Let’s look at how to play an Adim (A diminished) chord on the piano. We’ll also learn the pattern for building any diminished chord.
What Are Diminished Chords?
Diminished chords are minor chords with the upper-note lowered 1/2 step.
So to build a diminished chord, we’ll start by building a minor chord. Minor chords are built using the first, third and fifth notes of the matching minor scale (learn how to build a minor scale here).
Another way to build a minor chord is to take the matching major chord and lower the middle note 1/2 step.
Then to convert the minor chord into a diminished chord, we’ll lower the upper-note 1/2 step.
Chord Types Printable
Learn to play 17 types of piano chords using 12 different root notes with this 34-page PDF! Chords are sorted both by their root note (C, D, E, etc.) and type (major, minor, etc.).
How to Play an Adim Chord
Now let’s build an Adim chord on the piano. To build an Adim chord, we’ll start with an A minor chord, using the first, third and fifth notes of the A minor scale: A – C – E
Then we’ll take the upper-note, E, and lower it 1/2 step to E♭.
So to play an Adim chord, we’ll play:
A – C – E♭
You can use this pattern to build any diminished chord. First build a minor chord, then lower the upper-note 1/2 step.
Diminished chords can be written as “dim” or “º”. So if you see a chord written as Aº, it also indicates an A diminished chord.
Other Chord Types
There are many other chord types you can learn. Here are some others:
Now you know how to build an Adim chord, and you can use that pattern to build any diminished chord on the piano.
Understanding how to build chords is so much better than memorizing the notes for each chord, because once you understand how to build different chords you can use the pattern again and again! The piano begins to come to life as you recognize patterns and start seeing the relationships between notes.