Understanding Diminished Chords
Diminished 7th chords are not as common as major, minor and dominant chords and so you don’t see them as often in jazz standards. Because of this, we’re generally not as comfortable with diminished voicings and students’ tend to freak out when one does pop up on a lead sheet.
We’re going to start off this lesson by recapping the theory behind diminished chords and then we will look at them in context of a couple of different jazz standards so that you understand the practical application.
We use the jazz standard ‘Someday My Prince Will Come‘ to apply two handed diminished chord voicings and then look at the tune ‘Body & Soul‘ to substitute diminished chords for the related dominant upper structure triads.
Remember that diminished chords are dominant b9 chords in disguise.
If you add a note a major 3rd below a diminished chord you will be playing a dominant b9 chord.
Try to memorise the diminished groups. There are 3 groups with 4 diminished chords in each group.
- The chords in each group contain the exact same notes, they are simply an inversion.