As a songwriter, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the different types of chords available to you. While major and minor chords may be the most common, there are many other options that can add color and complexity to your music. In this blog post, we’ll explore two of the more unusual chords: diminished chords and augmented chords. While uncommon, if you can master these chords, you are one step closer to being a music theory wizard. We’ll cover what these unusual chords are, how they’re constructed, and how you can use them to add a unique flair to your songs.
A diminished chord is created by stacking minor thirds on top of each other. It creates a tense and ominous sound that can add drama to your music.
One way to use diminished chords is by incorporating them into a minor key. For example, if you’re playing a song in the key of A minor, you can use the diminished chord built off of the seventh degree of the scale (G# diminished) to create a spooky and mysterious sound.
Another way to use diminished chords is by using them as a passing chord. This means that you can use them to connect two other chords that are more stable. For example, if you’re playing a chord progression that goes from C major to G major, you can insert a B diminished chord in between the two to create tension and a sense of movement.
Some popular examples of songs that use diminished chords include “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles and “Creep” by Radiohead.
An augmented chord is created by stacking two major thirds on top of each other. This chord sounds bright and almost mysterious, adding a sense of whimsy to your music.
Augmented chords are often used as a substitute for major chords. For example, if you’re playing a song in the key of C major and you want to play a C chord, you can use a C augmented chord instead. This can be used when you feel like playing a regular C Chord sounds too cheesy.
Another way to use augmented chords is by using them as a passing chord as well. They can be used to connect two other chords that are more stable, just like diminished chords. For example, if you’re playing a chord progression that goes from C major to A minor, you can insert a C augmented chord in between the two to create a dreamy and mysterious sound.
Some popular songs that use augmented chords include “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” by The Beatles.
Why Don’t We Hear Augmented or Diminished Chords Often?
Augmented and diminished chords are less commonly used in music because they tend to create a dissonant and tense sound. In contrast, major and minor chords are more commonly used because they create a more harmonious and pleasing sound. However, augmented and diminished chords can still be used effectively in certain musical contexts, such as in jazz, blues, and certain styles of rock music. Additionally, many songwriters and composers may simply not be as familiar with these types of chords, and may therefore not use them as frequently in their compositions.
Knowing your chords means that you have a whole new world of sounds to play with as a songwriter. The diminished chord and augmented chord are two types of unusual chords that can add an interesting and unique quality to your music. Whether you use them as passing chords, in minor keys, or as substitutes for major chords, they can create tension, drama, and whimsy in your compositions.