Minor b5 chord

Hi Guys
It’s been a while since i posted anything due to diving into the theory of music more intently and came across a problem that i hope one of the “theory master brains” on this forum can help me with.

I’ve been looking at the 4 chord shapes in the major scale and have been transposing the notes needed for my Bb diatonic harmonica IE:

Major Chord = 1 3 5 7 = Bb D F A

Dominant Chord = 1 3 5 b7 = Bb D F Ab

Minor Chord = 1 b3 5 b7 = Bb Db F Ab

Minor b5 Chord = 1 b3 b5 b7 = Bb Db ?? Ab

What is the note for the b5 on a Bb diatonic harmonica. Does the note exist on a diatonic harp.

Thanks in advance!


Hi Steve @fallonsteve291

As you already have noticed, the 5th note of the Bb major scale is an F (which is located at -2, +6 and +9 on your Bb diatonic, Richter tuned harp). The b5 note is then Fb. The note F lowered in tone by a half-step is the note E. You can play this by doing a half-step draw bend on hole 2 (-2’) and by doing a half-step blow bend on hole 9 (+9’). For the remaining b5 you must be able to play a hole 5 overblow (+5°) which is an advanced skill that not all harp players learn.

It is unusual to write Fb, but it is not necessarily wrong – usually we just write E. Similarly for E# (which is the note F), B# (= C), or Cb (= B) :wink:

Nice to hear from you again, Steve. Keep on harpin’ !! :musical_note:

– Slim :sunglasses:


Wow slim! I tried Google translate on this post but I was still lost. Your so amazing at the theory stuff.


Thank you, @toogdog !!:blush: I must admit: I cheated by looking at the layout of the notes on a Bb Richter harp. :face_with_hand_over_mouth::shushing_face:


Hihi @Slim, I was at the same level this morning. But linguistically, I wasn’t sure whether I had understood the question correctly.
You are and will remain our champ :smile:.

Best Regards from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


Arhhh, Good old Slim to the rescue. Things have not changed at all in my absence Ha Ha! :rofl:

Yeah i was a bit confused as Fb and E# are not usually referred to and in the case of a Minor b5 chord i was thinking how can i have 2 E or F notes in this chord iE: the 4th and b5 notes but it makes sense because the 4th note is not played in the chord.

Thanks Slim, saved me again! :innocent:. Hope i can call on you some more as i battle my way through this theory stuff


Hi Steve @fallonsteve291

Thank you for the kind words. I hope that I am still around whenever you have any theory questions – and I also hope that I can answer them! :wink:

– Slim :sunglasses:


So cool you’re playing arpeggios! So good to play arpeggios through the scale up and down, both triads and 7th cords as you’re doing here. I find it especially fun and more musical sounding to ascend the first and descend the second. Here’s tabs to explain what I mean:

1 2 3 -3
4 -3" -2" -1
2 3 -3 -4
5 4 -3" -2"
-2 -3 -4 -5
6 5 4 -3"
-3 -4 -5 -6
-7 6 5 4
-4 -5 -6 7
-8 -7 6 5
-5 -6 7 8
-9 -8 -7 6
-6 7 8 9
-10 -9 -8 -7
7 8 9 10’
10 -10 -9 -8

It’s interesting how certain patterns emerge, especially in the middle around holes 6 and 7 where the change of blows and draws creates a lot of kinda mirror images with blows and draws on adjacent arpeggios.

Keep up the great work @fallonsteve291! Happy Holidays!


Hi Luke.
Thank you for your reply. Just wondering if you’ve got time to correct some of the homework you gave me. :rofl: :rofl:

Have i got this right??

In relation to the ‘A Major Scale’

1 2 3 -3 = A C# E G# which in turn is the 1st 3rd 5th and 7th
4 -3" -2" -1 = A F# D B = 1st 6th 4th and the 2nd
2 3 -3 -4 = C# E G# B = 3rd 5th 7th 2nd
5 4 -3" -2" = C# A F# D = 3rd 1st 6th 4th
-2 -3 -4 -5 = E G# B D = 5th 7th 2nd 4th etc, etc:

Do you practice these arpeggios often??

Have a safe and happy Christmas.


Hi Steve @fallonsteve291

Your “homework” appears perfect to me :wink:. As to whether or not @Luke regularly practices these arpeggios, we will have to wait for his reply. But regular practice of these can only be good for you! Especially the bending techniques needed, for example +4 -3" -2" -1. The transition -3" -2" (or also in the reverse direction) is quite “tricky” and comes in very handy when playing (just for an example) in 3rd position (B minor on your A harp). :point_left:

Keep up the good work, Steve! :+1:

Regards from the "teacher’s assistant":innocent:

– Slim :sunglasses:


Once again thanks “assistant teacher” @Slim and thank you for marking my homework.

There’s a lot to be said for ear training and i’m not downplaying it at all, i find it extremely necessary for improvisation, which i am focusing on at the moment, but i have a strong desire to know the language, structure and why we put these chord progressions together to create the harmony we hear.

It’s a never ending search and that’s the beauty of music!

Have a safe and peaceful Christmas @Slim


@fallonsteve291 I have in various seasons practiced these quite a bit, and since reading your post here I’ve been practicing them a lot again! Thank you. :pray:t3:

In fact, you’ve inspired me to want to make some tabs videos on the subject for people to practice along with. (Haven’t made the vids, yet, but planning too.)

When practicing this stuff I only think of intervals, never note names. I think of note names when making sure I have the right harmonica, and then I NEVER think about note names when playing.

That probably comes from being a guitar player where we can just move a fret and use the same shapes/patterns to play in a new key, whereas @Slim is coming from playing flute where you HAVE to know note names.

I’ll occasionally think in intervals like you said in your post:


But more often, I think I’m playing the 7th chord arpeggio for:

I maj7
ii min7
iii min7
IV maj7
vi min7
vii min7b5

But there’s a logical progression in approaching this kind of practice.

1st: Just 3rds. (in intervals 1,3 then 2,4 then 3,5, etc…)
2nd: Triadas (in intervals: 1,3,5, then 2,4,6, then 3,5,7, etc…)
3rd: 7th Chords

I also like to practice these kind of things in all 4 directions:

Ascending Intervals going up the scale (1,3, then 2,4, then 3,4…etc._)
Ascending Intervals going down the scale (coming from the top 6,1, then 5,7, then 4,6…)
Descending Intervals going up the scale (3,1 then 4,2, then 5,3, etc…)
Descending Intervals going down the scale (coming from the top 1,6, then 7,5, then 6,4…)

And then, (are we getting dizzy yet? lol :rofl:) I like to practice them alternating up and down, so
1,3, then 4,2, then 3.5, then6,4, then 5,7, then 6,1 etc.

Most people practice ascending interval going up and descending interval go down, and I think that’s a great place to start.

I also think it makes sense as a natural progression to master 3rds before working on triads (since triads start with the 3rd) and mastering triads before working on 7th chords (since 7th chords start with the triad.)

There are interesting breathing patterns that emerge around the switch from the first 6 holes where draws are higher than blows to holes 7-10 where blows are higher than draws. All these kind of mirror images that are tricky at first, but then strangely become deeply satisfying (at least to me, lol) for some reason.

I’ll come back and post here when I make my first video on the subject.

Rock on! :sunglasses::notes:


I’ll look foward to the video. It sounds similar to what Alex has me doing but obviously I’m at a very basic level.