In C major, notes are G-D-F-A- (G is in the bass). How would one notate this chord? The G is not a pedal tone nor a passing tone. The first time this occurs there is a C pedal tone that is left over from the section before, the second time this chord occurs there is no pedal tone. I'm looking specifically at the last section of Appalachian Spring, measure 621.

My only guess is that is a D minor chord with an added 4th...?

  • GDFA could be a dominant 9th, except there's no 3rd. Dm11? With the G underneath, it's not likely. With C as the pedaltone, it's Dm7 with an added 4th, sometimes known as Dm11. Thus - comment, no answer!
    – Tim
    Jun 26 at 16:04

This is the score in question:

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And this is my attempt to translate it to clefs I'm familiar with:

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It should be noted that the whole structure is kind of harmonic ornamentation of the C chord (which precedes this section). Assigning a chord symbol to every vertical structure might be a bit of an overkill. But let's try anyway.

For a chord containing strictly the notes G-D-F-A there are in general three possibilities:

  • Dm/G (read: D-minor chord with G in bass)
  • G7sus2 (read: G7 chord: G-B-D-F with third, B, replaced by second A)
  • Dmadd11 (D-minor with added G)

The fourth possibility is suggested by Tim: Dm11. It means a D-minor chord with added 11 (F), which also may contain flat 7 (C). And guess what, horns are holding that C! so it's not bad choice either

My choice would be Dm/G or Dm7/G (thus including C), because it's the most compact symbol, and indicates the bass note.

  • To me the open fifth in the bass suggests a G chord, both to my eyes on the score and to my ears. So I think there’s a case for G7sus2 Jun 27 at 2:46

As mentioned by user1079505, sometimes labelling every vertical assembly of notes isn't useful. The overall structure seems to be a C-minor seventh, C-Eb-G-Bb, chord decorated by an incomplete G9. The dissonant notes seem to proceed stepwise (for the most part) between inversions of the C-minor seventh.

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