#1
Hi guys
I just wanna ask you this
Why the fully diminished seventh note doesn't belong to the scale
For example : in key of F major ( F G A Bb C D E F )
I want to play E diminished seventh chord (1-3b-5b-7bb) = (E-G-Bb-Db)
As you can see ... the the fourth note which is (7bb = Db ) doesn't belong to the F major key
Why? and can I play it ?
And when to use Diminished seventh chord ?
Last edited by fears.saqal at Sep 10, 2015,
#2
Edim7 is diatonic to F minor. However, the writing of the chord (e-g-bfl-dfl) indicates that the D has been lowered. This creates a stronger resolution to the C note in the F major chord (D-Db-C, chord F-A-C) ultimately.
#3
No combination of intervals in the major scale can yield a dim7 ... nearest possibilities are dim triad and m7b5.

But harmonic and melodic minor scales can.

Don't get hung up on "can't play it due to theory". Very often, we mix up chords drawn from different scale types, to get more interest, draw more attention to something. There really is no such thing as a wrong note ... the issue is hw to deal with where a non-scale (or non-chord) note goes next to reduce the tension it audibly creates. (e.g. in C major, playing a b2 (Db) sounds horrendous if you hold it for ages, but if you play it breifly, and then move to C (perhaps via B), it all sounds fine.

So, a dim7 could be borrowed, and you'd use any one of its pitches (the 1, b3, b5 or bb7) that is a semitone below a chord in the major scale.

e.g. In simple progression C Dm Em C G

you could add some more movement to this by

C Dm D#dim7 Em Bdim7 C F#dim7 G

D# is a semitone below E.
B a semitone below C,
F# a semitone below G.

or here's another example

C Dm Cdim7 Em Cdim7 C Adim7 G

Here, Eb is a semitone below the Em. But Eb dim7 also has C in it, and C dim7 is effectively same as Ebdim7. Similarly, F# is a semitone below G, and F#dim7 has an A (its b3), and Adim7 is effectively same as F#dim7.

Pragmatically, this means, given a target note, you can play a dim7 rooted off a pitch found

- a semitone below the target.
- 4 semitones below (visualise a maj 3rd interval shape, whose top pitch is your target)
- 2 semitones above the target
- 5 semitones above the target

Melodically, if the dim7 is fleeting (it usually is), you could completely ignore it melodically, and just use C major for a melody with the chords above ... though of course you couod choose to use one or more of the pitches in the dim7 in the melody.

Main thing to remember ... it is not a requirement to exactly match a chord's intervals with a melody note. And when you play a (mainly) diatonic progression in say major, then it's a very good idea to base a melody a lot around the tonic triad (i.e use these pitches a lot, connected to by the others), regardless of what the progression is doing

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Sep 10, 2015,
#4
Dim7 chords can move in 3 ways - and only 3 (due to their symmetry). Or rather, any possible move can be reduced to one of 3 kinds.

1. One note (any note) of the dim7 moves up a half-step to the root of the following chord = vii of following chord.
This is often seen as a sub for V of following chord, but the "leading tone chord" is a chord in its own right.
As Neo says, it's diatonic to a minor key, but is often borrowed to resolve to a major; and it can be used in a secondary context too.
E.g., Edim7 will resolve to Fm, or F major, whatever key you find the Fm or F chord in.
This is the most common use of dim7s by far. (You can see Edim7 as a rootless C7b9 if it helps, but you don't need to.)

2. One note (any note) of the dim7 is the same as the root of the following chord = "common-tone diminished".
A common example of this is the #IVdim7 in bar 6 of a jazz blues. E.g., F#dim7 in key of C (and resolving to C). F#dim7 has a C note, which makes it a common tone diminished, even if the bass is moving from F# to G. (If it was actually moving to a G chord, then it would be vii of G, as in usage #1 above.)

3. One note (any note) of the dim7 moves down a half-step to the root of the following chord. This is a fairly rare usage, and typically occurs between two min7 chords a whole tone apart. E.g., Fm7 - Edim7 - Ebm7.
You see this in a few jazz tunes, such as Night and Day, Body and Soul, and one or two Jobim tunes.
There's an argument that this is just the vii of the preceding chord (ie a reverse of usage #1).

In all three of these, there is chromatic voice-leading (up or down or both), and that's generally the way they work.
Last edited by jongtr at Sep 10, 2015,
#5
Quote by fears.saqal
Hi guys
I just wanna ask you this
Why the fully diminished seventh note doesn't belong to the scale
For example : in key of F major ( F G A Bb C D E F )
I want to play E diminished seventh chord (1-3b-5b-7bb) = (E-G-Bb-Db)
As you can see ... the the fourth note which is (7bb = Db ) doesn't belong to the F major key
Why? and can I play it ?
And when to use Diminished seventh chord ?


do some research on the diminished scale..it has many chords and functions embedded in it that can be used with or in place of the diminished scale function
play well

wolf
#6
Quote by fears.saqal
Hi guys
I just wanna ask you this
Why the fully diminished seventh note doesn't belong to the scale
For example : in key of F major ( F G A Bb C D E F )
I want to play E diminished seventh chord (1-3b-5b-7bb) = (E-G-Bb-Db)
As you can see ... the the fourth note which is (7bb = Db ) doesn't belong to the F major key
Why? and can I play it ?
And when to use Diminished seventh chord ?

Not all notes you play need to belong to the key. It's OK to use accidentals, and a lot of songs do that.

Playing Edim7 in the key of F is kind of the same as playing C7b9 in the key of F. Yes, Db is not diatonic to the key, but so what? It's a very common accidental in the key of F.

If you think it sounds good, use it. You could look at it as being borrowed from the parallel minor (F minor). Most of the time non-diatonic chords are borrowed from the parallel key.


Don't treat theory as rules that you need to follow. Theory just explains what's happening in music. And we have a name for this thing - it's called modal mixture or chord borrowing. And it's very common.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#9
Quote by edg
A diminished 7th chord comes from the diminished scale, NOT the major scale.
Well, it can, but originally it comes from the vii degree of harmonic minor - as a functional chord within the minor key.

The diminished scale is a synthetic scale invented to fit it (a good improv scale on any dim7).
#10
Quote by jongtr
Well, it can, but originally it comes from the vii degree of harmonic minor - as a functional chord within the minor key.

The diminished scale is a synthetic scale invented to fit it (a good improv scale on any dim7).


Yeah. That's true as well.

I really like using the diminished arpeggio in blues. I.e. if playing G blues, play a G diminished arpeggio then slide to a chord tone (if not already on one)
#11
Quote by edg
A diminished 7th chord comes from the diminished scale, NOT the major scale.
The closest you will find in your F Major scale, is the E HALF diminished chord.

The diminished 7th chord came from a melodic decoration, just like everything else. Even saying it's borrowed from harmonic minor blows my fucking mind.
#12
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
The diminished 7th chord came from a melodic decoration, just like everything else. Even saying it's borrowed from harmonic minor blows my fucking mind.


I guess you were referring to jongtr about the harmonic minor.

If we're strictly relating scales to chords, then a diminished 7th chord can be formed from the diminished scale like the major 7th chord can be formed from the major scale. But, I think we're starting to get into semantics here and some people may be getting confused.
#13
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
The diminished 7th chord came from a melodic decoration, just like everything else. Even saying it's borrowed from harmonic minor blows my fucking mind.
Well, I wouldn't say it's literally "borrowed from harmonic minor" - and not only because I'd be worried about blowing such an impressive mind.

My understanding is that it's the conventional vii chord in a classical minor key, as a result of the practice of raising the 7th degree to form a leading tone. That practice (AFAIK) - which also produces the major V chord - is known as harmonic minor.

If that's the case (or a reasonable way of viewing the case), then it makes sense to say that the use of a dim7 as vii in a major key is "borrowed from the parallel minor key" (not quite from "harmonic minor").

But I do like the thought that it "came from a melodic decoration, just like everything else". I'm guessing that refers to the minor key leading tone, but it's a nice perspective on the whole of harmony itself. It doesn't explain anything, but then music theory is not supposed to do that anyway!

If I'm misunderstanding you - and if you think I've got my history seriously wrong - I'd appreciate correction.
#14
The raised seventh explains the diminished triad in minor and by extension the diminished seventh in minor, but it doesn't explain the diminished seventh in major. The part that blew my mind was the implication that the diminished seventh chord in major is borrowed from minor (because of b6). In real life the diminished seventh chord (and half diminished and dominant seventh and augmented sixth and ninth chords and and and) started its life as a melodic decoration that was then pulled back onto the beat. It's just a 5-b6-5 upper neighbour that's been elided onto the beat. Any harmonic explanation beyond that is just making stuff up to make it fit into a way of thinking, such as every chord is somehow derived from a scale. Not that it bothers me that much or that I care that much or that creating synthetic derivations can't be useful (for example, jazz weirdos get use out of looking at the octatonic scale as two interlocking diminished 7th chords even though it didn't really start its life that way).

I was just #shook and #rattled by the diminished scale mention tbh. At the end of the day it doesn't really matter except I'm right and everyone else is wrong.
#15
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
The raised seventh explains the diminished triad in minor and by extension the diminished seventh in minor, but it doesn't explain the diminished seventh in major. The part that blew my mind was the implication that the diminished seventh chord in major is borrowed from minor (because of b6).
you seem to have an easily blowable mind.
Quote by jazz_rock_feel

In real life the diminished seventh chord (and half diminished and dominant seventh and augmented sixth and ninth chords and and and) started its life as a melodic decoration that was then pulled back onto the beat. It's just a 5-b6-5 upper neighbour that's been elided onto the beat.
I see where you're coming from. But a b6 can be also be used in passing between 6 and 5, yes? Or is there evidence for its origin in a 5-b6-5 embellishment?

I do see the argument that the b6 (ie the bb7 on a major key vii chord) is simply a chromatic alteration, and invoking the concept of "borrowing" the chord from elsewhere is somewhat heavy-handed and unnecessary. But I find the concept of "borrowed chords" is a useful one in many other contexts, even if (in individual cases) it doesn't quite match with how such practices developed or originated.
Quote by jazz_rock_feel

Any harmonic explanation beyond that is just making stuff up to make it fit into a way of thinking, such as every chord is somehow derived from a scale.
That's a common enough "explanation" of course, but I can (I think) see the problem with it, and I always like an alternative angle.
What would be your view on where chords come from? Is it historic, or just a way of looking at harmony as it is now?
Quote by jazz_rock_feel

Not that it bothers me that much or that I care that much or that creating synthetic derivations can't be useful (for example, jazz weirdos get use out of looking at the octatonic scale as two interlocking diminished 7th chords even though it didn't really start its life that way).
Right. The origin of something is not always the most practical way of understanding it.
E.g., I don't care too much what the origin of the octatonic scale is, but I find it very useful (for playing purposes) to see it exactly as a dim7 arpeggio with another a half-step below; or a dim7 with chromatic approaches.
Quote by jazz_rock_feel

I was just #shook and #rattled by the diminished scale mention tbh.
Yes, I saw that as unnecessary. The link with harmonic minor makes more sense to me - even if "derivation" or "borrowing" are tricky concepts there.
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
At the end of the day it doesn't really matter except I'm right and everyone else is wrong.
Well, of course! I know the feeling. Does get exasperating, don't it?


Sometimes you just have to let everyone else be wrong: let them get on with it, stewing in their pit of ignorance, and maintain a dignified distance. The prophet is never honoured in his own land...
#16
Well for what it's worth JRF is right.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#17
Quote by Jet Penguin
Well for what it's worth JRF is right.

It's a burden being right all the time tbh

So I kinda forgot this thread existed, but just to finish up...
Quote by jongtr
you seem to have an easily blowable mind.
I see where you're coming from. But a b6 can be also be used in passing between 6 and 5, yes? Or is there evidence for its origin in a 5-b6-5 embellishment?

I do see the argument that the b6 (ie the bb7 on a major key vii chord) is simply a chromatic alteration, and invoking the concept of "borrowing" the chord from elsewhere is somewhat heavy-handed and unnecessary. But I find the concept of "borrowed chords" is a useful one in many other contexts, even if (in individual cases) it doesn't quite match with how such practices developed or originated.
That's a common enough "explanation" of course, but I can (I think) see the problem with it, and I always like an alternative angle.
What would be your view on where chords come from? Is it historic, or just a way of looking at harmony as it is now?

When I say 5-b6-5 I'm talking about a specific melodic decoration that embellishes an already existing dominant function chord.



In practice that's how the diminished seventh chord would've been initially introduced. Theoretically it's just an extension of the diminished VII triad (much like in practice the dominant seventh started as a 5-4-3 passing motion but is theoretically an extension of the dominant triad). The chromatic really doesn't matter as it's just a different colour. Borrowing is a way to explain some things (my personal favourite to do around here is explaining that the Neapolitan sixth chord is actually a borrowed Phrygian II). Ultimately though I'm not sure how useful it is to think of things that way. At least not from a compositional or analytical point of view and I'm not sure how it could be useful from a playing standpoint. It's really just different colours created by chromatics. They rarely if ever affect function.
#18
Thanks JRF, all understood. (That "would've" sounds like a guess, but you clearly know more than me on the history of these things.)

Could the Ab (in this example) have also been a passing chromatic from an A natural on a previous chord (say Dm)? Or is that really the same thing as you're explaining? Or would that have been a less likely move at that period of history?
Last edited by jongtr at Sep 16, 2015,
#19
Not really no. There's no way for an offbeat decoration with a b6 to result in a diminished seventh chord other than what I showed. Plus one of the key aspects is that you're embellishing an already existing dominant function.
#20
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Not really no. There's no way for an offbeat decoration with a b6 to result in a diminished seventh chord other than what I showed. Plus one of the key aspects is that you're embellishing an already existing dominant function.
Just so I can be sure...

I was thinking of something like this (excuse tab, it's easier to organise than notation):

-10---10--8----
-10---9----8----
-10---10--9------
-10---9---10----
-----------------
-----------------

I recognise this is probably all wrong within a certain period style. Happy to be shot down in flames if so .
Last edited by jongtr at Sep 17, 2015,
#21
First of all, tab is gayer than aids and takes me a million years to read. Second first of all, that voiceleading works and there's nothing wrong with it, but it's a different thing than my example. Mine is an offbeat melodic decoration that embellishes a dominant function chord that already exists. Yours is a chord change that introduces a new dominant function chord. Watch this though:

#22
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
First of all, tab is gayer than aids and takes me a million years to read. Second first of all, that voiceleading works and there's nothing wrong with it, but it's a different thing than my example. Mine is an offbeat melodic decoration that embellishes a dominant function chord that already exists. Yours is a chord change that introduces a new dominant function chord. Watch this though:

Thanks. I realise your example was different, which was why I though it wasn't answering my original question (can dim7 chords arrive from some other place). Which is why I clarified.

But your own clarification is valuable and instructive, thanks. Not sure about your opinion on tab, gay, or aids, mind you...