#1
Alright, every diatonic scale has one chord which lacks a perfect fifth, so people often mention the use of the diminished chord there instead. Why is it that nobody ever (or at least very rarely) uses a perfect fourth there instead of the diminished fifth? Or am I just missing any examples of it? Of course, this applies to chords that have perfect fifths too, but this particular point was what stuck out to me. For example, the 2nd chord in Gm and Em respectively:

    Am    F#m
e x x
b 1 x
G 2 4
D 0 4
A 0 0
E x 2


I do recognise that the 4th is rather dissonant when used with a major third, but it seems fine to me with a minor one. Thoughts? Am I being an idiot?

Edit: to everyone who seems to think I particularly dislike the diminished fifth, I don't - I'm just voicing this as a possible alternative
Last edited by CartoonPiranha at Jul 16, 2013,
#2
Amadd4 and Fmadd4 will be better as

0-
3-0
5-2
--
0-
--2

They're known as "add" chords b/c they don't contain a 7th.
Last edited by mdc at Jul 15, 2013,
#3
Your Amadd4 has A (root), G (minor 7th) and E (perfect fifth). This has the perfect fifth I was trying to avoid, and a minor 7th rather than a third. Your F#madd4 has F# (root), E (minor 7th) and B (perfect fourth), which again has the 7th instead of a third.. Correct me if I'm wrong, and sorry if I wasn't very clear.

Anyway, to my point:

A typical Am contains A (root), C (minor third) and E (perfect fifth). What I'm on about is something with A (root), C (minor third) and D (perfect fourth).

To give another example of the idea, F#m is F# (root), A (minor third) and C# (perfect fifth). My version is F# (root), A (minor third) and B (perfect fourth).
#4
lol you don't know the notes on the fretboard, then. Look at my tabs again... don't play the top e string on the Amadd4 if you don't want.

5ths aren't very important.
Last edited by mdc at Jul 15, 2013,
#5
Not sure what you're asking, but to avoid the diminished chord in the scale I generally use a IV chord in 1st inversion, with the 3rd note in the bass. This keeps the semitone resolution while doing away with the ugly diminished 5th.
#6
lol you don't know the notes on the fretboard, then. Look at my tabs again...

In all fairness, they haven't formatted properly :P

Not sure what you're asking, but to avoid the diminished chord in the scale I generally use a IV chord in 1st inversion, with the 3rd note in the bass. This keeps the semitone resolution while doing away with the ugly diminished 5th.


This is useful advice, thanks
#7
What's your point? Why would people need to use a fourth instead of a fifth? If your point was that you can always use a perfect fourth, that's wrong. If you harmonized the major scale with perfect fourths only, it wouldn't be diatonic.

For example C major scale harmonized with perfect fourths.

Root 4th
C    F
D    G
E    A
F    Bb
G    C
A    D
B    E


Oh, and why couldn't people just play diminished chords? What's the point of avoiding diminished fifths?

You can also replace the diminished vii chord with the V7 chord (with third in bass). It sounds almost the same, they have pretty much the same function.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

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Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
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Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jul 15, 2013,
#8
Why would people need to use a fourth instead of a fifth?


Not that you'd have to, but that you could, and yet (as far as I know) hardly anyone does.

why couldn't people just play diminished chords? What's the point of avoiding diminished fifths?


Because sometimes we want something less dissonant?
#11
Some Miles Davis but not necessarily his playing. More the piano. There are lots of quartal stacks going on in that music. It may not be easy on the ears if you haven't ventured into that realm of music before, but no harm in trying.
#12
Quote by CartoonPiranha
Not that you'd have to, but that you could, and yet (as far as I know) hardly anyone does.


Because sometimes we want something less dissonant?

You could just not play the diminished fifth (only play root, 3rd and 7th) or replace the vii dim chord with a V7 as I said in my last post.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#13
You could just not play the diminished fifth (only play root, 3rd and 7th) or replace the vii dim chord with a V7 as I said in my last post.


I must have done a crap job of explaining this haha. I mean exactly this, except for with the perfect fourth and not the 7th - although as you say, using the 7th and omitting the 5th is a perfectly viable option

Some Miles Davis but not necessarily his playing. More the piano. There are lots of quartal stacks going on in that music. It may not be easy on the ears if you haven't ventured into that realm of music before, but no harm in trying.


Hey, there's only one way to get to know it and that's by listening. I do like some jazz, I've just never really particularly ventured in to it - one of those things that I'll enjoy if someone else puts it on but I'd not particularly seek out, if that makes sense? Thanks!
Last edited by CartoonPiranha at Jul 15, 2013,
#14
Quote by CartoonPiranha
Not that you'd have to, but that you could, and yet (as far as I know) hardly anyone does.

You probably haven't been looking in the right place then. Certain types of Jazz do this a lot.

Because sometimes we want something less dissonant?

It could be argued that such dissonance pushes back to consonance. So, it has its function.
#15
It could be argued that such dissonance pushes back to consonance. So, it has its function.


I never said there was anything inherently wrong with diminished chords, they undoubtably have their place, I'm just wondering about alternatives.
#16
Quote by CartoonPiranha
I never said there was anything inherently wrong with diminished chords, they undoubtably have their place, I'm just wondering about alternatives.

That's great. I'm stating that I don't think there's need for alternatives.
#17
Quote by CartoonPiranha
I never said there was anything inherently wrong with diminished chords, they undoubtably have their place, I'm just wondering about alternatives.

Nice. Wondering is a good thing. Being curious is essential to intelligence whether it be of an artistic or scientific leaning.

The next step is to try out your idea. Use your theory that one could replace the diminished fifth with a perfect fourth and see how it works.

I haven't tried it out myself but don't see why it couldn't. Though it would end up as an add11 chord. The reason being that the perfect fifth is present in the root's overtone series. If it is left out then it is implied by the presence of that overtone. To change the quality of the fifth you actually have to play a dissonant fifth such as a diminished fifth.

Of course that doesn't really matter as it doesn't mean your idea won't work.

In some situations it might weaken the resolution which could be a good thing.

In a major key the diminished triad is built off the leading tone. The root of that diminished triad moves up a half step to the tonic note and the diminished fifth in that dim triad moves down a half step to the major third in the tonic triad. Hence by putting the fourth in there you are missing out on that half step move.

In a minor key (like your example) this could work as the dim triad is on the second degree and you would effectively be weakening the resolution to the bIII chord.

However if you replace that fifth with a fourth you have an inverted perfect fifth interval. And depending on the way you voice your chord it might actually function as a dom7 chord in the minor key.

For example in Gm the chord in question would be Adim (A C Eb). If we replace the Eb with a D we have A C D. The V7 chord in Gm would be D7 (D F# A C). The F# of course is the leading tone and not diatonic to the natural minor scale. If we put the A in the bass and drop the third we would have A C D.

And so whether we view that as an Am(add11) chord or a D7 would depend entirely on the context and how it functions.

So no I don't think you're being an idiot. Quite the opposite actually, you saw a problem with the diminished fifth in certain circumstances and used creative thinking to find a solution that worked for you. To some extent that's what it's all about.

====
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
That's great. I'm stating that I don't think there's need for alternatives.
Chord substitutions? Inversions? Secondary Dominants? and a whole lot of theory are simply "alternative" solutions for when the "typical" option isn't quite doing what you want it to.
Si
#18
There's only one diminished chord in a diatonic scale, and it's either used for a distinct purpose like iiº, or is very rarely used, like viiº. In either case, the tritone is pretty essential to the chord unless you're using that root for some other function, in which case it's no longer ii or vii per se. Really, that tritone is the whole point of those chords, except when you want to change their function.

I suspect your issue is with the niche "traditional" sound of iiº and viiº, which is distinctive and has such a tendency to resolve in "traditional" way.

A good way to get around that is to look at how those tense chords resolve and come up with other ways of resolving in the same matter from different roots, different directions, different interval size, etc. Lots of strong resolutions are built on stepwise motion between chord tones, even if the root is moving by 5th.

If you like the sound of really tight stepwise resolutions, think of how else you can approach your "target" harmony through stepwise motion with a chord.
#19
To 20Tigers: a sincere thank you for taking the time to write such an in-depth answer, I'll play around with what you've said and try to remember it all.

cdgraves: resolutions are one of the parts of theory I've not really delved in to as of yet, but it seems like now could be the time. I don't have an issue with any particular chords, I just wanted to explore something different and was curious as to why it was so rarely seen/mentioned (outside of jazz, in concession to those who have mentioned examples) and what people's thoughts were.

To anyone going, would it be more convenient/proper/whatever else to consider it a triad with a double flat fifth instead?
#20
Quote by CartoonPiranha
To anyone going, would it be more convenient/proper/whatever else to consider it a triad with a double flat fifth instead?

No. They're simply what I said before...
Quote by mdc
They're known as "add" chords b/c they don't contain a 7th.
#21
Quote by CartoonPiranha
Your Amadd4 has A (root), G (minor 7th) and E (perfect fifth). This has the perfect fifth I was trying to avoid, and a minor 7th rather than a third. Your F#madd4 has F# (root), E (minor 7th) and B (perfect fourth), which again has the 7th instead of a third.. Correct me if I'm wrong, and sorry if I wasn't very clear.

Anyway, to my point:

A typical Am contains A (root), C (minor third) and E (perfect fifth). What I'm on about is something with A (root), C (minor third) and D (perfect fourth).

To give another example of the idea, F#m is F# (root), A (minor third) and C# (perfect fifth). My version is F# (root), A (minor third) and B (perfect fourth).


I'm not quite sure what you are asking. Taking an a minor chord, and leaving out the E and substituting it with a D would make me think the chord is a D7 chord with a missing third (If I was looking at it without context.) It could also be an a minor chord with some sort of a non chord tone added to it.
#22
Quote by CartoonPiranha
To 20Tigers: a sincere thank you for taking the time to write such an in-depth answer, I'll play around with what you've said and try to remember it all.

cdgraves: resolutions are one of the parts of theory I've not really delved in to as of yet, but it seems like now could be the time. I don't have an issue with any particular chords, I just wanted to explore something different and was curious as to why it was so rarely seen/mentioned (outside of jazz, in concession to those who have mentioned examples) and what people's thoughts were.

To anyone going, would it be more convenient/proper/whatever else to consider it a triad with a double flat fifth instead?



Well the tritone only occurs on two diatonic chords in any major or minor key, and it begs for resolution because it's an inherently unstable sound. Generally, if you want to avoid such an unstable diatonic harmony, you would choose a non-diatonic chord.

Learn up on basic harmonic resolution and you'll see broader ideas of how notes move within chords that you can apply to generate interesting non-diatonic sounds.