More Tasteful Examples of How Dim7 Chords Are Used

In the previous lesson, we looked at ways in which great pop songwriters have tastefully employed the “spooky” diminished seven chord (dim7), which is spelled, for all intents and purposes, root, minor third, diminished fifth, major sixth, or “1 b3 b5 6.” I emphasize the term tastefully because dim7 has a very restless, unstable quality that if held too long becomes downright obnoxious, as it begs to resolve to a more stable-sounding major- or minor-type chord. And so dim7 is almost always employed as a passing chord between two more stable-sounding entities, to create a satisfyingly bitter-then-sweet feeling of harmonic tension and release. I’d now like to cite a few more examples from the catalog of rock and pop music of how famous composers have successfully harnessed this enigmatic chord and put it to an effectively palatable use, similar to the way a master chef would sparingly use a powerful and potentially overwhelming spice to add just the right amount of zest to a recipe.

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Jimmy Brown

Over the past 30 years, Jimmy Brown has built a reputation as one of the world's finest music educators, through his work as a transcriber and Senior Music Editor for Guitar World magazine and Lessons Editor for its sister publication, Guitar Player. In addition to these roles, Jimmy is also a busy working musician, performing regularly in the greater New York City area. Jimmy earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance and Music Management from William Paterson University in 1989. He is also an experienced private guitar teacher and an accomplished writer.