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I recently started learning different types of chords and their shapes for guitar, after learning and for a short time practicing it, I found out I was playing M7 chord inaccurately. I was playing every note other than the root one step lower (flattening them). So I was playing A–C–D#–G instead of A–C#–E–G#. I'm a beginner when it comes to music theory but I don't think the chord I'm playing is inverted because it works in 1–4–5 E major format. But I don't know what is this chord. It sounds really nice in certain sets.

Note: This question originally asked for the chord "(R)–p4–m6–m7," but was later amended by the OP.

  • Sounds like you sharpened them instead of flattening. – Tim Jun 5 '17 at 6:36
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    Don't change the substance of your question once you post it. You have changed the original chord you asked about, A-D-F-G, to an entirely different chord: A-C-D♯-G. Now the earlier answer given by @Dom won't make sense to people who come across this question. Someone should roll back your edit, but Tim has answered your question in the context of your new chord. Maybe the best solution would be for you to rollback to the previous state, and add an edit about the new chord. – David Bowling Jun 5 '17 at 21:23
  • NOW, the title doesn't reflect the question in the body!! Help!! – Tim Jun 6 '17 at 5:09
  • sorry for confusion guys, really i understand how decieving my post and edit was. Thanks to all the guys who answered. I saw the comments before but i was ashamed of my own stupitidy to answer then i realised it kinde looked like i didnt care about the answers given. But i really appreciate it. I upvoted all your posts but since im a rookie it isnt visible and i think there is not another way to give rep, and i dont want to flood the topic with writing thanks to everyone – TheD Jun 11 '17 at 19:32
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As others have pointed out, the chord A C E♭ G is A half diminished, which is written Aø7. The primary function of the half diminished chord is to serve as the ii chord in a minor ii-V-i progression. Here are some straightforward examples of minor ii-V-i progressions, all of which use a half diminished chord for the ii:

  • Aø7—D7—Gmin (a ii-V-i in the key of G minor)
  • F#ø7—B7—Emin (a ii-V-I in the key of E minor)

And here's a web page with more reading on that progression, from a guitarist's perspective. These progressions are called "minor ii-V-i"s because they end with a minor root/i chord. Both the "major ii-V-I progression" and the "minor ii-V-i progression" are extremely common in jazz, and you're almost guaranteed to encounter one or both in any bebop song.

There is an interesting tale or legend behind the origin of the half diminished chord, and we can almost guess this story from the chord itself. Let's consider again the Aø7 chord: A C E♭ G. These exact same notes (A C E♭ G) spell out a very common voicing for F9, a dominant seventh chord in the key of F. Supposedly, when a jazz group was playing/tagging a I-IV-ii-V progression such as F7—D7—Gmin—C7, the jazz bassist would reach the I chord (the F7) and play the third note of the F7 chord (an A) instead of the root note (an F). Musically, this sounded great, because now the bassist is playing A-D-G-C, a series of notes that help make up "the cycle of fourths." So now the progression is F7/A—D7—Gmin—C7. But instead of calling this new chord F7/A, we call it Aø7, thus giving Aø7—D7—Gmin—C7. If we isolate those first three chords, we have a minor ii-V-i progression: Aø7—D7—Gmin. So the half-diminished chord serves as the ii chord in a minor ii-V-I progression, and allegedly it arose from jazz bassists who played the third of the I chord instead of playing the root during a I-VI-ii-V progression.

Given how similar major ii-V-I progressions are to minor ii-V-i progressions, it might be worth showing a few major ii-V-I progressions:

  • Amin—D7—GMaj (a ii-V-I in the key of G major)
  • F#min—B7—EMaj (a ii-V-I in the key of E major)

You'll notice two main differences: (a) major ii-V-I progressions use a minor ii chord instead of a half diminished ii chord, and (b) major ii-V-I progressions end on a major I chord instead of ending on a minor i chord.

  • Why 'serves as a lead-in for a minor chord' ? F>D isn't that. And how does it justify Gm>C, as the bass using that pattern would play Bb as the 'leading note', thus the chord wouln't have the same make up. But it's a nice story! – Tim Jun 6 '17 at 5:06
  • The full progression is ii-V-i. The ii and V together lead to the minor i chord. The "lead in" is not composed of the ii chord alone, as the progression shows. The later statement "The half diminished chord thus serves as a ii chord for a ii-V-i progression in a minor key" is supposed to clarify/further specify the earlier statement "it serves as a lead-in for a minor chord." – jdjazz Jun 7 '17 at 11:25
  • Historically, when tagging a i-VI-ii-V progression, the minor chord we're leading to is the ii chord. If you play the i chord over the third and then shift the iii-VI-ii progression down so that the ii chord becomes the new root, this gives ii-V-i. Is it just that one statement about "lead in" that is unclear? Are the later examples in the post clear? I will come up with an edit to clarify this since the later statements in the post don't seem to be enough to do the trick. – jdjazz Jun 7 '17 at 11:25
  • I was mystified by the ii chord, which in a minor key, isn't a ii. It's iio, and usually it leads to something rather than something leading to it. Don't see how a dim or half dim chord can be a root. Sorry, still a bit confused! – Tim Jun 7 '17 at 11:58
  • Consider this progression in G: | G7 | E7 | Amin | D7 | This is a I-VI-ii-V. Now imagine that the bassist reaches the G7 and doesn't play G, but instead plays B (which is the third of the G7 chord). The new progression is | G7/B | E7 | Amin | D7 | But instead of calling the first chord G7/B, we call it Bø. So now the progression is | Bø | E7 | Amin | D7 |. If you drop the D7 chord, we have a minor ii-V-i: | Bø | E7 | Amin |. Is this clear? I've edited the original post. Please do check out. – jdjazz Jun 7 '17 at 21:24
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It's just a Dm(add11) in second inversion. You would most likely see it as written as the slash chord Dm(add11)/A.

You could look at it as a type of A chord, but it's a rather roundabout chord which would be A7b13sus4 with the 5th being implied.

  • wow man 've got so much to learn but in my initial question i've written the notes wrong even tho i flattend them while playing (it was sharpnd as tim suggested) but i've played with the shape a bit and now i have a better chord A-C-F-G can i ask what would that chord be (i've listed them in pitch order low to high pitch) – TheD Jun 5 '17 at 19:31
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In the context of your re-named chord notes: A C Eb G is called A minor 7 b5, (Am7b5), otherwise known as A half diminished. Yes, a good sounding chord in lots of situations. It'll be Eb rather than D#, as it's the 5 (E), that gets moved to a dim 5 from the A, making it Eb.

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I know, It is a m7(#11)no5th chord

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