I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last update. Apologies!
Anyway, here we have a progression that makes use of the diminished chord a semitone up from the IV chord (in this case, the IV chord is Amaj7). Take a look and listen first and hear how the diminished 7th chord interacts with the chords either side of it…
This is actually quite a typical movement used in a lot of pop songwriting. The use of the diminished chord destabalises the progression following the Amaj7 IV chord, which acts as a safe “resting point” away from the E major tonic chord.
This instability is resolved simply by moving back to the tonic.
I just find it more interesting to sometimes use these slightly more tense chords in progressions that would otherwise feel “safe” and “middle of the road”. Of course, sometimes a straightahead E major / Amaj7 (I / IV) yo-yo is effective enough (especially if you want to keep the backing chords simple for some lead improv).
Diminished chords have a fascinating role in music, and I’ll most likely be using them in different contexts in future posts.
Experiment with different combinations…
e.g. Amaj7 | B9sus4/B7 | E major | Bbdim7