Playing Cooler Chords Pt. 1

Reharmonizing with Half-Diminished Chords

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Let’s talk about how you can turn ordinary, plain chord progressions into cool chord progressions. I’m going to start with an example here in the key of D major, I’ve chosen the chords D, A, Bm and G, and these are all chords that are in the key of D major. They’re made from notes within that key. Now, it’s really typical that we call these a I-V-vi and IV chord because they’re built off of those scale degrees. The 1st, the 5th, the 6th and the 4th scale degrees, but what about other degrees like the 7th?

Well, in this case, I’m going to actually use a C# half-diminished chord, which is the vii∅ chord in this key (D major) and substitute it for our A. That leaves us with this progression of I-vii∅7-vi and IV. Substituting a vii∅ chord for a V chord is a great way to make your chord progression a little cooler. Give it a try.

Check out Part 2 of this series about Reharmonizing with Fully Diminished Transition Chords

Also, check out Part 3 of this series about Reharmonizing with Minor iv Chords