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  1. #1

    What is the function of the diminished triad? (used on i or v)

    When I reading the Mickey Baker's Complete Course in Jazz Guitar, I found that the diminished chord is used in some "standard" progressions.

    For example, in lesson 3:
    I -> i -> I -> idim -> ii -> V7 -> I, idim -> ii, V7 (function of the tonic minor triad is also unkonwn)

    in lesson 4:
    I -> #idim -> ii -> V7

    in lesson 13:
    I -> vdim -> ii -> V7

    For the second progression, I can explain it as that #idim is similar to the Tonic chord, just with a half-step higher root note.
    But how to explain the diminished chord on the tonic and dominant tone?

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by glacialfire View Post
    When I reading the Mickey Baker's Complete Course in Jazz Guitar, I found that the diminished chord is used in some "standard" progressions.

    For example, in lesson 3:
    I -> i -> I -> idim -> ii -> V7 -> I, idim -> ii, V7 (function of the tonic minor triad is also unkonwn)

    in lesson 4:
    I -> #idim -> ii -> V7

    in lesson 13:
    I -> vdim -> ii -> V7

    For the second progression, I can explain it as that #idim is similar to the Tonic chord, just with a half-step higher root note.
    But how to explain the diminished chord on the tonic and dominant tone?
    You missed a couple that you'll see a lot in standard songs

    biiio7 -> ii -> V7

    and

    iii -> biiio7 -> ii -> V7

    and also

    IV -> #ivo7 -> I

    biiio7 and #ivo7 are inversions of i dim, of course.

    Most diminished chords in jazz fall into one of two categories - leading tone diminished chords that I tend to call resolving diminished chords, because that's what they do. These sit a half step below the target chord. Lesson 4 is a good example of this... #io7 going to ii. Here, the diminished chord is closely related to the secondary dominant VI7(b9). vo7 is the exact same chord in inversion.

    The other category is common tone (or Rag's link calls them auxillary) diminished chords that I prefer to call bridging diminished chords, because that's what they do. They create very efficient bridging voice leading between tonic (I or iv) and subdominant (IV and ii) chords, but do not resolve in the same way as leading tone diminished chords.

    So for instance, in C major, let's take a part of a progression from lesson 1:

    I -> idim -> II

    C E G A - C6 (I)
    C Eb Gb A - Co7
    C D F A - Dm7 (iim7)

    You can see the voice leading is very smooth, using chromatics. It works either way, making it a very handy chord!

    biiio7 and #ivo7 in my examples behave in the same way. It's kind of an old fashioned sound, very common in prewar swing music, but also the music of Jobim. Many Basie riffs are based on this type of harmony, take the intro of Splanky from the Atomic Basie, for instance.

    These chords often have a bluesy sound - you can see that the example I've posted has the bluesy Eb and Gb in the key of C.

    i dim/biii dim and #iv dim are all of this category when going to either I or ii or IV. This is also true of vidim7 but I don't think I've ever encountered it in that inversion....
    Last edited by christianm77; 04-10-2019 at 04:52 PM.

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    The other category is common tone (or Rag's link calls them auxillary) diminished chords that I prefer to call bridging diminished chords, because that's what they do.
    Passing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    Passing?
    Sure

  7. #6
    I just think of them as passing chords that resolve nicely. Saves needing an asprin and a lie-down :-)

  8. #7

    Thank you very much!

    That's very helpful! Thanks for your answer!

  9. #8
    There is sub-dominant and there is dominant. Diminished should be called super-dominant.
    Or two dominants in one? Or double-dominant? Or one dominant that rules all dominants?

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175 View Post
    There is sub-dominant and there is dominant. Diminished should be called super-dominant.
    Or two dominants in one? Or double-dominant? Or one dominant that rules all dominants?
    Double-dog dare you dominant
    Build bridges, not walls.

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