Bewitched by Diminished Chords

November 19, 2014


Rogers & Hart’s “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” (AABA ballad) features these alternating chord changes:

|| Cmaj7 C#dim7 | Dm7 D#dim7 |
| C/E E7 | Fmaj7 F#dim7 | C/G Ebdim7|
| Dm7 G7 A7b9 | Dm7 G7 | C6 | …

I’ve been working on my chord scales lately, and the subject of what to play over diminished chords has been a major focus. The symmetric diminished scale is the standard choice, but Rogers and Hart don’t follow it. One example from the final A sections uses the notes B, A, G, F# over the D#dim7 chord, which sounds brilliant to me.

What scale are they using? A common chord substitution for diminished is dominant b9. In a progression like this we could use | Dm7 D7b9/D# |, which now makes the melody notes clearly from the D Mixolydian scale. So a scale choice we now have for D#dim7 chords…

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