Magic Choral Trick #96 Balancing the Half Diminished Chord – the Controversy

High on the list of any musician’s priorities would have to be finding the correct resonant balance for the half diminished chord. Well – perhaps the choral director subset of musicians. And amongst those are the truly fanatical about such things – the Barbershop directors.

So here’s the scoop about the controversy.

I had originally heard that in a half diminished chord all parts should be balanced equally – and this does work well. Well, certainly better than just taking a stab at it and hoping for the best.

But I still felt that I wanted more from this type of chord, so I asked Ig Jakovac, a singing judge with the Barbershop Harmony Society – and here’s what he said:

“Half-diminished chords should be balanced with the perfect interval (fourth, fifth) predominant. Some find a more consonant sound is achieved when the lowest minor third, if it exists, is emphasized.”

A half diminished chord, if it’s sung in tune, with good quality is always going to sound exciting. But Wow! When that third, the second note from the bottom is emphasized a bit more, something in the feeling of depth in the chord gets much richer.

Thought you’d all like to know.

About janetkidd

I've been waving my arms in front of choirs now for more than 35 years - and these are descriptions of all the very best things I've learned. I direct a Women's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Men's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Med School choir, and for a few weeks each year - Big Choir (about 100 voices) - which performs at an annual fundraising concert. Hope at least some of these Choral Magic Tricks will be useful to you - and thanks for reading. Janet

Posted on February 24, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Keep up the great work – love it!!

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