Improv with Ascending Diminished Chords | Hub Guitar

Improv with Ascending Diminished Chords

Introduction

In this improvisation lesson, we’ll play over a chord progression that has ascending diminished 7th chords.

About the Chords

The chord progression here is based on the diminished ascending chord progression in the Fretboard section. Be sure to review the chord forms in that lesson.

About the Concept

A diminished 7th chord can be used between any two diatonicStrictly speaking, any structure comprised of seventh notes. But almost always used to describe 7-note scale structures, usually the major scale or the minor scale, but sometimes other modes as well. chords in order to connect them.

This is not a music theory lesson, but a simple analysis of any example will reveal some insight as to why this works on a fundamental level.

Take for example the first case below. We have a B♭maj7 (which is the Imaj7 chord) going to Bdim7 and then to C-7 (III-7 chord). Examine the notes in each, especially those of the diminished chord going to the its target chord. You'll see that the Bdim7 contains a B, D, F, A♭♭; this tense structure resolves to C-7, which has a C, E♭, G, B♭. Right away we can see a “B” and “F” inside of the diminished chord, which comprises the tritone found in the G7 chord, the dominant chord normally resolving to a C chord.

In this way we can see similarities between the diminished chord's resolution and that of a secondary dominant.

The Chord Progression

Materials to Use

The diatonic chords in this track are suited to the B♭ major scale, generally. The rest, the diminished chords, can be played with a diminished arpeggio from the root.

B♭ Major

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a sharp, b flat
d sharp, e flat
a sharp, b flat
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d natural
a natural
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c natural
g natural
d sharp, e flat
a sharp, b flat
f natural
c natural
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d natural
a natural
f natural
c natural
g natural
d natural
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(Example) Bdim7 Arpeggio

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g sharp, a flat
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b natural
d natural
b natural
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f natural
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g sharp, a flat
b natural
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d natural
f natural
d natural
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Backing Track

When you’re ready, play along with the track.

Exercises

  • Play the chords along with the track.
  • Discover how to play diminished 7 arpeggios for each of the diminished chords. Play these along with the track.
  • Develop a melody the flows through and connects all of the chords in the track.
  • Improvise using B♭ major scale for all non-diminished chords, and then using a simple arpeggio for each of the diminished chords.

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