What's a Half-Diminished Chord (m7b5)
- By Stef Ramin
- On 2017-04-07
- 2 comments
This guitar lesson explains what is m7b5 chord, how to play it on guitar and how to apply it in common harmonic contexts as major and minor II-V-I progressions.
What is a Half-diminished Chord?
Minor 7 flat 5 chord is close to a diminished 7th chord, the first 3 notes are identical, but the 4th is different. This chord can be written in two ways: m7b5 or Ø. If you do not know how to play and what is a diminished 7th chord, you can read this page about diminished chord voicings.
As is it shown in the chart below, the half-diminished chord is built with a root (1), a minor third (b3), a flat fifth (b5) and a minor 7th (b7). The diminished 7th chord has a diminished 7th instead of the minor seventh. This is the only difference between these two chords.
|Half-diminished 7th chord||1||b3||b5||b7|
|Diminished 7th chord||1||b3||b5||bb7|
You can find the half-diminished chord in a number of harmonized scales. For example the 7th degree of the major scale, the 2nd degree of the harmonic minor scale and the 6th and 7th degree of the melodic minor scale.
Harmonized Major Scale
When you harmonize in thirds the degree VII of the major scale you obtain a m7b5 chord.
|C major scale||C||D||E||F||G||A||B|
Harmonized Harmonic Minor Scale
When you harmonize in thirds the degree II of the harmonic minor scale you get a m7b5 chord.
|C Harmonic minor scale||C||D||Eb||F||G||Ab||B|
Harmonized Melodic Minor Scale
When you harmonize in thirds the degrees VI and VII of the major scale you obtain two m7b5 chords.
|C Harmonic minor scale||C||D||Eb||F||G||A||B|
Half-diminished guitar chord diagrams
Here are the three main m7b5 guitar chord shapes. The first one is drop 3 voiced whereas the two other voicings are drop 2.
How to use the half-diminished chord
The m7b5 chord can be found in different contexts and is used in different substitutions. For example, when playing a minor II V I progression, the 2nd degree is a m7b5.
The half-diminished chord is specially a leading chord, the sound strongly pulls towards resolution. It is possible to use it as a diatonic substitution for a dominant 7th chord. Try to play the m7b5 a major 3rd higher than the dominant 7 chord to replace it. For example, use Bm7b5 for G7.
- This II-V-I : Dm7 | G7 | Cmaj7 becomes Dm7 | B-7b5 | Cmaj7
You can use the m7b5 as a substitution for a minor 7th chord, built from a minor third below. Meaning that you can replace Dm7 chord with Bm7b5.
- This II-V-I : Dm7 | G7 | Cmaj7 becomes Bm7b5 | G7 | Cmaj7
The minor seventh flat five chord is also an inversion of the minor 6 chord. This is a minor 6 chord with the sixth in the bass. Here is a comparison between them.
|Drop 2 Minor 6 chord formula (root position)||R||5||6||b3|
|Drop 2 D minor 6 chord||D||A||B||F|
|Drop 2 minor 6 chord formula - 3rd inversion (6 in the bass)||6||b3||5||R|
|Drop 2 - D minor 6 chord - 3rd inversion||B||F||A||D|
|Drop 2 Half-dimished chord formula (root position)||R||b5||b7||b3|
|Bm7b5 Drop 2 half-diminished chord||B||F||A||D|
As you see in the guitar neck diagrams below, the minor 6 and m7b5 chord shapes are exactly the same.
This E-book is a printable PDF method including over 700 guitar scale diagrams and formula charts.
This PDF eBook provides over 550 guitar chord shapes. This is the perfect reference guide to understand how chords are built and how to play them on guitar.
This printable PDF is a method dedicated to guitarists of all styles who want to learn the most important types of arpeggios.
This handbook for guitar players is intended both for teachers and students. It includes 126 guitar shapes for mastering triads.
This package provides a printable PDF method containing 30 exercises (tab / audio files) for practicing minor arpeggios on guitar.
This bundle contains 4 PDF methods for a total of 170 exercises with tabs & audio files for practicing scales, licks & chords over the famous 2-5-1 progression.
This package contains 120 jazz guitar lines based on diatonic modes as Mixolydian, Dorian and Ionian. PDF format with tabs, audio files and analysis.
In this package you'll get a printable PDF Method with tabs, notation, analysis, scale shapes and audio files related to 30 smooth jazz guitar licks.
This pdf method for guitar contains fourteen 2 5 1 jazz guitar lines with tab, standard notation, analysis, scale charts and audio files.
This printable PDF guitar method provides 50 exercises with audio files, analysis, tab & standard notation for practicing chords over the major 2-5-1 progression.
This PDF method contains 40 exercices with tabs, scores and audio files for practicing jazz guitar chords over the minor 2 5 1 progression.
This guitar method is a printable PDF with tabs, diagrams, theory and audio files providing 40 minor 2 5 1 jazz patterns.
PDF guitar method with tabs, audio files and theory providing 40 dominant jazz guitar lines for teachers and students.
This printable guitar method in PDF format contains 40 easy minor jazz guitar lines based on the Dorian mode.
Printable PDF eBook method containing 40 major jazz guitar licks with tab, standard notation and audio files for beginners and intermediates.
This jazz guitar method about walking bass lines and chords is available as a PDF files containing 35 exercises with tabs, analysis and audio files
This printable PDF method provides 101 dominant arpeggio exercises with tab, theory and standard notation for the jazz, blues and rock guitarist.
This printable eBook method in PDF format provides 49 jazz solo transcriptions of the greatest jazz musicians. Tab, standard notation, audio files & analysis.
This PDF method contains 11 guitar lessons with chord studies, tabs, standard notation, analysis & audio files about the main blues progressions used in jazz music.
This PDF eBook method contains 25 altered jazz guitar licks with tabs, patterns, scale charts and audio files to master, apply and develop the altered scale.
This printable method is available as a PDF file containing 40 easy dominant jazz-blues guitar lines with tabs, standard notation, analysis, audio files and scale charts.
This jazz guitar method is an eBook available as a PDF with standard notation, guitar tabs, diagrams, analysis, audio files and backing tracks. You will find in this booklet 25 easy jazz guitar lines with theory using common and rare pentatonic scales.
You will find here an eBook available in PDF containing 25 soul jazz and hard bop guitar licks in the style of Grant Green, Melvin Sparks, George Benson. These jazz lines come with tabs, standard notation, guitar neck diagrams, backing track for practice and 25 audio files for each riff.
This eBook PDF with audio files contains 25 dominant diminished jazz guitar patterns using the half-whole diminished scale and diminished 7th arpeggios.
This Printable PDF eBook available for free download contains 6 easy jazz guitar licks with tabs/notation, youtube video link and analysis about the tritone substitution.