Four Note Chords - Minor Seventh Flat Five Edition / Music Theory Edition

Author: sleepfreaks

The Unstable but Gorgeous “Minor Seventh Flat Five”

This time, in continuation of the previous dominant 7th chord,
we will be taking a look at the minor 7th flat five chord.

✳︎ It is also known as the half-diminished, half-diminish, half-diminished 7th, etc.
(the diminished 7th is a different chord so please keep this in mind)

There are many other chords that exist, but we will slow down the pace from this point.
Next article, we will be taking a look at how to use the chords we learned.

Now, the minor 7th flat five seems like a difficult chord considering how long the name is.

However, this chord is “explained by the name” and is relatively simple.

First, lets hear what the C minor 7th b5 sounds like.
The chord will play after the individual notes are played.

It sounded suspicious at first, but when all the notes come together it creates
a very wonderful sounding chord.

The minor 7th flat 5 chords are often depicted as the following:


In general you would see it written as:

  • C minor 7th b5 = Cm7-5
  • D minor 7th b5 = Dm7-5

In addition, you might see it written as “Cm7b5 Dm7b5” as well.

Lets look at the Cm7-5 on notation and the piano roll.



Did you realize something here?

That’s right. It’s similar to the diminished triad.
In addition, it shares similarities to the minor 7th chord as well.

Lets take a look back at the name here:

“minor 7th” “flat” “five”

This name implies that the 5 of the minor 7th chord becomes “♭” (flat).

By comparing the Cm7 and Cm7-5 side by side the single note difference should be obvious.



As seen, by lowering the P5th of a minor 7th chord by a half-step,
you can create the basic shape of a minor 7th flat five chord.

An easy way to remember how to make this chord:

  • Adding a m7th to a diminished triad
  • Or as the name implies, lower the P5th of a minor 7th chord by a half step (to make it a “dim5th”)

The minor 7th flat five can be analyzed as the following:

In intervals: R m3rd dim5th m7th

In scale degree: 1 b3 b5 b7

Looking back on 3 note and 4 note chords

Lets review what we have learned about 3 note and 4 note chords up until this point.




What we can notice here is that the diminished triad and minor 7th flat five both contain the tritone interval.

As mentioned earlier in this article, next time we will begin seeing how to use these chords in correlation with each other.

All of the knowledge we have touched upon up until this point will be used, so be sure to brush up on the content!

Article Writer: Kazuma Itoh

講師 伊藤
After moving to the USA at 18 years of age with a scholarship from Berklee, he completed a 4 year study focused on song writing and arranging there.
Using this knowledge, he works across a variety of fields from pop music, film music, and more.