What do you call a chord made of a diminished triad with a sixth on top?! I've marked the chords in red; would it be considered a G7 in this example? enter image description here


The second most definitely, as it resolves in the next bar to C minor, G7 being the V of Cm, the key of the excerpt.

The first one isn't G7 - it comprises B D F♯ G, making it probably Gmaj7. (The F note is sharpened because of the previous F note's accidental). And that goes straight to F minor, which isn't what dominant seventh chords generally do - except in Blues, but then Fm wouldn't really feature too much.


Context matters but it could be a G7 (g dominant 7).

That G on top could be the root and this is in first inversion (3rd on the bottom)

This would be the diatonic 5th in the key of C.

  • Not sure I'm understanding you correctly. Can you clarify the circumstances under which this chord would not be considered to be a G7. Thanks. – JimM Jul 14 '19 at 16:30
  • If G is the root, and a dom7th is the root, major third, perfect 5th and flat seventh, you would have G, B, D, and F (natural). The order of the notess or spacing between them (ie the voicing) doesn’t effect the naming. You could be more specific and call it G7/B (G7 over B) which tells the player that B should be in the bass (lowest note). – b3ko Jul 14 '19 at 16:43
  • @JimM -- if the top note were a fleeting melody note, maybe this is just a Bdim (although, OP clarification suggests that the F is in fact F#); in some circumstances, e.g. if there is a Db in the bass, you could have a Dbalt (here, a Db7(b9#11)). – ex nihilo Jul 14 '19 at 16:45
  • Until the OP edits their question to reflect what they want answered I am leaving my answer as it is correct for the question that is posted. If there is more info splattered through other answers or comments I’m not answering that. – b3ko Jul 14 '19 at 17:04
  • @b3ko -- I wasn't suggesting that you need to change your answer; it's frustrating that OP hasn't attempted to clarify in the actual question. My comment was for JimM, in support of your "context matters," and the Dbalt that I suggested would only be a likely candidate for the question as asked with an Fnat. – ex nihilo Jul 14 '19 at 17:20

I think you are overlooking how the accidentals apply within each measure.

enter image description here

In the first measure the F in the D major chord is sharp, and that sharp applies to the rest of the measure, so the chord you marked in red is actually B D F# a minor triad with a G above. That will probably sound like Gmaj7.

But in the second measure the F has a natural. It applies to the whole measure. So the chord you marked in red in the second measure is B D Fa diminished triad with G B above. That chord is G7.

You actually have two different kinds of G seventh chords.

Actually the natural sign on the F in measure 2 is redundant. Each new measure sort of "resets" the sharps and flats to the key signature, so the flat isn't necessary in measure 2. You can call such accidentals "courtesy accidentals" as they are a kind of reminder to the reader. Usually they are put in parenthesis to show they are redundant.

Accidentals apply to specific octaves. So if the Fs in measure two, first chord, are meant to both be natural, the lower F3 should also get an accidental.


Do you mean the F♯ in the first chord? Without that, it's clearly G7, a dominant 7th in C minor.

You're drip-feeding information rather! I bet there's a bass line too.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.