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Rebecca Wilde
Jun 11
Is there an easy way to differentiate between a minor and diminished chord?
Because sometimes I can definitely tell the differences but sometimes not . . . .
Any tips?
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The way I can tell is the diminished chord sounds like it needs to resolve. That is because of the tritone or dim5 interval from the root in the chord. I just feel it pulling towards the major 5th the way a major 7th pulls to the tonic.

Maybe practice listening to the D5 interval to be able to recognize more easily.

Not sure if this helps or not. But that's my way of hearing it.
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Josh Keisler
Jun 11
For me the diminished chord sounds much more dissonant and full of tension. Perfect chord for scary parts of a horror movie whereas a minor chord wouldn't really work because it sounds more sad/melancholy and more stable. This trick is easier to use when the chords are more isolated because the context (the progression/song) can affect your perception of the mood of individual chords.

I also have a song that outlines the notes of an ascending minor chord arpeggio and when I think of it or sing it, it helps me differentiate it. Unfortunately, it's from a Jewish prayer I know from when I was a kid so that's not that useful for you but you might be able to find some songs that outline the minor chord or you can just play the notes of the minor chord and learn to sing the arpeggio. With the diminished chord that'll be harder but still possible.

You could also get used to the sound of the tritone and use it to identify the diminished chord because it's pretty dissonant and distinctive. The first two notes of the Simpsons theme song is a good way to remember that interval (if you watched it a lot like I did back in the day).

Anyway, good luck and just keep listening!
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Rebecca Wilde
Jun 11
Thankyou! I'll keep trying :)
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joe geraci
Jun 12
Diminished chords are way more sour than minor
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Min = sad & pretty, dim = clashy sounding
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Honky Tonky
Jun 13
Steve Vai has this book where he speaks of experimental learning and the connotation of colours and emotion to certain notes or chords, so maybe try to listen to the chords with your eyes closed and really dig deep into the tone and create your own visual and see how it makes you feel. I feel it tends to be quite an intimate process that is between you and the music (even if it's an ear training exercise).
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Try and listen to the pull of the chord. Diminished chords are less stable than minor chords. They are almost always pulling towards the tonic, unless they are secondary chords, which are then essentially modulating to a new key.