Take the 2-minute tour ×
Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm building a musical app, that plays 12 notes. Due to memory constraints, I can only include 6 chords. Which 6 chords would work best with all 12 notes?

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by jjmusicnotes, Sergio, neilfein, Jason W, luser droog Sep 26 '13 at 10:02

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I guess you're talking about 12 semitones, octave to octave, but could you mean an octave and a half of diatonic notes? If so, the chords will probably be the 6 you know, if not, I feel there will be MANY more than 6 chords. –  Tim Sep 23 '13 at 8:36
Just too tempting: the ArmBar Chord. :-) –  Carl Witthoft Sep 23 '13 at 11:43
@CarlWitthoft - also known as a "cluster" chord. :P I'd also like to add here that this is possible using hexachordal combinatoriality but not possible using tertian harmony. –  jjmusicnotes Sep 23 '13 at 14:05

2 Answers 2

Which are the notes played by the musical application?

If you are diatonic (easiest way but maybe boring), you could stay in the same key all the time and include the triads built on the notes of the key : I, II, III, IV, V, VI. forget the VII triad. You'll have a variety of major and minor chords to harmonize the melodies. This is a bit boring : no modulation is possible since all the notes belong to the same key.

If you are chromatic (a full octave, white+black keys on a piano), 6 chords won't be enough to harmonize the possible melodies : you will be able to harmonize only a part of the melodies, depending of the key you'll play. If you restrict to two keys (e.g. C and G) and use the I, IV, V, VI in C and I, V7 in G, it might work but it will still be "poor".

share|improve this answer

There is no correct answer. There are some sets of 6 chords which would not work at all well, but as for which 6 will work best - this is entirely subjective.

Choose 6 that work best with the types of music you want it to be able to play.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.