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Section 18.3 Analyzing Secondary Diminished Chords

When you encounter a chord with a chromaticism and suspect it is a secondary diminished seventh chord, use the following process.

  1. Stack the chord in thirds to determine the root and quality. If the chord quality is a diminished triad or a half–diminished and fully–diminished seventh chord, go on to step 2. If the chord quality is not a diminished triad or a half–diminished and fully–diminished seventh chord, the chord is not a secondary diminished chord.

    The chord in question is an G♯ half–diminished seventh chord in first inversion.

  2. Determine the note that would be a minor 2nd above the root of the chord you are analyzing. If this note of resolution would be the root of a diatonic chord, the chord you are analyzing is a secondary diminished chord.

    This \(\left.\text{G}^♯{}^ø{}^{7}\middle/\text{B}\right.\) is analyzed as \(\left.\text{vii}^ø{}^{6}_{5}\middle/\text{V}\right.\) in D major.