Let’s look at how to build an E diminished chord on the piano. We’ll also learn the pattern for building any other 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. We can build a minor chord by building the matching major chord and lowering 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 E Diminished Chord
So to build an E diminished chord, we’ll start by building an E minor chord. We can build an E minor chord by taking an E major chord, E – G♯ – B, and lowering the middle note 1/2 step. So an E minor chord is: E – G – B
Then we’ll take the E minor chord and lower the upper-note 1/2 step from B to B♭.
So to play an E diminished chord, we’ll play:
E – G – B♭
We can use this pattern to build any other diminished chord, by taking the matching minor chord and lowering the upper-note 1/2 step.
The chord symbol for diminished chords can be “dim” or “º”, so we can write E diminished as Edim or Eº.
Now you know how to build an E diminished chord on the piano, and you can use that knowledge to build other diminished chords!
Diminished chords aren’t as commonly used as minor chords, but it’s good to know how to build them when you need them.