The theory behind building and naming chords.

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Ending a song with a dominant chord

As far as i know, almost all songs end in the tonic chord, because this is the most "stable" condition. On the other hand, a dominant chord at the end of a progression (or song) sounds "incomplete". ...
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Why does the dominant chord contain a flattened 7th?

Why does the dominant chord contain a flattened 7th while this tone is not even in the scale? Let's take for example a C7 chord. It is a 1-3-5-b7 (C-E-G-Bb). But the C major scale does not contain Bb. ...
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Building Lydian chords

I am learning about chords and their relationships to major scale modes in jazz. As I understand it, each mode allows a different chord to be built by choosing the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th of the scale. I ...
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102 views

Is this chord a Maj6 (no 5) or inverted minor triad?

An interesting three-note chord is the following on guitar (in standard tuning): ...
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Diatonic substitution and upper-structure triads for minor chords

I'm going through Garrison Fewell's "Jazz Improvisation for Guitar - A Harmonic Approach". The start of Chapter 1 reads: Triad substitution is the use of triads derived from the chord tones and ...
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3answers
380 views

How to analyze chord progressions in tonal music?

I've been told that you have to analyze progressions according to the key at the end, despite how many keys/tonality that precede it. Is this true? If a composition contains one key in long ...
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2answers
388 views

Why is “A” not used for augmented in Chord symbols?

On Wikipedia it says: Some of the symbols used for chord quality are similar to those used for interval quality: m, or min for minor, M, maj, or no symbol (see rule 2 below) for major, ...
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Is Dudley Moore's Bedazzled in A Phrygian?

This song (YouTube) is one of the strangest pieces of music I've heard, with a long "A" pedal bass and a huge variety of crazy harmonies on top (my transcription), including lots of tritones. Is ...
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Classical music theory notation for chord inversions (figured bass)

In classical music harmony analysis, we see the chord inversions notated like I6/4, I6, V4/3. Examples: What are those numbers? How do they define the inversion? What's the theory behind using ...
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Chord in the Bach d-minor prelude

I'm playing the prelude in Bach's d-minor suite. My teacher and I were wondering what the third to last chord is. We didn't find that A, E and D form a chord, but do they? Is the D maybe a "queuing" ...
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What is the origin and advantages of this system of chord naming/ notation? e.g. G7 is major minor seventh not Dominant 7th

I've received a few emails through my website asking me what a major minor seventh chord was. At first I thought they had mixed up the sequence and were referring to the A-#7 chord (root chord of ...
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Melody improvisation over chords

My question deals with what scale to play over a given chord progression. For example, consider a progression containing I,II,IV,V in C. I.e., the rhythm guitar is playing C, Dmin, F, and G... My ...
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Why do we call the Hendrix chord 7#9 instead of 7b10?

The Hendrix chord is usually mentioned when a harmony contains both the major and the minor third, together with the minor seventh. Were it a major seventh, I'd say we have an augmented 9th and thus ...
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Am I allowed to add a b9 to a maj7 chord in Jazz?

On Jazzology chapter 2, exercise 6, example 2, I have to identify this chord (if it exists): I thought that it was Cmaj7(b9). My train of thought was (from the lowest to the highest note): C -> ...
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2answers
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How to name quarter tone chords

Studying the flamenco mode I found that the third note of the scale is tonic when tonic is played, so it would be a major chord, yet minor in all the other cases. Eg. in the key of E the scale would ...
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1answer
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Relation of the diminished chord to the circle of fifths?

Within each key there are seven chords. If I understand it correctly the "first" six correspond to the minor and major variants of the current key and its immediate neighbors in the circle of fifths, ...
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Do triads sound strongest in second inversion?

On Mark Levine's Jazz Theory book, on Chapter Five, Slash Chords, it says: Although triads can sound good in any inversion, all things being equal triads sounds strongest in second inversion. ...
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3answers
924 views

Why does a Cm13 chord use A instead of A♭?

Why is the 13th (or the 6th) of a Cm chord A, not Ab?
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446 views

Major Seventh chord with root note as melody : why the dissonance?

In wikipedia page - jazz chords : Major Seventh it is said that "if the melody note is the root of the chord, including a major seventh can frequently cause a harsh dissonance". But since the root ...
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What is a chord with a diminished third called?

The third of the chord is one of the criteria to determine the name of the chord. If the third is major (and the fifth is perfect), the chord is called major chord ; if the third is minor and the ...
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3answers
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C major 6th chord and A minor 7th chord: same notes but different quality, why?

Simple question: many have noticed that the A minor 7th chord is the an inversion of the C major 6th chord. However, the more interesting this is why they have different quality (as minor and major) ...
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Can a chord contain both the C and C♯ notes? (as opposed to containing C and D♭ notes)

Can a chord contain both the C and C♯ notes? Or do you always have to use D♭ rather than C♯ in a chord that already contains the note C? I'm guessing the answer is no, both C and C♯ should not be ...
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How are intervals defined and measured? [closed]

In the key of C: I play C-E-G This is C Maj chord-yes? What is the name of the interval? Next, I play. B-D-F What does it mean that THIS is NOT a CHORD, but is rather an INTERVAL? Does it not ...
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7/6 no 3 or 13 no 3, 9, 11; which chord name is more correct (if any)?

Which name is better, more correct? C13 is C E G Bb D F A. If we remove the third, ninth, and eleventh, we get C G A Bb. Would C13 no 3, 9, 11 be an correct name? I've found that same chord named ...
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Fifths of #9 chords

It seems like common practice to treat #9 chords as altered chords and, being guitarist, the most common voicing of them I'm familiar with is the Hendrix chord: e|-----| B|--8--| G|--7--| D|--6--| ...
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1answer
308 views

Minor major seventh flat five chords: do they exist, and if so, how should they be used?

When randomly playing chords, my husband and I stumbled upon an interesting four-note combination of C, Eb, Gb and B natural, which sounded pretty nice to us despite the dissonance. This looks like a ...
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4answers
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Can a chord be both major and minor?

So I was messing up with chords the other day and I came with a case where the chord could be both minor and major. I'm wondering if it can be true or if a chord is either, but cannot be both at the ...
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The teaching of scales, chords and keys

A question for the music educators out there. What are we doing wrong that is causing so many young musicians to ask so many questions based on the misapprehension that only certain notes and certain ...
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3answers
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Is there a name for this type ascending inversions of a repeated chord?

I was messing around on one of my guitars one day and stumbled upon this interesting ascending progression. I ended up writing a song using the progression even though I wasn't even sure what the ...
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“best” chord name for a min♭6

As I developed my (guitar) chord vocabulary, the min7 chords were followed by the min6 chords. One was different. In the major key, the iii is what I have called a min♭6. However I have gotten some ...
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Understanding music with multiple key changes within chord progressions

So this has been bothering me for some time now; I've been making beats for maybe 7-8 years now but my earlier work is heavily-sampled. I just started actually picking up piano, but on my own, ...
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If you add an E to a Bm chord, what do you have?

For instance playing standard barre on the 2nd fret, but leaving the high E open. My brain is banking out figuring out what an E is in this context and how the resultant chord would be named.
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Is there a name for a chord which combines the major and minor thirds of the root?

I noticed while noodling on my acoustic guitar that playing Cm using the Am shape barred on 3rd fret, that opening the high E string gives a pleasingly discordant sound. I realised the E comes from ...
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2answers
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How to correctly classify different guitar tunings?

How would you correctly classify say - ECDGAD? Like, how people will say "E Minor 9th Tuning" or something like that, if you understand what I'm saying - what would you call ECDGAD and how would you ...
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proper uses of minor seventh chords

Having used dominant seventh chords extensively,I am now trying to incorporate minor seventh chords into my compositions... Based on my [rudimentary] knowledge, minor seventh chords are usually used ...
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Is this a Csus4 chord?

I have a book that labels C, F, Bb, and D as a Csus4 chord. I get the F is the 4th to C, but why the dominant 7th and the 9th? Are those vital to a Csus4 chord, do they add to it, or is the book just ...
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Proper symbol for this chord (1 5 7 9 11)?

I'm a songwriter in the jazz-pop idiom, and when playing through a chart with a guitarist, he told me that, in his opinion, I had labeled a chord inaccurately / incorrectly. Here's the chord as I ...
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How do C1, C2, C3 relate to C and CSus4 on guitar?

I wanted to check some chords for ‘A Team’ by Ed Sheeran and came across this version which includes C1, C2, C3. Then this video is called ‘How to play a C4’ but is actually how to play a CSus4 So I ...
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Is a Cm7 chord considered minor or dominant?

Is a Cm7 chord considered minor or dominant? I'm studying jazz and trying to identify chord scales for particular harmonies. What modes qualify to possibly "fit" with a Cm7 chord, and how do I ...
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2answers
335 views

Do different minor chords (vi, ii, etc) convey different nuances?

I came across some postings discussing whether different minor keys produce different moods, but i have not found one that compares different minor chords... As each minor chord has a different ...
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1answer
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Do bass notes basically just accent and/or add notes to the above harmony?

I'm trying to understand how the bass timbre folds into the harmony. I understand doubling more dissonant intervals is generally bad unless creating a cool melody. Is this basically because it's ...
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1answer
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What does the “o” notation signify?

I just saw this comment by Tim, in another question: Do can't have a C. It's spelt D, F, Ab, Cb.Or as a triad, just the 1st 3 notes. Ao/F is F b9, and Ao/F# will just be F#o. Or D b9/F#. If this ...
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Why are the chords C-E-G and G-C-E both considered C Maj?

Can someone explain to me in layman's terms why that is the case?
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Why is the complete circle of fifth progression more common in minor than major?

In relation to How common is the complete circle of fifths progression? which describes some examples of the complete circle of fifth progression (a consecutive 4-7-3-6-2-5-1 progression), apparently ...
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How long should each chord in a chord progression be played?

For example I am making a 16 bar chord progression for a verse of a song and choose to use the I , IV , V chords of a major scale.. How can I put these chords in a nice rythm so they sound good and ...
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Why is the tonic chord of a key formed with the 1,3 and 5 notes of the key but the major chords in that key are the I IV and V?

The tonic chord in a given key is formed by using the 1 and 3 and 5 notes of the scale in whatever key you are in. However, in chord theory, the Major chords that work in that key are the one, four ...
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2answers
253 views

6th string root dominant 7th barre chord voicing

When I first started playing guitar quite a while back, I bought the Chords and Voicings Guitar Grimoire, and promptly put it on a shelf when I realized I had a lot more to learn then just chord ...
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1answer
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What do the numerator and denominator of a chord name in roman numerals mean?

I'm reading a paper on music theory and I keep coming across names of chords expressed as a fraction - I/I, I/V, ii/I, etc. Based on the use of these names in the paper, I'm reading this as: I/I: A ...
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Do the 'natural' chords to use in a key change if you use a different mode?

This question gives a great, not-too-technical explanation of modes: What are modes and how are they useful? I wondered if playing in a different mode would mean the standard chords change move also? ...