We seem to think that some of those 'far-out' seventh chords are only the remit of jazz music but you can as I understand it add a fourth note to any of the diatonic chords in standard harmony to make a seventh-chord.

Is the following example from 'Für Elise' an example of a Diminished seventh chord built on the leading tone note of a minor, used as a cliffhanger to really superb effect.

enter image description here

Link to the score here.

  • 17
    Diminished seventh chords are extremely common in classical music. An example like the one you’re posting isn’t even chromatic; it’s just the standard form of the vii°7, in the most common inversion no less. Jan 19, 2019 at 14:13
  • E-(L)-(I)-S-E... music.stackexchange.com/questions/80263/…
    – user53472
    Mar 8, 2019 at 13:53

3 Answers 3


Yep, it is! G♯ is the root, and B, D, and F are the third, fifth, and seventh, respectively.

Notice that, since B is in the bass, this is in first inversion, so it's a vii°6/5. As it often the case with the vii°6/5, it resolves to tonic in first inversion so that the diminished fifth B–F can resolve inward, with the B resolving up the tonic's chordal third of C.

This is by no means uncommon in tonal music of the Common-practice period. Whoever "we" is that thinks it's only the remit of jazz is missing out on a lot of fully diminished seventh chords! They were used consistently long before Bach.

  • 1
    And then there was an entire section on common-tone diminished seventh chords I got from my music theory classes. (They're most commonly found in Romantic-era music, from my experience, and they do not resolve like the others.)
    – Dekkadeci
    Jan 19, 2019 at 14:31
  • @Dekkadeci Make that an answer please that sounds very interesting.
    – Neil Meyer
    Jan 19, 2019 at 15:24
  • @NeilMeyer Maybe it would be best to ask another question?
    – Richard
    Jan 19, 2019 at 15:43

as Pat says in his comment: the dim 7 chords are very common in classic music

  1. as substitution of the V to the tonic (as in your example)
  2. as (vii°7) to any step of the scale (in all inversions) -> Bach's prelude 1 in C
  3. for modulation from on key to another (as VII° leading to the I 46 of the new tonic:


a) C F G C cadence than modulation C - c minor - c-dim7 - Db

b) C am F dm D#° Am/E E7 Am


Yes, it is. It is G♯dim7/B. In Roman numerals, we write as viio6/5.

Diatonic seventh chords of A minor:

  • Am(maj7)/C
  • Bm7(♭5)/D
  • Caug(maj7)/E
  • Dm7/F
  • E7/G♯
  • Fmaj7/A
  • G♯dim7/B
  • 5
    This doesn't add anything new that the other answers don't already say.
    – Dom
    Feb 20, 2019 at 14:26

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