Are DIMINISHED Chords Just DOMINANT Chords In Disguise?

Are DIMINISHED Chords Just DOMINANT Chords In Disguise?

Tommaso Zillio

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diminished dominant chords substitution

Are you tired of the same old dominant tonic resolution? Do you wish there was some other way to resolve to the tonic, without completely changing the chord progression?

Well, you may just be in luck. There just so happens to be another type of chord that can be substituted with the V7 or dominant chord in a chord progression, and it’s completely painless.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Tommaso, aren’t all chords painless?”

Suuuuure they are. Try to play anything by Allan Holdsworth and then say again that “all chords are painless”. Go on, try it. I’ll be here, waiting…

But, back to what we were saying before, what is this fabled chord that can replace any dominant chord, with no pain whatsoever?

The answer can be yours, for just 6 payme– just kidding, the answer is at the link below, which, coincidentally, is also painless!

Diminished chords, dominant chords, this chord, that chord, red chord, blue chord. Where does it end? So much to learn, how can you understand it all with no stress?

Well, you can learn it all with my Complete Chord Mastery guitar course, which takes you from the ground up with chords and harmony, so you will never be confused again.

Video Transcription

Hello internet, so nice to see you. diminished chords are just dominant chords in disguise. This is one of those little things about music theory that is completely obvious to anybody who studied properly music theory, and completely mysterious to anybody else.

And it’s really useful for us. So let’s go and see what that actually means and how we can use it to simplify our lives when we play our guitar. So first of all, what is a dominant chord? Well, a dominant chord is any chord that contains a major third and minor seventh.

So for instance, our C Dominant chord, there will be any chord that contains the root c, the major third E, and the minor seven B flat, the typical dominant chord, the most common is C seven, which is C, E, G, B. We have also the G which is the fifth of the chord, which is really not important, but it’s nice to have, but several other chords will be classified as dominant chord as long as they have at least the C, the E and the B flat.

So the root, the major third and the minor seven, what is a diminished chord instead? Well, that’s a chord that contains a minor third, and diminished fifth a flat five. So I say diminished chord we contain at least the root see, the minor third E flat, and the diminished fifth, G flat.

Now there are several kinds of diminished chord these here it’s diminished triad contains only three notes. But we have also what we call a diminished seventh chord. That contains what we call a diminished seventh or double flat seven, in this case, a B flat flat, which is enharmonic to a meaning if the same note but spelled differently.

Now for simplicity, in the rest of this video, I’m probably going to write a not B flat flat. For me, the two spelling are kinda equivalent. There are moments in music theory when the spelling is important, and you have to respect it.

But in this specific case, it’s not that important, and I actually made a video about that, you’re gonna see it, the link on the top right, so you can go and check why I consistently misspell my diminished chord. There is also another kind of diminished chord called half diminished, where we have the C D flat, the G flat and a B flat. So a minor seven not a diminished seven.

All those are diminished chord. Now, of course, you can look at these and say to myself, You just told me that diminished chord or dominant chord, but those chords are completely different, there is very little in common, okay, practically, only the root is in common and nothing else is.

So how are those chord the same? Oh, my friend, if you cannot see why they are the same is because to quote back from the future, you are not thinking for dimensionally. Let me show you what I mean. Let’s take as our example, the C major scale A, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, if I harmonize the scale, meaning if I write down the chords in the scale, we have C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor and B diminished.

And those are just the triads. So the B diminished chord here is B, D, F, as we see we have default B, the minor third D, and the diminished fifth, F. But if instead of writing just the triad, I also write the seven chord containing the scale I have C major seven D minor, seven, E minor, seven, F major seven, G seven, a minor, seven and B half diminished, or B minor seven, flat five, however you want to write it.

Well, let’s now see what are the notes in the G seven chord here, which is the fifth chord of the key and it’s a dominant chord. Well, the notes in G seven or G, B, D, F, G, the root, the B, the major third, D, the fifth and f the minor seven, and as a go dominant chord should it contains the major third and the minor seventh.

But notice here how the diminished chord the B diminished chord, it’s literally the G seven without the root. And so what happens what we find out when you actually practice a little bit of music theory is that you can freely substitute one chord for the other whenever you have a g7 you can instead just play a B diminished triad and it will work perfectly in the the very symbol of the diminished chord which is this little circle here should tip us off these is not a little circle.

This originally was at zero and the zero meant to indicate no root. And indeed, at the beginning, the diminished chord was conceptualized exactly as a dominant chord just without the root. Now what happened with the other diminished chord for instance, if I add up B diminished seven fully be diminished seven the notes are B, D, F, and a flat.

Well, let’s see what happens if we add back A G to act as a root, we will have our G seven G, B, D, F, and we’ll have these a flat. So again, we have the note of G, seven, G, B, D, F, but we also have this extra, a flat is a flat, it’s simply a flat nine, this full chord would be called G seven, flat nine.

It’s an ultra dominant chord. And it’s very, very, very common in jazz, and it can be freely substituted with a diminished seven. So whenever you see a G seven, flat nine, you can totally play a diminished chord and it will work perfectly.

Not only that, but this similarity between a diminished seventh chord and dominant seventh chord allows you to do incredible key changes to see how go and see my video on diminished modulation that will explain you exactly how to change key using these substitution. It sounds amazing.

But what about the half diminished chord, also called minor seven, flat five? Well, the notes in a B minor seven flat five chord are B, D, F, and A. If we add back the G as a route, we get a call that contains G, B, D, F and A. And this is simply our G nine chord is x and not a simply the nine of the chord.

So again, whenever you see a G nine chord, you could play a B minor seven flat five chord instead, there is one note less, they’re easier to play. Because especially on the guitar, whenever you can avoid playing or not on a chord, you should because in this way you play only the good tasty note and not all the other ones. And so in this case, it’s a great substitution.

So as you see diminished chords, our dominant chord dominant chord on another root are rooted that is not originally in the diminished chord. And this substitution is done a lot in jazz and in classical music and in several other styles.

So it’s good to be familiar with that because it happens all the time. And musicians in all those styles use those two family of chord diminished and dominant interchangeably all the time. This is but one of the several tricks we have in music theory to make our life easier and professional musicians now, if you want to know everything there is to know about chord harmony and all those tricks.

I would recommend you guys check out my course complete chord mastery, complete chord mastery. It’s not a book. It’s a complete video course that takes you from the basics up. We do everything you need to know about harmony and chords on your guitar.

All the theory is done straight on the fretboard. There is no theory for the sake of theory here. Everything is immediately practical. And everything is developed through exercises so you know how to apply these immediately on your guitar. If you have just a minute click on the link on the top right to check out complete code mastery.

If you liked this video, smash that like button and don’t forget to subscribe and click on notification otherwise YouTube will not let you know when I put up a new video. And if you have any comments, feedback suggestions, write them down in the comment I enjoy reading from you and they make videos on your suggestions. This is Tommaso Zillio of, and until next time, enjoy.

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