My Learning Project – Part VI

CHORD OF THE WEEK

Today’s chord of the week is the diminished7 chord.

Building a first inversion diminished chord requires a minor third, another minor third, and then a major third. To make that diminished chord into a diminished7, you must add the 7th note in the scale, which can be accomplished by adding another minor third onto the end of the chord. 

a-diminished-7th-chord-on-piano-keyboard.png

I really enjoy listening to an artist called Tobi Lou. I realized this week that one of the things that makes his songs sound so oddly happy and sad at the same time is because he uses the diminished7 chord a lot. It’s a very whimsical chord. 

I also realized that I have used this chord myself without knowing it! In the link below, you can hear that I used this diminished7 as the second chord of my demo song “50 HR WORK WEEK”. 

It’s funny that I’ve been learning to put a language or science to things that I innately understood by instinct and used everyday in the production. Knowing the theory behind the practice, though, is valuable. For example, when I play chords now, I am able to tell my friends who I am collaborating with what the chords were, and how they fit with the rest of the track. 

CHORD-BUILDING: INVERSIONS

This week I learned some about inverted chords. These changed the way I play piano. 

The simple way to describe inversions is that they are re-arranged chords. First of all, it’s important to know that all notes repeat themselves after every octave (meaning that every twelve semi-tones, they repeat themselves on the piano-roll as higher versions of the same note)

Now let’s take a simple Cmajor chord. 

The note that make up a Major chord are: C – E – G

When played, Cmajor looks like this:

Screen Shot 2020-06-23 at 6.54.14 PM.png

Now, this chord sounds fine and all. However, playing a Cmajor this way all the time can begin to sound boring. What if I want to spice it up?

ENTER INVERTED CHORDS!

Basically, because we know that any note can recur on the piano by going up or down twelve keys, we can rearrange the order of the basic Cmajor chord. This will change the way the chord sounds, while not changing the actual chord. 

Here’s an example of a first inversion Cmajor. 

Screen Shot 2020-06-23 at 6.54.08 PM.png

As you can see, we simply took the “C” from the first chord and moved it UP AN OCTAVE. Now, instead of the Cmajor chord reading as “C – E – G”, it reads as “E – G – C” And because it’s higher up, it ends up sounding brighter, while still remaining a Cmajor chord!

Below is a link to a video I used to help me make sense of chord inversions! It’s by Michael New, who I shared previously. I really appreciate his teaching style. 

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