In this article, you’ll learn how to construct the A flat diminished triad as well as how to play it on piano and guitar.
We’ve also included sections on inversions for those that want a deeper understanding. Lastly, listen to some examples of popular songs that featured this triad.
Root, Flat 3rd and Flat 5th
The A flat diminished triad is formed of the 1st, flat 3rd and flat 5th of the A flat major scale.
- Ab – root note
- Cb – Minor 3rd above the root
- Ebb – diminished 5th above the root
Here is the triad written on the stave in the treble and bass clef.
Before you read on make sure that you have a basic understanding of intervals. Intervals are vital for understanding how triads are built. Check out our guide to major, minor and perfect intervals for more on this.
A flat diminished Triad on Piano
Below you can see how to play this triad on the keyboard or piano. This pattern of notes could also be played starting on any A flat note.
However, the order of the notes must be the same:
- A flat – lowest note
- C flat – middle note
- E double flat – highest note
This is called ‘root position’.
Ab dim Triad on Guitar
There are two simple positions that you can use to play an A flat diminished chord on guitar. Both positions can also be slide up or down the neck to play different diminished triads.
A 1st inversion is where we take a triad but we start on the second note, which in this case is C flat. We still keep the Ebb above, but then the Ab (or root) become the highest note.
- Cb – min 3rd (lowest note)
- Ebb – dim 5th (middle note)
- Ab – root note (highest note)
This way of rearranging a triad gives us a different sound as the relative pitches of the three notes has changed.
1st inversion on Piano
On the piano we can play the 1st inversion of a Ab diminished chord by starting on C flat. They play the Ebb above and the Ab above this.
1st Inversion of Guitar
Below are the most common shapes for playing an Ab diminished chord in the 1st inversion. Remember that we can only use certain shapes are the pitches of the three notes are important.
A 2nd inversion is where we take a triad but we start on the third note, which in this case is E double flat. We still keep the A flat above this as we did from the 1st inversion. Then the C flat becomes the highest note in the chord.
- Ebb – dim 5th (lowest note)
- Ab – root note (middle note)
- Cb – min 3rd (highest note)
2nd inversion on Piano
On the piano we can play the 2nd inversion of an Ab diminished triad by starting on a Ebb. They play the Ab above and the Cb above this.
2nd Inversion of Guitar
Below are the most common shapes for playing an A flat dim chord in the 2nd inversion. Remember that we can only use certain shapes are the pitches of the three notes are important.
Keys that Include A flat Diminished Triad
You might be asking – what key do you find A flat diminished triad in? Well, as you can see below, Ab Dim is the second chord in the key of F# minor. AbDim is enharmonically equivalent to G#Dim.
It is also the 7th chord in the key of A Major.