From a pure theoretical perspective, what would be the appropriate names for these two chords? I want to respect the specific degrees. In other words, not treating the double flat seventh as a sixth, nor the third as a ninth.

R, b3, 5, bb7

R, bb3, b5, bb7

For reference, theses chord happen naturally in the Double Harmonic scale, the third and seventh mode respectively.

  • 4
    Intervals aren't "flat" or "double-flat", etc., they are "minor", "diminished", "doubly-diminished", etc. Sep 15, 2023 at 4:03
  • 1
    The top chord has the structure of X half-diminished 6/5 if the bb7 is respelled. The bottom chord has the structure of X4/2 exactly.
    – Dekkadeci
    Sep 15, 2023 at 14:41
  • 1
    @ElementsinSpace what you describe is classical nomenclature. In jazz nomenclature intervals diatonic in the major scale are called "natural", and any alterations are "flat", "sharp", "double flat" etc. Sep 15, 2023 at 19:54
  • @user1079505 In jazz they don't even play the right notes. Sep 16, 2023 at 3:36

2 Answers 2


Since music theory does not address the double-harmonic scale or its modes, you could really call those chords anything you like. These chords simply don't exist in standard music theory, because chords are considered to be combinations of minor and major thirds.

In this case, the naming convention would simply serve the purpose of expressing the intervals in the chords, so names like

  • Xmin(bb7) and
  • Xdim7(bb3)

would be sufficient.

Otherwise, a functional theory of the double harmonic would have to be invented, naming these chords according to their operation within the key. For example

  • Xdhiii7 (X double-harmonic iii-seven chord) and
  • Xdhvii7 (X double-harmonic vii-seven chord)

The 'Chord Symbol' system of naming chords is based on a diatonic major scale. 'C' is a C major triad, we don't have to say 'C MAJOR'. 'Cadd2' is a C major triad plus a major 2nd. If we want a minor triad or a minor 2nd, we have to say so. (Yes,'7' is an exception, it means 'minor 7th'.) But basically the major triad and scale is taken as the norm, anything else needs to be named as a specific modification of it.

This naming system works for music in major, minor or simple modal tonalities. It falls down when confronted with the Double Harmonic scale. If you feel a triad-based naming system would be useful in this environment, you'll have to invent one. I think I'd just go with a simple description, like your initial suggestion: 'R, b3, 5, bb7', 'R, bb3, b5, bb7' etc.

(Note that even then, you're labelling the notes as modifications of the major scale! It's pretty well entrenched in our 'theory' syntax!)

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