What is the II chord in Am?

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FuengiFuengi Frets: 562
Had lesson yesterday, it's makes on the sheet as Bd/m (or is it Bdim?) What is this chord?
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  • ArchtopDaveArchtopDave Frets: 405
    edited March 24
    It’s B Diminished. The notes in the chord are B, D and F - Root, Flat 3rd and Flat 5th. If you add the 7th, which in this case is a Flat 7th, then you have Bm7b5, which is a Half Diminished Chord. You are simply taking the Notes themselves from the A Minor Scale.
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  • sm55onlsm55onl Frets: 23
    edited March 24
    I’m no expert but from doing some reading of late...

    A (natural) minor scale: A B C D E F G | A B C...(ad inifinitum)
    http://www.guitar-chords.org.uk/chords-key-a-minor.html

    Thereafter take, starting from note B (building chords via triads) each alternate note...giving the group of notes
    B D F A

    Now set the above group of notes against the B major scale (B C# D# E F# G# A#)
    http://www.guitar-chords.org.uk/guitarscales/b-major-scale.html

    B [root],
    D [flat third, b3]
    F [flat fifth, b5]
    A [flat seventh, b7]

    Thus, depending on whether a group of three notes (B D and F) or four notes (B D F A) is used then the harmonised (diatonic ?) chords will be either

    B dim
    [R, b3, b5]

    or

    B half-diminished (or named as Bmin7b5 or Bm7b5)
    [R, b3, b5, b7]

    http://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/jazz-guitar-chord-theory/


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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3107
    Brian Wilson knew how to use a ii chord. :)
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • BlueingreenBlueingreen Frets: 684
    edited March 24
    The way I learned this was to learn the pattern of 7th chords in the major scale. IM7/IIm7/lllm7/lVM7/Vdom7/VIm7/Vllm7-5.

    (So C maj: Cmaj 7, D-7, E-7, Fmaj 7, G7, A-7, Bm7 flat 5). 

    You can remove the 7ths if you want basic triads maj/min/diminished.

    For minor keys, you use the scale from the relative major.  For Am, Cmaj.  So the same chords as above except you start with Am7 as your l chord. So Am7/Bm7-5/Cmaj 7 and so on.

    The quirk to watch out for is that often in minor keys the V chord is changed to a Dom 7: so in Am the Em7 is changed to a E7.  Strictly speaking the G sharp in an E7 isn't in the key of Am, but you get a stronger resolution to the 1 chord if the V chord is dominant.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.” Bertrand Russell

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  • bigjonbigjon Frets: 623
    edited March 25
    For most minor harmony in jazz, you should use the Harmonic minor scale eg A B C D E F G# A.
    The ii V i progression is then
    ii - B D F A = Bm7b5
    V - E G# B D = E7 as referenced by Blueingreen in the previous post.
    i - A C E (G#) = Am(maj7)

    For instance, the first 3 bars of Black Orpheus / Manha Da Carnival / Day In The Life Of A Fool are
    Am |Bm7b5 E7|Am which is
    i |ii V|i

    For most rock / blues / pop and a few bluesier jazz standards like Moondance or some versions of Summertime the chords are constructed instead from the Dorian minor scale A B C D E F# G A which gives a i chord of Am7 as before but a ii chord of B D F# A which is Bm7.
    The v chord should strictly speaking be E G B D which is Em7 but often substitutes an E7 borrowed from the Harmonic minor scale, to get a stronger harmonic pull from the V to the i.
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  • BoopDeWoopBoopDeWoop Frets: 81
    Or just think of the Am key being C maj. The chord after Am in C is Bdim. so if Am is I then Bdim is II and C is III. Simple.
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  • Jedi42Jedi42 Frets: 4
    Great comments from above. The thing about minor harmonic structures is that it can be confusing when you first start considering them as there are choices which depends on the underlying minor scale system you utilise.
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2653
    I can think of only a couple of songs that use a diminished chord, 'Friends in Low Places' by Garth Brooks is one, it seems to be the forgotten chord for guitar players as a lot of songs get by using 1, 1V & V. Blues especially.

    Anyone care to suggest songs that utilise diminished chords.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • FuengiFuengi Frets: 562
    Thanks all.
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  • BillKatBillKat Frets: 1040

    A quick way to figure out out chords within a scale, stack thirds from a root:
    Assuming this Am scale is natural minor, going from the II note gives us B-D-F for the triad, i.e. B dim.
    Stack on another third and you get B-D-F-A, so B minor 7 flat 5, aka half-diminished.

    This works all over, take A Phrygian for something similar but slightly different ( A Bb C D E F G A ). So here your II is a Bb. A triad from stacked thirds give Bb-D-F, so Bb major. Lob another on top and Bb-D-F-A makes Bb maj 7th.


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  • PhibTreMorPhibTreMor Frets: 4
    Rocker said:
    Anyone care to suggest songs that utilise diminished chords.

    Off the top of my head, "Lean Baby" and "Angel Eyes" and there's a few more that Frank Sinatra hosted.  "Black Coffee" sung by Ella Fitzgerald perhaps?
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 6982
    Rocker said:
    Anyone care to suggest songs that utilise diminished chords.

    Off the top of my head, "Lean Baby" and "Angel Eyes" and there's a few more that Frank Sinatra hosted.  "Black Coffee" sung by Ella Fitzgerald perhaps?

    IIRC, Need Your Love So Bad ( Peter Green, I think the very original was Little Willie John?). Ghost Town by The Specials. 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • BlueingreenBlueingreen Frets: 684
    Diminished chords are used a lot in jazz, and jazz styles of pop (eg Mac the Knife) but also early pop/rock (The Beatles use them a fair bit).  They're often a passing chord enabling a less abrupt transition between other chords.

    They are also very closely related to to dom 7 flat 9 chords, probably the most common alteration on a dom 7 chord.  A G sharp dim chord is the same as a G7b9 without the root, which means you can normally play any diminished chord containing a G sharp instead of a G7 resolving to C major or minor when comping jazz.  This may sound like a quite esoteric piece of information if you never play jazz, but in pratcice It's incredibly useful.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wise people so full of doubts.” Bertrand Russell

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  • vizviz Frets: 4785
    edited March 28
    Rocker said:
    I can think of only a couple of songs that use a diminished chord, 'Friends in Low Places' by Garth Brooks is one, it seems to be the forgotten chord for guitar players as a lot of songs get by using 1, 1V & V. Blues especially.

    Anyone care to suggest songs that utilise diminished chords.
    There’s one on Damned Damned Damned by The Damned. @Deadman?
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 6982
    Ooh, Rockin All Over the World! 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • DeadmanDeadman Frets: 2565
    edited March 28
    I wouldn't know if I was playing one @Viz! I do knock out a few off there too.
    My trading feedback is here 
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  • ArchtopDaveArchtopDave Frets: 405
    As above - plenty in the jazzier end of the spectrum.
    David Bowie : Absolute Beginners.
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  • Rocker said:
    I can think of only a couple of songs that use a diminished chord, 'Friends in Low Places' by Garth Brooks is one, it seems to be the forgotten chord for guitar players as a lot of songs get by using 1, 1V & V. Blues especially.

    Anyone care to suggest songs that utilise diminished chords.
    Astonishingly, 'Single Ladies' by Beyonce.
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  • VeganicVeganic Frets: 286
    Loads of Aztec Camera songs.
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  • vizviz Frets: 4785
    edited March 31
    Deadman said:
    I wouldn't know if I was playing one @Viz! I do knock out a few off there too.
    My mistake - I was thinking of Fan club from Damned Damned Damned, but on listening to it it’s actually in Dorian so has a i minor and a ii minor.
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  • flying_pieflying_pie Frets: 412
    Rocker said:

    Anyone care to suggest songs that utilise diminished chords.
    Muse - New Born

    Extreme - More Than Words (I'm pretty sure there's a diminished arpeggio run in there when he plays it live) 
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  • Jedi42Jedi42 Frets: 4
    Depending on the scale it will be (in a 3 note diatonic system) B dim. In a four note diatonic system B min7 b5. In a harmonic diatonic system it will be the same and Bmin7 in melodic minor system (4 note).
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  • vizviz Frets: 4785
    Those aeolian progressions that back-cycle round the circle of 5ths usually get round to the ii dim eventually; Gary Moore springs to mind:

    i-iv-VII-III-VI-ii dim - V - i (Parisienne Walkways)
    iv-VII-III-VI-ii dim - V - i (Still got the Blues)


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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2653
    viz said:
    Those aeolian progressions that back-cycle round the circle of 5ths usually get round to the ii dim eventually; Gary Moore springs to mind:

    i-iv-VII-III-VI-ii dim - V - i (Parisienne Walkways)
    iv-VII-III-VI-ii dim - V - i (Still got the Blues)


    @viz, could you please list the chords, in the order you wrote above, for Parisienne Walkways. My brain remains stubbornly out of gear today. Strangely enough I tried to play that song last night.  A minor, D minor seventh, D minor seventh/G, C major seventh..... Was I even close? Thanks.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • vizviz Frets: 4785
    edited April 2
    Rocker said:
    viz said:
    Those aeolian progressions that back-cycle round the circle of 5ths usually get round to the ii dim eventually; Gary Moore springs to mind:

    i-iv-VII-III-VI-ii dim - V - i (Parisienne Walkways)
    iv-VII-III-VI-ii dim - V - i (Still got the Blues)


    @viz, could you please list the chords, in the order you wrote above, for Parisienne Walkways. My brain remains stubbornly out of gear today. Strangely enough I tried to play that song last night.  A minor, D minor seventh, D minor seventh/G, C major seventh..... Was I even close? Thanks.


    Sure yep and you’re right so far;

    Am
    Dm (or Dm7)
    G (or G7)
    C (or Cmaj7)
    F (or Fmaj7)
    Bdim (some people play Dm or Dm add6, but it’s really Bdim)
    E7
    Am


    It’s important that the B isn’t a “dim7” chord. Dim7 chords have a bb7 note - 1 b3 b5 bb7. The dim chord is just 1 b3 b5. 

    If you want to add a 7th you need Bm7b5, or the “half-diminished” chord, which has a minor 7th not a diminished 7th - ie an A not an Ab (G#). This is important because the chord progresses to the E7, so mustn’t already have the G# in it (which would be the major 3rd of the E7) - it should have an A in it, which comes down to a G# on the E7, and then back up for the final resolution to the A chord (and note). That gives a nice little melody within the chords. Basically it’s a ii-V-i progression. 

    Normally B half-diminished is played x2323x but I like moving from C7 (x35453) up the fretboard to Fmaj7 (x 8 10 9 10 x), and playing the Bm7b5 as 7 8 9 10 10 x. You don’t get the minor 3rd (unless you play a 10 on the top E string) but it’s a really easy convenient way of getting the diminished 5th. 
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  • My band's single has a diminished chord right off the bat. E - Abdim - A   =)  Shameless self plug I know, but you did ask for a song that utilises it! We use them in nearly all our tracks!



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  • vizviz Frets: 4785
    edited April 2
    My band's single has a diminished chord right off the bat. E - Abdim - A    Shameless self plug I know, but you did ask for a song that utilises it! We use them in nearly all our tracks!



    That’s beautiful and a really lovely video too. I love that puff of smoke! 

    Do you mean A#dim btw?
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  • ToneControlToneControl Frets: 4062
    Rocker said:
    I can think of only a couple of songs that use a diminished chord, 'Friends in Low Places' by Garth Brooks is one, it seems to be the forgotten chord for guitar players as a lot of songs get by using 1, 1V & V. Blues especially.

    Anyone care to suggest songs that utilise diminished chords.
    I vaguely remembered seeing lots of them (and Aug chords) in Beatles songbooks
    googling I found this list, I haven't checked it:
    Here There and Everywhere
    Michelle
    If I Fell
    My Sweet Lord
    I Want You (She's So Heavy)
    Blue Jay Way
    And I Love Her

    this guy shoes where you can use them (basically between I and ii, and between V and VI):

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  • vizviz Frets: 4785
    edited April 2
    Rocker said:
    I can think of only a couple of songs that use a diminished chord, 'Friends in Low Places' by Garth Brooks is one, it seems to be the forgotten chord for guitar players as a lot of songs get by using 1, 1V & V. Blues especially.

    Anyone care to suggest songs that utilise diminished chords.
    I vaguely remembered seeing lots of them (and Aug chords) in Beatles songbooks
    googling I found this list, I haven't checked it:
    Here There and Everywhere
    Michelle
    If I Fell
    My Sweet Lord
    I Want You (She's So Heavy)
    Blue Jay Way
    And I Love Her

    this guy shoes where you can use them (basically between I and ii, and between V and VI):

    Nice. Diminished and half-diminished chords seem broadly to fall into two categories - 1) where the bass note shifts up (or down) a semitone as a passing note en route to a tone above (or below), and as proper diminished chords in Locrian position like in ii(dim)-V-i progressions à la Parisienne Walkways.

    And actually there’s a 3rd category, where it sounds like a dim chord but could be considered as something else - like off the b5 of the scale where it’s very likely actually to be a II7 chord in 2nd inversion (you could consider H Phillips’s example as that) or where the Locrian triad in a major key is actually a V7 in 1st inversion. 
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  • viz said:
    My band's single has a diminished chord right off the bat. E - Abdim - A    Shameless self plug I know, but you did ask for a song that utilises it! We use them in nearly all our tracks!



    That’s beautiful and a really lovely video too. I love that puff of smoke! 

    Do you mean A#dim btw?
    Thanks Viz, appreciate the kind words! You're absolutely right, A# it is! Was nodding off when I posted!
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