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How do you interpret this couple of notations?enter image description here

In Bar 2, Fm / Ab, what does the slash do? Do I play either chord or both?

In addition, in Bar 3, what does the /9 mean?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 18 down vote accepted
  1. Fm/Ab stands for F minor with note Ab on bass. Generically, X/Y is Chord X with note Y as lowest note.

  2. This second chord could be read as Gb major with major seventh and added 9th. The slash after a chord alteration serves only as a separator to indicate every simultaneous alteration you should apply to the chord.

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Seumenezes, for the GbM/9, I have this in my chord: F-Gb-Bb-Db, but it doesn't sound right. Can you help me translate it to notes please? –  Haoest Jan 13 at 3:21
    
@Haoest: first, you have a clash between the F (major seventh) and the Gb (root) - move the F up an octave and it will sound better. Also, you're missing the 9th, which would be Ab above the F. –  No'am Newman Jan 13 at 7:09
    
So, should it be Gb-Bb-Db-F ? Not sure how I can fit Ab in there. –  Haoest Jan 13 at 10:01
    
It should be Gb-Bb-Db-F-Ab, a succession of thirds (fairly easy on the piano. for other instruments you should refer to a chord dictionary). –  SeuMenezes Jan 13 at 15:24
    
Another relevant thing: in some countries, the delta could indicate also an augmented fifth chord. The delta representing major seventh is more common to English-speaking countries. –  SeuMenezes Jan 13 at 15:25

These chords are known as slash chords or hybrid chords.

For example: C/B, where C is the chord and B is the bass note.

From Jazzology:

With a diagonal line, the symbol above refers to a chords while the one below to a bass note only.

Note that when there is a horizontal line, it refers to a different thing (polychord).

A slash chord might sound different from what it is. For instance (from Jazzology again):

  • A Slash chord Fmaj7/G which is a Fmaj7 chord with the G as the bass note, it might sound to you like G13sus4.
  • A Dm7/G which is a Dm7 chord with the G as the bass note, it might sound like G11

etc.

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Haoest, if you play melody in right hand and harmony in left, and if you play with bass player, you can simply play this progression:

Bbm chord: F-Ab-Bb-Db

Fm/Ab chord: F-Ab-C-Eb

Gbmaj chord: F-Gb-Bb-Db

Gbmaj9 chord: F-Gb-Ab-Bb-(Db)

The last chord will fit right, don't worry. The Db is optional since it the fifth. It will be more effective if you write what chords going next to determine more usefull order for the voices. But it's for next time i suppose.

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Fm/Ab means "F minor chord with an A flat in the bass', i.e. first inversion. The delta means major seventh; the delta-"/9" means major seventh, and the ninth.

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One should note that a bass alteration not always implies an effective inversion. It is common to find notations like F/G (F major with G in the bass), or any other combination. It is even common to find chords with a bass altered into a note not found in the original chord (Gb/C, for instance, is commonly used as a dominant chord). –  SeuMenezes Jan 13 at 1:10
    
@SeuMenezes- can you explain how Gb/c is a dominant chord please? –  Tim Jan 17 at 11:35
    
@Tim - It can serve as a dominant by creating a "stack of tritones": C-Gb, E-Bb, G-Db. You can either resolve it into F or B (to F by direct V-I bass motion; to B by IIb-I motion, a substitute dominant). As the chord is perfectly symmetrical, you can rotate the bass, therefore C/Gb will serve the same purpose. –  SeuMenezes May 4 at 15:00

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