Let’s look at how to play a Ddim (D 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 build the matching major chord, then 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 a Ddim Chord
Now let’s build a Ddim chord on the piano. We’ll start by building a D minor chord using the first, third and fifth notes of a D minor scale: D – F – A
These are also the notes we get if we start with a D major chord (D – F♯ – A) and lower the middle note 1/2 step down to F.
Then we’ll lower the highest note A 1/2 step, to A♭.
So to play a Ddim chord, we’ll play:
D – F – A ♭
You can use this pattern to build any diminished chord. First build a minor chord, then lower the upper-note 1/2 step.
Another way to write diminished chords is with the º symbol. So we could also write Ddim as Dº.
How to Label the Notes
You may be wondering why we label the A♭ as an A♭ and not a G♯. The reason is because of the piano intervals used to build the chord (learn all about piano intervals here).
Diminished chords are built using a root, a minor third, and a diminished fifth. Since D is our root note, the fifth will be some sort of A as we progress alphabetically (D – E – F – G – A).
Other Chord Types
There are many other types of chords you can learn. Here are some others:
Now you know how to build a Ddim chord on the piano, and you can use that pattern to build any diminished chord.
Diminished chords aren’t as common as minor chords, but it’s good to know how to build them for when you need them.
Piano chords are a quick and straight-forward way to learn and enjoy the piano!