So I’m trying to learn how to read music by myself, I have a treble clef with 2 flats so I’m in Bb chord with Eb and Bb but aside from that there are other notations like Gm7 and Bb/F and Eb sus2. I’ve printed my circle of fifths and it makes sense but what does the other things mean? What does this mean, because when I play the song there’s a note that sounds wrong to me. The song is "A Thousand Years"

Thank you,

  • Add more detail to your question and try to point out which parts are confusing to play. Letter names of notes would be much better. Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 4:13

3 Answers 3


The notation "Gm7 and Bb/F and Eb sus2" is a compact way of notating chords, also called chord symbols. This is very useful for musicians who know how chords are constructed and played in their instruments. As a guitarist, I find then much more useful than reading 6 notes at a time on a stave.

The symbols you mention mean this:

Gm7 means a G minor (the "m" indicates minor) chord with a minor 7th (the 7 indicates minor 7th).

Bb/F means a Bb major chord (by omission, if no "m" is present, then it's a major chord) with an F on the bass (this is also called a second inversion chord)

Eb sus2 means an Eb major chord with a suspended 2nd harmony (this means that instead of the standard 3rd of a chord, you play a 2nd).

If you want to know more, there's a good reference here: https://www.musicnotes.com/now/tips/a-complete-guide-to-chord-symbols-in-music/

  • 1
    Not at all sure Gm7 is known as a dominant chord - in any key.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 8:23
  • No. They may sometimes be ON the dominant, but m7s aren't dominant. Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 9:16
  • you're both right and I'm wrong. Fixed it, thanks. I got confused somehow when I checked the references
    – mkorman
    Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 10:17

Welcome! Notation such as Bb/F is known as lead sheet symbols or chord symbols. For jazz players and musicians with good theoretical knowledge and understanding of chord construction, this notation serves as shorthand and communicates a lot about the song's progression and the nature of each chord.

Rather than reading the printed notes verbatim, a pianist can follow the melody and improvise an accompaniment based on the chords outlined in the lead sheet symbols. The notation can be variable, but not too complicated:

The first part is the note name of the root of the chord. For example, Gm7 indicates that we're building a chord with root G.

M or m indicates major/minor. You might not see the big M for major, and you might see "maj" for major and "min" for minor. You may also see things like m11 (minor eleven) or maj7 (major seven), and the added numbers indicate chord extensions (which is a separate topic entirely).

Lastly, slash notation (e.g. Bb/F) tells you what note to play in the bass (left hand on piano). Bb/F is the major chord Bb (Bb, D, F) played in second inversion with an F in the left hand.


Just to avoid confusion, you have a treble clef with two flats so you are in the KEY of B flat.

mkorman's answer is good. Another way to describe it is this:

Gm7 chords consists of the notes G, Bb, D and F. The G is usually the bottom note.

Bb chords consists of the notes Bb D and F, and usually Bb is the bottom note, but because it says Bb/F (B flat chord over F) F should be the bottom note.

An Eb flat chord consists of the notes Eb G and Bb, but because it says sus2 the G is replaced by an F: Eb F Bb. The Eb is usually the bottom note

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