Diminished Chords

Recently I was watching a tutorial on how to transition from first to second tone chords (or 1-2 couples). The instructor said one could go from the 1 chord to a ♭2 diminished chord and then the 2 chord. This got me thinking. If diminished chords could be used in transitioning from the 1 chord to a 2 chord, is there anything else it could be used for? Curious, I decided to do a bit of research on the subject and ran into an excellent Youtube video that threw more light on it. Here I will discuss briefly what I have learnt about diminished chords: how they are formed and when to use them.

Diminished chord is one of four basic chords, the others being Major, Minor and Augmented. To form a diminished C chord for example, you start with the C note, then place the next finger on the note one minor third away, i.e. E♭, and the last finger on the note one minor third further, i.e. G♭. So, C E♭ G♭ are the notes in the C dim chord. If you want to extend it, then you can go a further minor third away to A and you have C dim7. So, generally, tones of diminished chords are minor third intervals apart.

Something interesting to note about diminished chords is that the diminished 7 chord of each tone in a given diminished 7 chord shares the same notes as all the other tones in the chord. For example. Consider Cdim7 comprising C E♭ G♭ A. Considering the second inversion of the chord E♭ G♭ A C, we have E♭dim7 chord. Taking the third inversion G♭ A C E♭, we have G♭dim7 and the fourth inversion A C E♭ G♭ is simply the same as Adim7. A consequence of this is that for all twelve tones of a scale, there only three types of dim7 chords to learn in terms of tone composition .

Now to the fun part. How can we use diminished chords to spice up our music? One way is by playing a diminished chord one semitone before the key of the chord you want to play, then playing the desired chord. E.g. if you want to play a Cmajor chord, you can preceed it with a B♭dim7 chord. This works for both major and minor chords.

Another way to use it is to first play a diminished 7 chord of the same chord tone you want to play, then play the desired chord tone. E.g. if you want the Cmajor chord, you can precede it with a Cdim7 chord.

A third way to use it is to first play a diminished 7 chord one semitone after the your desired tone, then play the desired chord. E.g. if you want to play an Aminor chord, you can precede it with a B♭dim7 chord. This method is good especially for minor chords.

Here is an excellent Youtube tutorial that explains all these in great detail.

By making use of diminished chords, one can fill some of the empty space between chord progressions and also introduce a more interesting sound to one’s playing. That’s all for now.

Cool Chords for Gospel Music

Hi folks,

Today I will discuss a few good chords to use for each number of the scale, in the key of D♭ major.

D 1st tone

Chord LH RH Notes
D (add 9) D D E F A
or
E A D
D quartal chord D B E A
D♭ maj7 D C F A
D♭ maj9 D C E F A
D♭ 9 (add 6) D F B B E Secondary chord (not starting)
D♭ 13 D B E G B

E 2nd tone

Chord LH RH Notes
E♭ min7 E B D G
E♭ min9 E G B D F
or
F G B D
E♭ 9 (add 6) E G C D F
E♭ min7 (♭5) E A D E G
E♭ 9 E G B D F

F 3rd tone

Chord LH RH Notes
F 7 (#9 #5) F A D E A
Dmaj / F F A D F#
Any 1 tone chord over F F D E F A
F half-dim7 F A B E

G 4th tone

Chord LH RH Notes
G♭ maj7 G F B D
G (add 9) G G A B D
G♭ maj7 (add 6) G B E F B

A 5th tone

Chord LH RH Notes
A♭ 13 A G B D F
A – 4 chords A 1. G♭ maj (D G B)
2. A♭ maj (E A C)
3. D♭ maj (F A D)
4. A♭ maj (E A C)
Any 1 tone chord over A bass
Any 3 tone chord over A bass A C F A
Any 4 tone chord over A bass A D G B
A (add 9) A A B C E
A♭ min9 A G B B E

B 6th tone

Chord LH RH Notes
B♭ min9 B A C D F
B♭ 13 B A C E G
B♭ 7 (♭9) B A B D F This is a diminished chord
C maj7 (#5) / B B C E A B
4 tone chord / B B D G B

C 7th tone

Chord LH RH Notes
C min11 C E G B D F
4 tone major chord / C C B D G
6 tone minor chord / C C B D F
5 tone major chord / C C A C E

With these chords you can create some really awesome sounding gospel music if you make good use of patterns. Hopefully I’ll post a recording of some songs played using these soon.
If you want to learn more about these chords or what cool music you can play with them, I refer you to Hear and Play Gospel Keys 202 – http://info.hearandplay.com/gk202quizgmtcmcjg/?code=infemail.

Enjoy!

How to delete multiple bars in MuseScore

When composing sheet music with MuseScore 2, you may discover you have a bunch of unwanted bars, e.g. several empty bars at the bottom of the sheet. Here’s how to delete them.

First, hold Shift key, then drag the cursor across the bars you want to delete. A blue bar should appear as you drag. Once done the bars should be come selected.

Next, on a Mac, press Cmd + Backspace.

On a PC, according to the MuseScore forum [1] you may want to try Ctrl + Delete.

That’s it!

References

1. Deleting Blank Bars | MuseScore. https://musescore.org/en/node/18880 [15/01/2017].

Jazz Rap

Recently I was just exploring various types of music on Youtube. I had heard the name “A Tribe Called Quest” on Kanye West’s track Last Call from College Dropout many years ago. So I decided to listen to some of their music. For those who don’t know, A Tribe Called Quest is an American hip hop group that was formed in 1985, composing MC/producer Q-Tip, MC Phife Dawg aka Phife Diddy (Malik Taylor) and DJ/producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad [1]. Jarobi White, a fourth member, left the group after their first album in 1991. While searching I stumbled on the album Low End Theory and was amazed at what I heard: smooth rap coupled with jazz instrumentals. On browsing similar songs, I came across the name De La Soul. I had also heard this name in the lyrics of a notable rapper but didn’t know who they were. So I did a little research. De La Soul is an American hip hop trio formed in 1987 on Long Island, New York, comprising Posdnuos, Dave and Maseo [2]. Out of curiosity I checked out De La Soul’s album Bulhloone Mindstate and was also thrilled with how it fused rap with rich jazzy instrumentals. It was while researching De La Soul that I came across the subject of this post: Jazz rap.

Jazz rap is a fusion subgenre of hip hop music and jazz, developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s [3]. The lyrics are often based on political consciousness, Afrocentrism and general positivism. It turned out that the music I had been so thrilled about was Jazz rap and coincidentally both A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul are among the pioneers of the genre together with Digable Planets. Usually jazz rap users hip hop rhythms and then adds repetitive phrases of jazz instrumentation: trumpet, double bass, piano, etc. over it. Since the 1990s, musical jazz references have become less obvious and lyrical references to jazz are less common, however jazz had been added to the palette of hip hop producers. Even up till today you can find that some hip hop musicians add elements of jazz to their music, for example, Kendrick Lamar’s album: To Pimp a Butterfly incorporates jazz, funk and spoken word. I have a feeling I’ll be listening to jazz rap for a while as both jazz and hip hop are two of my favourite genres. It’s amazing to find a subgenre fusing both together. Talk about enjoying the best of both worlds.

Sources

1. A Tribe Called Quest – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Tribe_Called_Quest.

2. De La Soul – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_La_Soul

3. Jazz rap – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz_rap