DIMINISH - to make less - "to reduce (a perfect or minor interval) by a chromatic semitone." (New Webster's Dictionary of the English Language)
The definition above says "a perfect or minor interval." To clarify this, PERFECT intervals or MINOR intervals are the only ones that can become diminished. This happens when the top not is reduced, or lowered a half step, or semitone.
Below are some examples of various DIMINMISHED intervals.
The examples above are either 4ths or 5ths. In each case the top note was lowered a half-step without changing the letter name of the top note; i.e. D to Ab, NOT D to G# for a diminished 5th.
Below are some examples of MINOR intervals that have been DIMINISHED.
Like augmented intervals, diminished intervals are very dissonant and "active" sounding; they want to resolve to something more stable, or settled. For example the diminished 5th C - Gb very naturally resolves to Db - F (a major 3rd)
Below are just a few examples of some standard, natural resolutions of several diminished intervals.
As you learn about chords, particularly chord progressions, you will begin to understand how harmony works. Certain sounds, intervals and chords naturally lead to, or resolve to other chords or resting points.
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