Diminished triads in all 3 keys.
Hi everyone, and welcome back to our lesson on diminished triads. Like any other arpeggios, the diminished triad can be related to a series of scales, as shown below here:
- the Locrian, the major scale VII mode.
- the diminished scale, whole step-half step.
- the diminished scale, half step-whole step.
But, what is a diminished triad? Simply said, the first, third and fifth degree of any of the three mentioned scales: in other words, the result of two superimposed minor thirds, translating into root-minor third-diminished fifth.
As the name itself implies, the most distinctive feature of the diminished triad is the tritone (a flat fifth) distance between the root and the fifth. Being our music system based on six whole tones, we can also say that a diminished fifth divides the octave in two exact parts.
Since the diminished triad notes at the same distance of a minor third, it doesn’t make sense to talk of inversions, since each third is the root of a new triad based on subsequent minor thirds.
And now, let’s do some math based on our twelve note system: since the diminished triad tones are always at a minor third distance among each other, in our twelve tones series we have four different sounds at a third minor distance. This means that, in order to play the diminished triads in all twelve keys, any three subsequent semi-tones will cover all of them, as shown below here with the keys of E, F and Gb.
For completeness, the following ones are the diminished triads in all twelve keys: again, keep in mind that the diminished triads notes are always at a minor third distance among them, and therefore blocks of four notes are repeated. As an example, Cdim has the same notes as D#dim, F#dim and Ddim.
Lastly, in the next three exercises you will play the diminished triads starting from the three lowest tones available on a 4-string electric bass, i.e. E, F and F#. In fact, since the diminished triad is a symmetric chord, Edim includes the keys of G, A# and C#), Fdim the keys of G#, B and D) and F#dim the keys of A, C and D#. Start practicing at 60 bpm, and gradually increase the tempo.
As already mentioned for the augmented triads, please note that sharp and flat alterations might be mixed throughout the following exercises, in order to keep the right distance between the tones, while avoiding double alterations. For example, while Cdim can be notated as C-Eb-Gb, the following Ebdim will become D#-F#-A, in order to avoid the B double flat.
That was it for this lesson. Take your time to absorb the previous exercises, and don’t forget to use an iRealPro chart to make your “painful but effective” practice more enjoyable!
Happy practice and see you in the next lesson!