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I'm having trouble figuring the v and vii chords in the double harmonic scale. Is it correct to assume the v is the supertonic half-diminished 7th in its 2nd inversion and the vii is the supertonic dominant 7th in its 3rd inversion? Can anyone confirm and what would the correct notation be?

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As I see it, there really is no standard notation for these, since there are not the standard triads or seventh chords used in Roman numeral notation.

The C double harmonic minor scale is C Df E F G Af B C.

Thus the "V" chord is G B Df and the "VII" chord is B Df F. Neither one of these are one of the four standard types of triads (major, minor, diminished, augmented).

Your assumptions (stated in the original post) are incorrect because you're assuming that the "V" chord has all of the same pitches as the "ii" chord, just with the fifth scale degree in the bass. Since this isn't the case, the "V" and "VII" chords will not be the "ii" chord in various inversions.

But there are interesting aspects to these "V" and VII" chords: both are subsets of the whole-tone collection, and as such they can have dominant function. Furthermore, they're both subsets of the same whole-tone collection Df Ef F G A B, so they can both resolve to the tonic of C.

Another way to view their dominant function is to view both chords as subsets of the V7f5 (in this case, G B Df F).

There are more things to say; the "VII" is an Italian augmented sixth chord (though in a funny inversion) and the "V" is a subset of the French augmented sixth. But that starts to get us a bit far off-base, I think!

Edit: Related to the "V" chord G B Df, I just came across Matt L.'s answer in whats the triad formed root +maj 3rd +maj 2nd called?, where he says:

I know that in German and Dutch, there is a specific name for this chord: hartvermindert (German), and hardverminderd (Dutch). As far as I know there is no specific term for it in English.

  • Does hardverminderd not just mean half diminished? I'm relatively certain Verminderd means Diminished. – Neil Meyer Nov 3 '16 at 7:41
  • You're thinking halbvermindert. ("Halb" being German for "half.") – Richard Nov 3 '16 at 16:29
  • aah yes off course. – Neil Meyer Nov 3 '16 at 16:31
  • Can those two triads be played by themselves just the way they are or are they only played with an included 7th/9th note...etc? – zeukin Nov 3 '16 at 17:22
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    Including a seventh to make 'G B Df F' results in a V7f5. Adding a seventh to make 'B Df F Af' results in a V7 chord in third inversion (equivalent to a German diminished third chord). Adding a ninth would just add colors to the seventh chords. Certainly doable! – Richard Nov 3 '16 at 17:54

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