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Hi beginner pianist here. Just want to ask is there a name for this kind of pattern in piano music theory?

[img]https://imgur.com/hh0PS10[/img]

The way I look at this is "this pattern is [G Bb C# E G] for both hands. The left hand starts at C# while the right hand starts at G then both hands will go up the pattern. The second part is similar but the left hand starts at G while the right hands starts at C#".

This way of thinking helps make it easier for me to digest and play it but I'm curious is there a name for this kind of pattern? Just to add to my music theory knowledge. This part is used a a kind of transition in the piece by the way(no changes in key signature afterwards).

I've encountered a similar pattern in another piece, though with different notes, wherein both hands are following a pattern going up while starting at different notes so I'm thinking this might have a name I'm not aware of.

Hope this makes sense.

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They are diminished 7th arpeggios, very common in piano music of all eras and often played by both hands an octave or other intervals apart. The intervals between adjacent notes are all minor thirds, so there're lots of ways to play them, including in broken chords.

https://bluesjazzpiano.com/diminished-chords.html

In your example, they're played a diminished 5th/augmented fourth apart.


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That's a C# diminished 7th chord - C#-E-G-Bb. You can put any note at the bottom, which gives you an inversion. With the G at the bottom it's the 2nd inversion. Inverting it doesn't change the chord.

Diminished 7th chords are frequently used to modulate to a different key. There are really only 3 different ones, because the intervals between the notes are all the same size, so each chord can be spelled 4 different ways:
C#-E-G-Bb
E-G-Bb-Db
G-Bb-Db-Fb
A#-C#-E-G

are all the same notes, just spelled differently. How it is spelled usually gives you a clue to how it is used. A C# dim 7th could lead to a D chord (C# is the 7th of the D scale). The E dim 7th could lead to F - and so forth.

Anyway, more info than you probably wanted, but the dim 7th chord is unique, useful, and fascinating. I think it was the most dissonant chord that was used by Bach, for instance.

Exercise for the student - identify the 3 different dim 7th chords and spell each of them in 4 different ways.

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I like too se them as a 7th chord with the base note being heighted half note. Makes it easier for me to spot them or do one myself. So something like a C# dim could be used as a cool alternation for C7 (same function being the dominant if in F) And in my mind the C#dim will be a C7 add-9 no 1.

Waiting to be slaughtered by musical theorist for this statement but yeah. It helps me. And as above stated - the effect is that since the intervall is a perfect 1 and a half it result in being limited numbers of unique chords (just 4)

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Originally Posted by Flygbladet
I like too se them as a 7th chord with the base note being heighted half note. Makes it easier for me to spot them or do one myself. So something like a C# dim could be used as a cool alternation for C7 (same function being the dominant if in F) And in my mind the C#dim will be a C7 add-9 no 1.

Waiting to be slaughtered by musical theorist for this statement but yeah. It helps me. And as above stated - the effect is that since the intervall is a perfect 1 and a half it result in being limited numbers of unique chords (just 4)


Yes you are right that your statement is not correct. C sharp diminished can be used as a dominant for the key of D minor, when minor 7 C is a dominant in the key of F major. Alternatively in jazz C7 could be used as a backdoor dominant for the key of D, but rarely in classical music. In F major, you can alter the dominant by adding a sharp but that would be valid for various cases like modulation.


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Thanks everyone I will read more on Diminished 7th chords.

Just an additional question though, does it help a lot to know these technical terms when learning a piece? I've been playing for about 6 months now and learned music theory from scratch but I'm not at a point where I see a pattern and I go ok that's diminished 7th or whatever. Usually it's like what I mentioned in the OP where I see a pattern of notes so that helps. Even for other patterns like in the left hand there's a D A D or C G C or B F B so I'm like oh I've seen that before in another piece so I just do this repeat that pattern. Or do you think it doesn't really matter that much? I'm all for adopting more efficient methods.

I'm no piano major by the way so I'm not going to be taking any multiple choice or identification tests on music theory anytime soon. I know I asked this for additional knowledge curiosity but I'm also thinking wait do I even need to know this? So wondering how much of these technical knowledge I should really dwell into. Sorry for any confusion

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Originally Posted by dcbluepiano
Thanks everyone I will read more on Diminished 7th chords.

Just an additional question though, does it help a lot to know these technical terms when learning a piece?
It only helps if you want to play with other people, or enjoy discussing theoretical stuff with other musicians (including here in PW: you'll find that some people are more interested in theory than in actually playing well), but in practical terms, 'knowledge' of theory makes no difference to your ability to learn pieces from scores, if you just want to play for yourself. (BTW, if you're classically-minded, you'll find that jazzers make up all sorts of funny different names for the same chords, even when they're all supposedly talking in English. Have a peek in the Non-Classical Forum if you want to see what they get up to.......)

Far more important to be able to recognize common patterns (and know what they sound like) when you see them, because a lot of them - chords, arpeggios, accompaniment figurations etc - recur so often that instant recognition greatly speeds up reading and learning new scores. You could even term them 'pattern A, 'pattern B' etc rather than 'diminished 7ths', 'dominant 7ths', '6/4 chords' or whatever........though of course no-one else would know what you're on about wink .

When I was a student, I took every opportunity to play chamber music with other students, as well as sing in a choir, so I needed to know some basic theory (which wasn't a problem, because I was also doing piano exams), so that we could all speak the same language. ("Hey dude! What in the world did you do with your voicing of those 6/4 - 5/3 chords in that cadence modulating to F# minor in bar 111 that makes it sound so weird?? This is Bach, you know, not Bartók!" or the choirmaster saying: "OK, girls and boys, let's start at bar 666, where the sopranos are singing that inverted phrase pianissimo, while the tenors are singing the words Dies irae fortissimo all the way up to that leading note B#. Boys, make sure you drown out the girls there, because the girls are taking their revenge later! Don't forget there's a tritone there, not a perfect fourth!")


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Originally Posted by dcbluepiano
Thanks everyone I will read more on Diminished 7th chords.

Just an additional question though, does it help a lot to know these technical terms when learning a piece?

On this forum, you will find different opinions on this topic. Some people will say yes, others no or anything in between. I dont think it is urgent but eventually it does help to generally understand how a piece is written. Naming the chord in itself is just a small part of understanding the harmony and melody of a piece. It helps to know the pattern of chords in a given key, so in C major, you can expect to encounter C, E, G in some form. The simpliest is to follow the curriculum of a graded system like RCM or ABRSM which will give you the content you need to know at a given level. When you start getting into higher grades, it is expected that you know music theory, at least for the case of classical music. I dont know of any good classical pianist that does not have also a solid theory background.

In my view learning to play an instrument is also learning music in general, including how to write it, but i know it is not the opinion of everybody. At least i dont see the need to oppose theory and practice, both work together and it is better to know more than less. It is like learning cooking. You can learn technically how to execute a recipee and be quite good at it, but understanding why certain combinations work or the chemical process behind opens new horizons. But if you are only interested to execute mechanically the recipee and are not interested to understand why it works, then no need to waist time on advanced knowledge.


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by Flygbladet
I like too se them as a 7th chord with the base note being heighted half note. Makes it easier for me to spot them or do one myself. So something like a C# dim could be used as a cool alternation for C7 (same function being the dominant if in F) And in my mind the C#dim will be a C7 add-9 no 1.

Waiting to be slaughtered by musical theorist for this statement but yeah. It helps me. And as above stated - the effect is that since the intervall is a perfect 1 and a half it result in being limited numbers of unique chords (just 4)


Yes you are right that your statement is not correct. C sharp diminished can be used as a dominant for the key of D minor, when minor 7 C is a dominant in the key of F major. Alternatively in jazz C7 could be used as a backdoor dominant for the key of D, but rarely in classical music. In F major, you can alter the dominant by adding a sharp but that would be valid for various cases like modulation.

Well no and yes. Cause then if you use C# dim which is not really a function in itself as a D Minor chord you probably could see it as A7 add -9 no 1 / E .
Point is its not the C# dim in itself that male up the dominant chord. So you did not convince me!

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But yes i shpuld have been more clear that I meant the dim 7 chord.

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Originally Posted by Sam S
identify the 3 different dim 7th chords and spell each of them in 4 different ways.

Bob, Robert, Rob, Bobby
John, Jack, Jacques, Johnny
Bill, William, Will, Billy

What do I win?

Diminished arpeggios are a strong feature of ragtime which otherwise leans heavily on triads and 7ths. (Joplin, Lamb, and Scott are considered the "big three" in part because they often were more adventurous.)

Diminished arpeggios usually occur a few measures (measure 13) before any turnaround and some of your favorite ragtime pieces are implicated.


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I think it's good to know that a pattern (C E G B, or C# E G Bb, or C Eb G Bb) has a name, and what the name is. It's a way to organize your knowledge.

Can't hurt, might help.


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Weighing in with random thoughts. I'm running away from a work glut so this won't be very organized.

When I decided to get into this more seriously, I first got into the formal "classical" theory. So you had the functional chords: Dominant, Tonic, etc., and they had a role: C7 always "went to" F or Fm in the respective keys: D F# A in the key of C major "was" a V/V leading to G7 - and the notes within a chord went a certain way. ..... When examples were given from real music, they were picked carefully so as to avoid where in music it didn't go that way. When your "C7" sounded like a C7, looked like one on the piano (in some inversion) it got a country name - French, German, Italian ... some kind of sixth, and suddenly the 7th was an aug6 (which in writing it is) - A# instead of Bb.

Then there was jazz or non-classical and we weren't in the world if I ii V7 and all that: a chord was what it was. Your C7 didn't always go to F- it might do other things, because it sounded cool and it worked. There also seemed to be a melding point between later music past the Common Practice period from which all the samples for "classical" theory were drawn (with a warning not to break the rules the way Bach had). This was a different reality.

And then there were advanced theories that tied themselves into knots. I'll never forget the name "Neo Riemannian". (I had learned an easier view for whatever it was that was being taught there).

I also saw fine-print disclaimers in some of my student books, note to the teacher, warning that it had all been simplified since students don't know much, and go ahead and teach the real thing if you think your student can handle it.

So ..........

Where I am now, is that there are many ways of viewing all this stuff, and it seems good to be flexible as long as you don't get lost. Maybe some frameworks are good in the beginning, as long as you don't get trapped in those frameworks in a "that's how it is - always " kind of way.

The dim7:

I learned this as a magical chord, and "the grease of harmony". If you go to the piano and move any note down by a half step, you get a "dom7". I'm staying with piano, because naming and spelling may change according to the grammar (context) of the music.

Cdim7 .... lower the C, you get B7, which brings you to E or Em
Cdim7 ... lower the Eb, you get D7/C which brings you to G or Gm
Cdim7 ... lower the Gb (but see it as an F#) and you get F7/C going to Bb.
Cdim 7 ... lower the Bbb (or A) and .....

What kind of chord do you get when you raise or lower notes of other chords? Where do you see this happening in music? I think this goes to "chromaticism". And there are probably rules or patterns going with that. I'm not anywhere near done with my learning.

How many ways to view music are there, in fact?

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adding: names is always a weakness, so if I got a note name wrong here or there I welcome correction. wink too tired to proofread much.

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Like many sage advice repeated here...eventually, it will help you on many levels. Hence, why, I am committed to sit the theory exams with ABRSM. It is not urgent as a beginner as you will Have so much to learn. For me, I had resisted, and whilst learning complex pieces, I am missing out on many aspects beyond just learning to play it. Most commented have gone through some form of ‘formal’ class/exam...this is the best way to learn.

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I think it's more important to have the patterns "under your fingers" so to speak than being able to name them. Reading the patterns on the sheet and having your hands automatically find their way to the right keys is going to help you much more than knowing the names of the chords.

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Originally Posted by Pianoperformance
Like many sage advice repeated here...eventually, it will help you on many levels. Hence, why, I am committed to sit the theory exams with ABRSM.
I sat the RCM theory exams over 10 years ago, with high grades. Then I learned a totally different way of thinking theory, and am glad I did. (Per my other post)

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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by Flygbladet
I like too se them as a 7th chord with the base note being heighted half note. Makes it easier for me to spot them or do one myself. So something like a C# dim could be used as a cool alternation for C7 (same function being the dominant if in F) And in my mind the C#dim will be a C7 add-9 no 1.

Waiting to be slaughtered by musical theorist for this statement but yeah. It helps me. And as above stated - the effect is that since the intervall is a perfect 1 and a half it result in being limited numbers of unique chords (just 4)


Yes you are right that your statement is not correct. C sharp diminished can be used as a dominant for the key of D minor, when minor 7 C is a dominant in the key of F major. Alternatively in jazz C7 could be used as a backdoor dominant for the key of D, but rarely in classical music. In F major, you can alter the dominant by adding a sharp but that would be valid for various cases like modulation.

Sorry have a hard time still accepting your response.

1 function analyzing is a knowledge that refers to suspension and harmonics. Its not absolute. But commonly you refer to tonic subdominant and dominant (and paralleös and respective dominants dominant and so on)

That means that when in text writing C#dim7 its function is not that of the C#dim.
Its often considered a dominant chord - suspending itself and wants to resolve into somethong else. That else depends on what we consider the tonic i suppose to be. So the dim7 chord never in any case holds the base tone of which it is a deformed (or altered) dominant chord.
I find it easier to understand the chord in that terms above. I must say that it is a way to understand it in relation to other chords and function and makes it easier for me to find it and play it. And yes. You are indeed the one that are wrong. Not in your explanation that also is correct but only just setting the tone that Im incorrect.

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Originally Posted by Flygbladet
I find it easier to understand the chord in that terms above. I must say that it is a way to understand it in relation to other chords and function and makes it easier for me to find it and play it. And yes. You are indeed the one that are wrong. Not in your explanation that also is correct but only just setting the tone that Im incorrect.

You can interpret chords the way you like. But strictly in the context of classical music and classical tonal harmony, the most common usage of the diminished chord is a substitute for the dominant. And within that context, a C sharp is never used as a dominant of F. In various contexts, sequences, modulation and others, it can be used as a temporary dissonance eventually leading to C as a dominant but that is not with the intention of using it directly in the function of a dominant chord. In classical tonal harmony, a tone that is half step away is completely at the opposite tonal spectrum and must resolve in order to fulfill its dominant function. You can study Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and others, to see how they use it.

Outside classical tonal harmony, jazz, pop, more or less tonal, late 19th century and 20th century music, composers started to substitute chords in a non classical tonal harmony way. Once you free yourself from having to resolve, you can mix chords the way it works for you from a coloristic point of view. All sorts of combinations are then possible.

But for beginners, who are trying to learn the basics of tonality, it is better to stick first with the classical tonal harmony (which is already complicated).

More generally, When looking at chords what is important is to interpret them within the context that is appropriate for the composer, not a personal projection. If I read music of Faure or Debussy, I will consider their point of view when writing the piece which is different from Bach or Mozart. Otherwise you end up mixing concepts completely foreign to the period. Like people who read Bach harmony as if it was a piece of jazz music, which is a complete non sense.


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by Flygbladet
I find it easier to understand the chord in that terms above. I must say that it is a way to understand it in relation to other chords and function and makes it easier for me to find it and play it. And yes. You are indeed the one that are wrong. Not in your explanation that also is correct but only just setting the tone that Im incorrect.

You can interpret chords the way you like. But strictly in the context of classical music and classical tonal harmony, the most common usage of the diminished chord is a substitute for the dominant. And within that context, a C sharp is never used as a dominant of F. In various contexts, sequences, modulation and others, it can be used as a temporary dissonance eventually leading to C as a dominant but that is not with the intention of using it directly in the function of a dominant chord. In classical tonal harmony, a tone that is half step away is completely at the opposite tonal spectrum and must resolve in order to fulfill its dominant function. You can study Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and others, to see how they use it.

Outside classical tonal harmony, jazz, pop, more or less tonal, late 19th century and 20th century music, composers started to substitute chords in a non classical tonal harmony way. Once you free yourself from having to resolve, you can mix chords the way it works for you from a coloristic point of view. All sorts of combinations are then possible.

But for beginners, who are trying to learn the basics of tonality, it is better to stick first with the classical tonal harmony (which is already complicated).

More generally, When looking at chords what is important is to interpret them within the context that is appropriate for the composer, not a personal projection. If I read music of Faure or Debussy, I will consider their point of view when writing the piece which is different from Bach or Mozart. Otherwise you end up mixing concepts completely foreign to the period. Like people who read Bach harmony as if it was a piece of jazz music, which is a complete non sense.


Problem is we dont now what the tonic is in this instance. Still it is a bit special writing out a chord that actually do not have that function. Yes C#is only half step from D Minor. But point was - it still a dominant. The base note is not in a chord if ypu see it as a dominant and you add a 9th but lowered. So no. Still have not convinced me.

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But yes. For the c# dim7 the add -9 no 1 is correct for A7 as well.

Mostly you are just being extremly rude when giving you awnser.

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