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How to Use Diminished Triads for a Creepy, Nick Cave Effect

Lesson description: The enigmatic and sinister diminished triad is one of the great mysteries of western music theory. It's fascinating to me that it's built of the 7th tone of the major scale, so it's naturally occurring, and yet it sounds so.....unnatural.

In most rock music you don't hear it used simply because, well, folks don't know it, so teachers don't teach how to use it. In this lesson, I show some of the ways I find this dark and spicy triad to be the perfect fit:

  • put it right on a minor chord (basically adds the b5th)
  • substitute it for a V7b9 chord (built off the b9)
  • put it as a ramp between two chords a whole step apart

Video version:

Format: Sibelius-created digital score with tabs & standard notation

Delivery: Tablature is available as convenient .pdf download, and my custom made backing track is included as a free extra! You'll find the download links on your checkout page and in your email. We encourage you to make a customer account when you check out, so all your future purchases can be found in one place.