Descending Diminished Chord (Follow-up To Ballads Harmony Workshop)

Hi guys, here’s a follow-up to the Jazz Standards - Ballads Harmony Workshop on the topic on ‘descending diminished’.

As mentioned in class, we were looking into the second chord on ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’:

Screenshot 2023-02-14 at 11.50.50

As we know, diminished chord has tension, and is always related to a dominant (V) chord. In this case as well.

With a first look it seems weird how F#/Gb dim can resolve to F-7, and actually directly it doesn’t. Let’s look at the chord and to what dominant derives from it:

But of course, F7 doesn’t resolve to F-7 directly. However, it resolves to Bb, in this key being the V (Bb7 → Ebmaj). So, F#dim in this case is actually resolving to the Bb7, making it a secondary dominant, a V of V. And because we should treat II V as a one thing, not separating the two chords from each other, we can resolve the V of V (in this case F#dim) to F-7, taking that it is followed by Bb7.

Here also are two tutorials where I’m talking about the subject:

And more advanced (starting ca. 1:40):

Let me know if you have any further questions!

All the best,


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I remember it took me a while to understand that part of the song but the way I interpreted it was a rootless F7b9 (which is basically a Gb diminished) resolving to Bb7. Where F7 is the secondary dominant to Eb (the 5 of Bb). However, instead of going directly to Bb, you “reharmonize” (quotes because I know this is a reharmonization technique I’ve seen @Hayden use but I think in this case it’s part of the original harmony) by adding the 2 of Eb which is F-7.

Wanted to add this in the thread because it is a good reharmonization technique to add to the players toolkit aside from 36251s, tritones etc. For adding more harmony to an arrangement (Which I just so happen to have forgotten completely if not for yesterdays seminar :sweat_smile:). Thanks as always @Tuomo

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