Play Perfect Over A Half-Diminished Chords Guitar Lesson 00

This guitar lesson with tabs and staves will enlighten you by proposing several options to solo over half-diminished chords is m7b5.

What’s A Half-Diminished Chord?

A half-diminished chord is minor seventh flat five (m7b5) is a diminished triad (1 – b3 – 5) with an added minor seventh (b7). It can also be seen as a minor seventh chord with a flattened fifth.

Notice that it is should not be confused with a fully diminished chord which includes a diminished seventh (bb7) instead of a minor seventh (b7).

You’ll find half-diminished chords in the following scale :

  • On the seventh step of the major scale.
  • On the sixth step of the melodic minor scale.
  • On the second step of the harmonic minor scale.
  • On the seventh step of the melodic minor scale.

What To Play Over A Half-diminished Chord?

Here are the most common options available to you for building some nice jazz guitar lines over m7b5 chords.

Arpeggios

Let start with some arpeggios that can be used over Dm7b5 chords.

  • The most obvious choice is a m7b5 Arpeggio starting on the tonic. This way you will simply play the chord tones (1 – b3 – b5 – b7).
D Half-Diminished Chords
D Half-Diminished Chords
  • Min7 arpeggio starting from the b3. The notes emphasized are : b3 – b5 – b7 and b9. Example with Dm7b5 try to play Fm7 (F – Ab – C – Eb). Half-Diminished Chords
FMinor7 Arpeggio
FMinor7 Arpeggio
  • When starting the previous minor 7 arpeggio on its b3 you obtain a maj6 arpeggio. Played from the b5 of the m7b5 chord we get b5 – b7 – b9 – b3. For example, try to play Ab6 (Ab – C – Eb – F) over Dm7 (Ab6 being an inversion of Fm7).
Ab6 Arpeggio
Ab6 Arpeggio
  • Maj7 arpeggio from the b5. The notes highlighted are b5 – b7 – b9 – 11 (4). Try Ab7 (Ab – C – Eb – G) over Dm7.
Abmaj7 Arpeggios
Abmaj7 Arpeggios

Scales And Modes

Half-diminished chords are mostly present in minor 2 5 1 chord progressions. The most used modes and scales for improvising over m7b5 chords in that harmonic context are:

  • The Locrian mode, seventh mode of the major scale. 1 – b2 – b3 – 4 – b5 – b6 – b7. Example with D Locrian (D – Eb – F – G – Ab – Bb – C).
D Locrian
D Locrian
  • The Locrian♮13 or Locrian natural 6, Locrian #6 and also harmonic natural mode 2, which is the second mode of the harmonic minor scale. The formula is 1 – b2 – b3 – 4 – b5 – 6 – b7. Example with D Locrian ♮ 13 (D – Eb – F – G – Ab – B – C).
D Locrian Natural 6
D Locrian Natural 6
  • The Locrian #2 mode is the sixth mode of the melodic minor scale. It is also referred to as Locrian Natural 2, Locrian 2, Aeolian b5 or Semi Locrian. The formula is 1 – 2 – b3 – 4 – b5 – b6 – b7. Example with D Locrian #2 (D – E – F – G – Ab – Bb – C). Half-Diminished Chords
D Locrian #2
D Locrian #2
  • The Locrian bebop scale is actually made up of eight notes. The formula is 1 – b2 – b3 – 4 – b5 – 5 – b6 – b7. This is the Locrian mode with an passing tone (the fifth) between b5 and b6. Example with D Locrian bebop (D – Eb – F – G – Ab – A – Bb – C). Half-Diminished Chords
D Locrian Bebop
D Locrian Bebop
  • The Locrian Pentatonic scale as its name implies is made of 5 notes present in the four previous scales : 1 – b3 – 4 – b5 – b7. Example with Dm Locrian pentatonic (D – F – G – Ab – C).
D Locrian Pentatonic
D Locrian Pentatonic

Thank You

Half-Diminished Chords Details

Half-diminished chords, also known as minor seventh flat five chords, are an important part of music theory and commonly used in jazz, classical, and contemporary music. In this article, we will explore the construction, chord symbols, and common usage of half-diminished chords.

Construction of Half-Diminished Chords:

A half-diminished chord is a four-note chord consisting of a root note, a minor third, a diminished fifth, and a minor seventh. For example, the C half-diminished chord is constructed with the notes C, Eb, Gb, and Bb. The chord is written as Cø or Cm7b5.

Chord Symbols for Half-Diminished Chords:

The symbol for a half-diminished chord is ø, which is placed after the root note. It is important to note that the symbol for a fully diminished chord is °, which is different from the ø symbol. A fully diminished chord has a double-flatted seventh, whereas a half-diminished chord has a minor seventh.

Common Usage of Half-Diminished Chords:

Half-diminished chords are often used as a substitute for dominant seventh chords, especially in minor keys. For example, in the key of C minor, the G7 chord can be replaced with a Bø chord. This is because the Bø chord contains the same notes as the G7 chord, except for the root note. The Bø chord creates a different tonal color and adds a sense of tension and instability to the progression.

Half-diminished chords are also commonly used in ii-V-I progressions in jazz. In this progression, the ii chord is a minor seventh chord, the V chord is a dominant seventh chord, and the I chord is a major seventh chord. For example, in the key of C major, the ii-V-I progression would be Dm7-G7-Cmaj7. However, this progression can be altered by using a half-diminished chord for the ii chord, creating a iiø-V7-I progression. For example, Dø-G7-Cmaj7.

In conclusion, half-diminished chords are an important part of music theory and commonly used in jazz, classical, and contemporary music. They add a sense of tension and instability to progressions and are often used as substitutes for dominant seventh chords. By understanding the construction and common usage of half-diminished chords, musicians can enhance their understanding of music theory and expand their musical vocabulary.

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