Request for m7b5 chord type [In Beta]

With the the new Beta all the major chords are covered - except the m7b5 (or half diminished, if you like). Pretty hard to do minor ii-V without this chord, so inclusion would really open up possibilities. Yes there are other apps for this, but am a big fan of what you have going here!

I have complained about this as well. Why have ALL the triads in the diatonic chord scale but one? He fixed this issue with the diatonic seventh chords when he added the Major seventh chord. Until Luke addresses this, you can use the slash chord feature as a workaround. To make a m7b5 chord, create the dominant seventh chord which resides six scale tones higher than the m7b5 chord you need, then alter the bass note three scale tones lower to the root of the m7b5 chord. For example, to make a F#m7b5 (F# half dim), select a D7 chord, then alter the bass note to an F#. The display will be wrong but the sound will be correct.
I would like to make a suggestion…when I write charts I use a horizontal line dividing the chord symbol and the altered bass note (which are stacked vertically) instead of a diagonal line . I use a diagonal (forward slash) to indicate two chords in one measure. I believe this is fairly common. I would like to see the altered bass note shown as a horizontal with the chord name on top and the bass note on the bottom. I have been printing out Strum Machine chart to use in recording sessions because it is MUCH neater than my hand written charts. Luke may not have even considered this use for Strum Machine, but if he wants more people to use it in this manner he may consider changing the slash chord display.

I’m going to tackle m7b5 in December! :grin:

I’ll look into how to optionally view slash chords in an over-under format as well, Jack.

Luke, that is great news and I had a feeling that you would deliver!

Jack, m7b5 is a sub for a dominant 9 or minor 6, so for F#m7b5, maybe try D7/E or Am7/F#? Good suggestion about vertical line for slash notes.

Half-diminished chords, along with m6 and 9 chords, are now available in the beta!

@SteveKing, @JackHatfield, @MonikaDewar, and @HenriLamiraux, I think you will be especially interested in this. :blush:

Woohoo! And just in time for the weekend, thanks Luke! My prelim tests are very positive and give yourself credit for vastly expanding Strummachine’s capabilities with this addition!

So are we going to get a hotkey for the m7b5? * maybe?

BTW, the aug hotkey (+) doesn’t work so hot for me in Firefox…also holds true for using the space bar to carry an aug chord forward. Seems hit or miss in Firefox, but I think it works fine in Chrome.


I haven’t documented it yet but the 0 (zero) key is currently assigned to the half-diminished chord; I thought the slashed-O symbol used for that chord (Ø) looked a lot like a slashed zero, and I didn’t think I’d be using the zero key for anything else. I’m not sure it was the best choice, though, and I’m certainly open to suggestions for alternative hotkeys. What made you suggest the asterisk?

I see that the plus key isn’t registering on Firefox. I’ll have to look into that and figure out why. The spacebar seems to be working OK in Firefox, though. When you say it’s hit or miss for you, do you mean that sometimes the spacebar just does nothing?

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Zero(0) is a great choice…better than mine! And no need for the shift key, so perfect.

I am only half certain, but I recall that there were some chord choices (aug or dim) that didn’t carry forward when I used the space bar (eg all that showed up was the chord letter and not the extension). Sorry, I can repeat so perhaps its all good.

BTW, is there any way to view the beta page using the iphone app?

Unfortunately, no… the app can only be hooked up to one codebase. But you can use in your phone’s browser, of course.

A lot of chords are “substitutes” for other chords and that “rule” of what is and is not a legitimate substitute is totally random, based in part the person’s individual preferences I believe. I could use a 2m as a substitute for a flat 7 … based on the logic that two of the three notes are common to both chords. That does not make it a widely recognized or “legal” substitution. That same “2m” chord could be considered a Maj7 with no root, depending on it’s USAGE in a chord progression. When I suggested the m7b5 to 57 with altered bass note workaround I am only considering the composition of the two chords mentioned, not their function in a chord progression. Keep it simple. I think when you start talking about substitutions you lose EVERYBODY, and it requires an addition explanation (of substitutions and WHY your suggestions are valid) to get your point across.

Good point about substitutions being subjective. The old saying “if it sounds good it IS good” should be modified…“If it sounds good to YOU, it is good… FOR YOU”… but watch out for irritated glances from other musicians".

I tried to say the following but I was limited to three responses so I edited this post…

oops I was replying to my own message. I thought it was Steve that said “a lot of chords are substitutes…” Been a while since I logged on, I forgot what I had said.

You ROCK Luke!
IMO it would be better to use a o for the hot key for a diminished and a o combined with forward slash key for half diminished…it would mimic the ACTUAL symbols used.

Jack, I have no business spreading my amateurish understanding of music theory on the web, so please take this explanation with a grain of salt. In my previous post, I may have been incorrect in calling this set of chords subs for one another. More correctly, these chords share the same notes. F#m7b5 (F#, C, E, A) is the same chord as an inversion of Am6 (A, C, E, F#) and both are the same as a rootless D9. The only real difference is the function (as I understand it). As I recall, I was just trying to suggest that you could add the needed quality to one of the existing vanilla notes by adding in an extra tone using the slash function. The great news is Luke has now solved this problem for us.

Got it and yes, the beta site does work in Safari. Thanks Luke