Diminished Scale Chords

The Diminished Scale is a unique symmetrical 8-note scale that comes in two forms.

Because of its symmetry, hearing the tonality (the root note) of the Diminished Chord or Scale being played can often be tricky.

Adopt this simple ear training practice for hearing Diminished Scales and Chords!

Understand Diminished Scale Chords

Understand that of the 12 keys in music, the symmetrical nature of the Diminished Scale will yield 3 different Diminished Scales.

  1. A C Diminished Scale, Eb Diminished Scale, Gb Diminished Scale, and A Diminished Scale all have the same notes.
  2. A C# Diminished Scale, E Diminished Scale, G Diminished Scale, and A# Diminished Scale all have the same notes.
  3. A D Diminished Scale, F Diminished Scale, Ab Diminished Scale, and B Diminished Scale all have the same notes.

There are two ways this scale can be played: Half-step/Whole step Diminished Scale or Whole step/Half-step Diminished Scale. The scale is basically created by alternating half-steps and whole steps.

A C (Half-step/Whole step) Diminished Scale would sound like this: C, Db, Eb, E, F#,G, A, Bb.

A C (Whole step/Half-step) Diminished Scale would sound like this: C, D, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, A, B.

How to Hear Diminished Scales

This simple ear training exercise is designed to avoid overwhelming your ears from the unique sound of the Diminished Scale.

  1. Play the first 3 notes of a C (Half-step/Whole step) Diminished Scale (C, Db, Eb).
  2. Hear those 3 notes.
  3. Sing those 3 notes.
  4. Play the next 3 notes of a C (Half-step/Whole step) Diminished Scale (E, F#,G).
  5. Hear those 3 notes.
  6. Sing those 3 notes.
  7. Play the last 2 notes of a C (Half-step/Whole step) Diminished Scale (A, Bb).
  8. Hear those 2 notes.
  9. Sing those 2 notes.
  10. Play the first 4 notes of a C (Half-step/Whole step) Diminished Scale (C, Db, Eb, E).
  11. Sing those 4 notes.
  12. Play the last 4 notes of a C (Half-step/Whole step) Diminished Scale (F#,G, A, Bb).
  13. Sing those 4 notes.
  14. Play the entire C (Half-step/Whole step) Diminished Scale (C, Db, Eb, E, F#,G, A, Bb).
  15. Sing all 8 notes.
  16. Repeat this step for every possible Diminished Scale (Half-step/Whole step and Whole step/Half-step).

How to Hear Diminished Chords

Take a listen to a C (Half-step/Whole step) Diminished Scale. The notes C, Db, Eb, E, F#,G, A, Bb sound a C Altered Dominant 7 Chord!

  • C = Root note
  • Db = b9
  • Eb = #9
  • E = Third
  • F# = #11
  • G = Fifth
  • A =13
  • Bb = b7

This simple ear training exercise will quickly internalize the sound of a Diminished Scale into your mind!

  1. Play a C Dominant 7 b9 chord (C, E, G, Bb, Db)
  2. Sing a C (Half-step/Whole step) Diminished Scale.
  3. Play an Eb Dominant 7 b9 chord (Eb, G, Bb, Db, Fb)
  4. Sing a C (Half-step/Whole step) Diminished Scale starting on the note Eb.
  5. Play a Gb Dominant 7 b9 chord (Gb, Bb, Db, Fb, A).
  6. Sing a C (Half-step/Whole step) Diminished Scale starting on the note Gb.
  7. Play an A Dominant 7 b9 chord (A, C#, E, G, Bb).
  8. Sing a C (Half-step/Whole step) Diminished Scale starting on the note A.

Dominant 7 b9 Chords a minor 3rd apart all belong to the same Half-step/Whole step Diminished Scale!

With this ear training exercise, your ear can start to simplify the sound of a Dominant 7 b9 chord! Practice this 5 minutes a day, focusing only on 1 key at a time, in order to avoid overwhelming your ear.