Free Christmas Songs

index - harmony

Diminished Triads

The diminished triad is another commonly used chord. It is similar in structure to the minor triad, but the fifth scale degree is lowered a half step. Follow these steps to determine the pitches of a diminished triad.

1. Write out the scale degrees under the staff. Just like the major and minor triads, only the numbers 1 through 5 are needed. We will continue with the key of B flat, and create a B flat diminished triad.

Diminished triad step 1: write the scale degrees

2. Write the pattern of whole steps and half steps as they occur between each scale degree (W H W H).

Diminished triad step 2: write the whole and half steps

3. Write in the first five pitches of the diatonic scale. Do not skip any pitches or repeat any pitches.

Diminished triad step three: write the diatonic scale

4. Check every whole step and half step in the scale and write in the accidentals, when appropriate. If you need help remembering half steps and whole steps, visit that page in the section on melody.

Diminished triad step 4: write the correct accidentals

Scale degree 1 to 2 is a whole step. A whole step above B flat is C, so no accidental is needed.
Scale degrees 2 to 3 is a half step. A half step above C is D flat, so we need to add that accidental.
Scale degrees 3 to 4 is a whole step. A whole step above D flat is E flat, so we must write a flat in front of the E.
Scale degrees 4 to 5 is a half step. A half step above E flat is F flat. You might be tempted to write the fifth scale degree as an E, but the correct diatonic spelling is F flat.

B flat diminished triad

The triad consist of scale degrees 1, 3, and 5 played at the same time. Therefore, the notes of a B flat diminished triad are B flat, D flat, and F flat. When these notes are played one at a time, they are called a B flat diminished arpeggio.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Learn how to create an augmented triad.




Index - Sound - Rhythm - Melody - Harmony - Form - Performance - Links - Kyle Coughlin
© 2010-2013 by Kyle Coughlin and SkyLeap Music