meant Ab. Though now you're about to see me on purpose bring up A# with the route I'm about to take in trying to understand).

    So, just focusing on B type of chords, and the Key of B.

    So here's the B Major Scale: B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, and A#

    Now, I flatten the 3rd and the fifth -- the D# and the F# -- and get D and F. So I have the first, the flat3, and flat5.

    So there's my B Diminished Triad ... B D F.

    Now all triads can be made more complex. Now just as I can take a major triad and make it more "complex" -- let's say it was a B Major Triad and I went on to make a B7, or B Major 7, etc., so too can we make the other three kinds of "triads" more complex.

    The Major Triad
    The Minor Triad
    The Diminished Triad
    The Augmented Triad

    All four basic triad types can be made more complex.

    So going back to the B Diminished Triad ... which was created by taking the B Major Scale and flattening the major third interval and the perfect fifth interval. Now that last note in the scale -- the A# -- where does that fit in. I mean, is there a rule with diminished triads that that major seventh interval (A# being 11 semitones away) even though it's in the B Major scale, it just has to be flatted? Or "double flatted" (don't know the correct term). I know with major and minor chords (triads) the last degree is involved to make those triads "more complex." So how is it that the last degree, when it comes to the diminished, MUST be flatted or "double" flatted (whatever the correct term is)?

    And with that, I may have to take a day or two off and let my brain heal because I'm really straining here. Whew!

    Going back to what you said:

    A dim triad can only have a minor 7th (A in this case) or a diminished 7th (Ab), one half-step less than a minor 7th. It never has a major 7th (A#).
    Is it just that it never has a major 7 because it's too dissonant, and we flatten it once or twice to make it sound more "acceptable" as in, though maybe not pleasing to the ear, it's something that our brains can tolerate, so far as being not GROSSLY dissonant?
    Last edited by skybleu; 03-25-2013 at 12:46 AM.

  9. #9
    MMus, MA, PGCE JumpingJack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    309
    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post
    Now all triads can be made more complex. Now just as I can take a major triad and make it more "complex" -- let's say it was a B Major Triad and I went on to make a B7, or B Major 7, etc., so too can we make the other three kinds of "triads" more complex.
    Yes, exactly!

    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post
    So going back to the B Diminished Triad ... which was created by taking the B Major Scale and flattening the major third interval and the perfect fifth interval.
    Although this is true, I don't think this is the best way to think about it.
    It would be better to think in terms of intervals, specifically major and minor thirds.

    As I said before, diminished chords are constructed from minor thirds (3 semitones); there has to be a minor third between each note.
    The half-diminished seventh is a (fully) diminished seventh with the fourth note raised by one semitone.

    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post
    So that last note in the scale -- the A# -- where does that fit in. I mean, is there a rule with diminished triads that that major seventh interval (A# being 11 semitones away) even though it's in the B Major scale, and has to be flatted? Or "double flatted" (don't know the correct term).
    If you want to think about it this way, then yes, the half-diminished seventh consists of the 1st, flattened 3rd, flattened 5th and flattened 7th notes of the major scale.
    The (fully) diminished seventh consists of the 1st, flattened 3rd, flattened 5th, and double-flattened 7th notes of the major scale.

    But again, this is not really the best way to think about it.

    But at least you understand it a bit more now!

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    26
    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    But again, this is not really the best way to think about it.

    But at least you understand it a bit more now!
    OK, thanks so much for clarifying.


  11. #11
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    417
    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    Yes, exactly!



    Although this is true, I don't think this is the best way to think about it.
    It would be better to think in terms of intervals, specifically major and minor thirds.

    As I said before, diminished chords are constructed from minor thirds (3 semitones); there has to be a minor third between each note.
    The half-diminished seventh is a (fully) diminished seventh with the fourth note raised by one semitone.



    If you want to think about it this way, then yes, the half-diminished seventh consists of the 1st, flattened 3rd, flattened 5th and flattened 7th notes of the major scale.
    The (fully) diminished seventh consists of the 1st, flattened 3rd, flattened 5th, and double-flattened 7th notes of the major scale.

    But again, this is not really the best way to think about it.

    But at least you understand it a bit more now!
    It may not be the best way, but there's a reason for that. I think JonR pointed this out. This is to Skybleu, but the reason is aurally.

    Many, if not told, will confuse the bb7 for 6 (bb7 =/= 6) The other more efficient way tp see this if you just look at the interval between the first and last note. I know there's the whole symmetrical/enharmonic thing, but that isn't what I'm discussing (not entirely)

    Take Gdim7 (which resolves to Ab major or minor - and has the two tritones - non essential points here) However, symmetry and enharmonics definitely come into play when you put in the middle notes (b3, b5). Anyway, the bread of the chord (sans context) consists of a G and E. Yet, (here's where symmetry comes in), those two notes are present in the Edim7 as well (R-b3). Not to mention Bb and Dbdim7. Throw in enharmonics (Fbdim7, Abbdim7, heh you get it.) This is why you find double-flatted notes on the ends of chords (not always, but again this depends on context. Meaning solely aural deciphering is problematic)

    Take Abdim7. It's clear that the top note is F; however, F up to Ab is a minor third or a major sixth - Ab up to F. Yet, the latter context, the guideline for a dim7 the most outer notes (R-7) must be a dim7 apart. This is an interval most people do not recognize when isolated.

    Conversely, if we named it G#dim7 - this clearly meets both conditions (especially, the one most miss) G#-F is a d7, If you're not sure the inverted interval is an A2 (or Augmented Second - as in F-G# (not Ab) (this interval is found in the Harmonic Minor scale - which JonR covered); however, most also don't catch the A2; therefore calling it an m3 because that's how it sounds. Come to think of it, most don't recognize those other intervals at all (the rest of the augs and dims - apart from the A4/d5 interval which is the b5/#11 note - the tritone)

    This is why half-dims are somewhat of a problem, too (and this is what you get if you call the end note of a fully diminished seventh 6). IOW, C-Eb-Gb-A =/= Cdim7, but Am7b5 (6/5). However, C-Eb-Gb-Bbb is Cdim7. Therefore, with C up to A being a M6 (m3) C up Bbb is a d7 (A2), The latter sounds like the former when isolated, so be aware of context. Which means you may have to think R-b3-b5-bb7 or at least the R-bb7 part until you are very familiar with you. Once you are familiar with it, you can forgo this train of thought.

    But yes, a stack of minor thirds, is the best way to think about it; however, don't necessarily ignore context if/when provided and this being the reason for the distinction between half/full dims.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    86
    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post



    Vogl says it's diminished. Jay Skylar says it's called half-diminished/minor7b5. Who is right?


    And further complicating my understanding, my Mel Bay Chord Dictionary says a "B Diminished" has the notes B - D -F - Ab. It calls it just Diminished.

    ?
    B-D-F is a B Diminished (triad) chord.

    B-D-F-A is a B Half-Diminished Seven(th) chord.

    B-D-F-Ab is a B Fully-Diminished Seven(th) chord.

    These are the proper names for them.

    In Jazz, where not everyone learned "proper" names and started calling things whatever they did, they call B-D-F-A Bm7b5. So a m7b5 is the same thing as a Half-Diminished Seventh chord.

    In Classical analysis, the word "fully" is often dropped when the context is clear that the diminished seventh chord you're talking about is fully-diminished. However, they don't ever not say "seventh" unless it's absolutely clear seventh chords are being discussed. When they say "C diminished" they mean C-Eb-Gb, and when they want C-Eb-Gb-Bbb they'll say "C diminished seven(th)" or when the context is not clear, "C fully-diminished seven(th)".

    Again, in Jazz, it's assumed that 7th chord is the basic structure so they when they say "diminished" they always mean a diminished seven(th) chord, because otherwise they'll use m7b5 (some jazzers use the term "half-diminished" but m7b5 is way more common IME).

    Mel Bay and Vogl are jazzers. Skylar must be an academic theorist, hence the difference in terminology.

    And for you, you'll have to learn when someone says "diminished" whether they mean fully-diminished seven or a diminished triad based on the context.

    Best,
    Steve

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    86
    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post

    In other words, which one is called DIMINISHED 7th and which one is called HALF-DIMINISHED 7th? And WHY the term "half"? What does half refer to?
    Oh boy, I get to do this explanation again.

    In academic theory, 7th chords are named in two "parts", the "triad part" and the "7th part".

    Each 7th chord type has a unique structure of triad and 7th:

    M7, short for MM7 = Major triad + M7 interval (from the root)
    7, short for Mm7 = Major triad + m7 interval
    m7, short for mm7 = minor triad + m7 interval
    %7, short for om7 = diminished triad + m7 interval
    o7, short for oo7 = diminished triad + o7 interval

    note: I'm using "%" for the half-diminished symbol

    The "half diminished" name is because HALF of the structure is diminished - the triad part. The other is called "fully" diminished because BOTH halves are diminished - the triad part and the 7th part.

    In text, many theorists refer to chords with the structure of a Dominant 7 as a "major minor 7" or Mm7, though when we write the symbol, it's simply "7".

    BTW, classical music didn't use a minor chord with a major 7th, but jazz guys followed the same principle and called it a "minor major 7", or mM7.

    Steve

  14. #14
    Registered User Color of Music's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    417
    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post

    And for you, you'll have to learn when someone says "diminished" whether they mean fully-diminished seven or a diminished triad based on the context.

    Often though, diminished chords are not played as triads whether jazz or classical (due to context as you say), but note that they're interweaved within dominant sevenths; therefore, a distinction has to be made.

    Is this (C-E-G-Bb) C7 or C + E-G-Bb) Edim/C The same "problem" you get with dim7s and 7b9s (E-G-Bb-Db / C-E-G-Bb-Db)

    Clearly, the main reason is because dim7s sound richer/darker/fuller (hence the other reason term "fully diminished" )due to having two tense tritones instead of one

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    86
    Quote Originally Posted by skybleu View Post

    Is it just that it never has a major 7 because it's too dissonant, and we flatten it once or twice to make it sound more "acceptable" as in, though maybe not pleasing to the ear, it's something that our brains can tolerate, so far as being not GROSSLY dissonant?
    No, it's because originally, when people started building 7th chords, they did it diatonically within the key.

    If you stack up 4 notes on every scale degree in a Major scale, you only get 4 types of 7th chords: M7 (I and IV), m7 (ii, iii, and vi), 7 (or Mm7 on V), and %7 (vii).

    In minor, you actually get the same ones though they're rotated to different numbers.

    But, because of the possibility of raising the 7th note in minor, one more type was possible, and that's the fully-diminished seventh on vii.

    These were the only types in classical music. They did start using V+ and Vo triads (G-B-D#-F and G-B-Db-F) towards the Romantic Period (paving the way for "altered dominants" in jazz).

    In jazz, players started adding notes based on a scale rather than a key or a functional harmony, so they ended up with other possibilities - 7#5 and m7b5 (already mentioned) as well as things like mM7 (C-Eb-G-B).

    But even though jazz players used more alterations and extensions than classical people, they still, at least initially, stuck to relatively familiar scales.

    Don't think of "flatting" or "double flatting" a note. Chords are "built" on scale degrees, and that's how we get the different types. You can use the formula on any note and start from Major as you did. But you can't just "add a diatonic note" to a triad your making by altering major scale notes. If you want a 7th chord on B, you need to use one of the "accepted" formulas:

    M7 - 1 3 5 7
    7 - 1 3 5 b7
    m7 - 1 b3 5 b7
    m7b5 - 1 b3 b5 b7
    o7 - 1 b3 b5 bb7

    mM7 - 1 b3 5 7
    7(#5) - 1 3 #5 b 7

    etc.

    There's no 1 b3 b5 7 (would be a mM7(b5) !) because there's no way to build that using notes of a traditional scale.

    Steve

Similar Threads

  1. Minor 9th Chord (stacking question/problem)
    By skybleu in forum Music Theory
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 03-27-2013, 12:27 PM
  2. half whole and whole half diminished scale question
    By drumdead10000 in forum Music Theory
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-29-2010, 09:36 AM
  3. 9th, half diminished and minor 6 chords
    By joeyd929 in forum Music Theory
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-24-2010, 08:31 AM
  4. Question: About Lydian Diminished?
    By dwest2419 in forum Getting Started
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 03-20-2008, 08:03 AM
  5. Replies: 25
    Last Post: 12-06-2006, 12:06 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •