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.