Show off your music theory chops with my weekly challenge! You’ll find a new question posted here every Monday, and you can comment to post your reply.
This week’s challenge:
How should you spell the note names for this A flat half-diminished seventh chord (for you jazz cats and rock hounds, that’s an A flat minor 7 flat 5). Then, respell the chord as a G sharp half-diminished seventh!
Check back on Friday, May 14th for the answer. Fear no harmony!
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ANSWER for 5/10/21
Chords are always spelled in thirds, which means their notes have to skip letter names. When you write a chord, always start with just the bare letter names, and add the accidentals later. For an A flat half-diminished seventh chord, the letter names are A–C–E–G. That’s what we’re stuck with, and the letter names can’t be changed. So the correct spelling is A flat, C flat, E double flat, and G flat.
Obviously, no one much cares for this spelling! That’s why you’ll more commonly find this chord spelled enharmonically as a G sharp half-diminished seventh. Keep in mind, B and C flat might be the same pitch, but they’re not the same note. Think of homonyms like their and there: two different words, with two different meanings, that happen to sound the same.