Hybrid structures with major triads
C/C# C/D C/D# C/F C/F#
1. C/C#: “tonic diminished chord”
(can be enharmonically transformed to D flat)
Application: this diminished chord with the major seventh (C#°maj7) can be used momentarily in place of the first degree of a tonality, to postpone its arrival. The scale that is generally associated with this chord is the tone-semi tone (in this specific case, C# tone-semi tone).
2. C/D: D9sus4
Application: given the presence of the minor seventh and the perfect fourth, it is possible to use this chord as a common Dsus4. The main reference scale is the mixolydian mode.
3. C/D#: “dominant diminished”
Application: can be used as an altered dominant chord, although the lack of the seventh accentuates its ambiguity. It associates very well with the semi-tone-tone scale.
Fb (= E) = b9
Abb (= G) = 3
Dbb (= C) = 13
Application: this chord, being devoid of the third, has no defined tonal connotations, so it can be used – as well as a hybrid structure – both in the major field (associating it with the Ionic or Lydian scale), and in the minor context (associating it with the harmonic or melodic minor scale).
5. C/F#: F#7alt.(omit3)
Application: it is an chord that can be used as an altered dominant (without the third), which can be associated with the semi-tone scale or the super locrian scale.
Hybrid structures with augmented triads
Ab + / Eb
Application: chord reinterpretable as Ab(addb6)/Eb, another altered chord associated with the mixolydian scale b6, mixolydian scale b2b6 or the semitonic-tone scale, all with tonic Ab. It works very well as an altered fifth degree in second invertion.
(Use as a fifth degree not recommended as it contains the tonic G # chord)
Hybrid structures with minor triads
Cm/E Cm/F# Cm/B
1. Cm/E: In(maj7)b13omit5 | C(add#9)/E
Application: this chord can be reinterpreted as a first degree of the harmonic minor scale, of which it expresses in summary the main modal characteristics (b3, maj7, b13), or a first invertion of an altered triad (add#9). In this case it is necessary to structure the voicing in such a way that this helps to perceive the minor third as an augmented ninth.
2. Cm / F # transposed as Fm / B (to simplify the analysis)
Application: we can understand the harmony above as a particular expression of the diminished seventh chord, missing the third, with the minor ninth. This chord is present on the seventh degree of the harmonic minor scale and refers to the diminished superlocria scale. It would work like all diminished seventh chords, if it were not for the presence of the minor ninth. Because of this peculiarity, it is possible to associate this diminished chord only with a seventh chord: E7. If we contextualize Fm/B in the key of C major, it is possible to use it as V/VI. An interesting alternative is to consider this chord as the minor fourth degree (both in major and minor tones). The presence of the tritone gives further dynamic thrust towards the tonic chord. In the latter case the reference scale is doric #4.
Application: this chord represents a further alternative to an altered chord, reinterpretable as B+(addb9).
Hybrid structures with diminished triads
C°/C# C°/E C°/F
1. C°/C#: C#maj9(sus4)
Application: this chord works particularly well as a delay of the first degree in a major key, as it has the right fourth inside it and lacks the third.
2. C°/E: Emaj9(#5)omit3
b6 = # 5
Application: it is possible to use this chord as a delay or variation of the tonic chord in major key, or you can take advantage of its harmonic peculiarities and then use it as a chord pivot (first degree and V/VI). Its double function is possible thanks to the natural tendency of the triad C° to resolve on the Dbm chord (enarmically C#m: sixth degree of the tonality of E major), within which this chord can also absolve – as we said earlier – a delay (or variation) of the first degree.
3. C°/F: F7(b9)omit3
Application: this chord can be used as an alternative to the fifth degree or to a secondary dominant chord
4. C ° / G: alternative to IVm
Application: this chord works particularly well as the minor fourth degree with the augmented fourth (reference scale: Doric #4). Being the chord in the first invertion, it binds particularly well with the first degree, with which it shares the bass.
5. C°/A# (C°/Bb)
Application: it is possible to resolve the harmonic tension generated by this chord on all the resolutive chords of the triads C°. In particular, a very effective resolution is obtained on the minor seventh chord of which the bass is the tonic. This is possible thanks to the natural movement of the minor sixth and fourth of the resolution chord, which tend to resolve respectively on the fifth and on the minor third.
Application: this chord constitutes a further alternative to the dominant chord.
Summary diagram of the possible resolutions of the tritone contained in C °
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PISTON Walter, Armonia, Turin, EDT, 1989.
LEVINE Mark, The jazz theory book, Petaluma, Sher Music, 1995.
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