Diminished Chords: How Quickly Can You Learn All 12?
Good morning, this is Duane, and today I’d like to take a look at diminished chords, diminished triads. We’ve been taking a look at chord formations such as major chords, and minor chords, and augmented chords, and now I’d like to take the fourth kind of chord which is called a diminished chord, or a diminished triad, triad meaning a three note chord, like a tricycle. If a major chord is like that, and it is, the root, third, and fifth of a major scale; and if a minor chord is like that, by lowering the third, which it is; then a diminished chord or triad is like that. We lower not only the third, but the fifth as well, so the third and fifth are both lowered. You’ve heard this kind of thing. Well that’s a diminished chord going to a major chord, that kind of sequence. You hear that in boogie and so on, in ragtime, I think.
Major chord is root, third, and fifth, so a minor chord is root, flat third, and fifth, diminished triad is root, flat third, and flat fifth. Let’s go onto the F chord now. That’s the F major chord, that would be F minor, and F diminished you’d flat that C and call it C flat, you can’t call it B, you got to call it C flat for reasons of music theory. That’s the G major chord, G minor chord, G diminished chord. D major chord, D minor chord, D diminished chord. E major, E minor, E diminished. A major, A minor, A diminished. D flat major, D flat minor, remember we lower F to F flat, can’t call it E, got to call it F flat, and we lower A flat, the fifth, to what looks like G but we got to call it A double-flat, that’s A double flat, so that’s D flat-diminished.
E flat major, E flat minor, E flat diminished by lowering B flat to B double flat. A flat major, A flat minor, A flat diminished by lowering the E flat to E double flat. G flat major, G flat minor, G flat diminished by lowering D flat to D double flat. B major, B minor, B diminished. Now that’s the only diminished chord that’s all white. Can you remember that? B diminished is the only diminished chord that’s all while. Then B flat major, B flat minor, and B flat diminished. If you recall, when we covered major chords, there were three major chords that were all white. What were they? That’s right: C, F, and G. There was three minor chords that were all white: D minor, E minor, and A minor.
There’s no augmented chords that are all white, but there is one diminished chord that’s all white and that’s B diminished. We have 12 major chords, 12 minor chords, 12 diminished chords, and 12 augmented chords, so let’s go through those 48 chords. You know 48 chords, and of course you can play them all over the keyboard. Once you know C major you can play it here, upside down, you can break it up. Once you know C minor you can play it all over the keyboard. Once you know C diminished you can play it over the keyboard. Once you know C augmented you can play it all over the keyboard.
Let’s go through the 48 chords right now. C major, C minor, C diminished, C augmented. F major, F minor, F diminished, F augmented. G major, G minor, G diminished, G augmented. D major, D minor, D diminished, D augmented. E major, E minor, E diminished, E augmented. A major, minor, diminished, augmented. D flat major, minor, diminished, augmented. E flat major, minor, diminished, augmented. A flat major, minor, diminished, augmented. G flat major, minor, diminished, augmented. B major, minor, diminished, augmented. B flat major, minor, diminished, and augmented.
When I was teaching in my studio, I had little kids, young kids that could play all those 48 chords in just a matter of seconds. Maybe, I don’t remember what it is now, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, something like that, but they could whiz through them. They had better reactions than I did. They were going like this. I can’t even keep up with that, but they learned the chords. They got them under their fingers and then we broke them up into arpeggios like that and so on, so you can do the same by mastering chords. You don’t have to wonder about it your whole life. You know 48 chords now, so if you rehearse those 48 chords over and over again, you’re going to know those for a lifetime.
Tomorrow we’ll take up diminished seventh chords. That’s a different animal. It’s a diminished triad with a double flatted seventh, and that’s what it is. That’s an amazing chord that we’re going to take up tomorrow. It’s amazing because you can do so much with it. You can go many places with it, and we’ll cover those … I think there’s at least seven different things you can do with that chord, so we’ll talk about that tomorrow. If you like this kind of thing, come on over to playpiano.com and sign up for our free piano tips. You get a tip like this most every day, and I think you’ll enjoy it. Bye-bye for now.