The Em7b5 chord (E minor 7 flat 5, or E half diminished) contains the notes E, G, Bb and D, which is the 1 (root) b3, b5 and b7 of the E Major scale. It can be viewed as an Em7 chord with a flat 5 or an E diminished chord with an added b7.

The half diminished chord can sound like a very dissonant chord, when played in isolation. However, when played in the context of other chords, it can sound beautiful. Em7b5 is the 7th chord in the key of F Major. Try playing an F chord, then an Em7b5 chord and then return to F. This is an example of how Em7b5 can sound beautiful in context.

Em7b5 is also commonly used in the key of D minor. The chord progression of Em7b5 – A7Dm is very common.

The Em7b5 chord is most commonly played with the root note on the 7th fret of the 5th string (2nd shape down, in the picture below).

10 Ways To Play The Em7b5 Chord

If you’ve come to this page just to view some chord diagrams for Em7b5 (E half diminished), here they are.

Em7b5 Chord 10 Shapes

Some Quick Em7b5 Chord Theory

  • The E minor 7 flat 5 chord contains the notes E, G, Bb and D.
  • The Em7b5 chord is produced by playing the 1st (root), flat 3rd, flat 5th and flat 7th of the E Major scale.
  • The E minor 7 flat 5 chord (just like all half diminished chords) contains the following intervals (from the root note): minor 3rd, minor 3rd, Major 3rd, Major 2nd (back to the root note).
  • Em7b5 is an E diminished chord, with an added flat 7th (D) included, or a Em7 chord with the 5th lowered by a semitone.
  • Em7b5 is the 7th chord in the key of F.
  • The E locrian mode can be used when soloing over the Em7b5 chord.

Further Reading

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