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I'm a beginner piano student and have come across a type of chord notation I'm not familiar with, and can't find anything on the internet.

Below is a photo of part of the chord chart for the worship song 'A thousand Hallelujah's by Brooke Ligertwood.

Photo of chord chart from the worship song 'A thousand Hallelujahs' by Brooke Ligertwood

I believe the superscript numbers mean 'add the 2nd degree of the tonic scale' - so G♭² is a G♭ major chord with the 2nd degree of the G♭ scale added. That is, Gb - Ab - Bb - Db.

What does it mean when a superscript number has brackets around it though? E.g. A♭⁽⁴⁾?

Thank you!

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    This is just a guess: It could be that the 2 without brackets means suspended 2nd, which means there's no third - as in Gb - Ab - Db, and the (4) with the brackets means it's an added 4th, with the third also, as in Ab - C - Db - Eb. One reason why I'm suggesting that is if you imagine this being played on guitar with a capo on the first fret and played in C, and then you leave a finger on the first fret (above the capo) of the B string and then play these chords while leaving that finger there, you would get Db (C with capo), Gbsus2 (Fsus2), and Abadd4 (Gadd4). Oct 12, 2022 at 0:32
  • Based on this video, I think my theory might be right, although it doesn't look like she's holding the C for the Abadd4: youtu.be/XM6Ap_JuJlk Oct 12, 2022 at 0:35
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    I guess @ToddWilcox is already writing an answer. I should add that the superscripts, subscripts and parentheses don't matter, they are used only help to make the symbol easier to read. See also music.stackexchange.com/questions/86953/… for some better examples of notating chords. Oct 12, 2022 at 0:40
  • This video is better, and I think this is the person who came up with the guitar part, which is where the chord shapes came from: youtu.be/MYHdgEa493g If you're going to do this in a band, I suggest talking to the guitarist about what they intend to play to make sure your keyboard part goes with it. If you're doing it alone, then I'd suggest playing around with sus2, sus4, add2, and add4 and see what sounds best to you. Oct 12, 2022 at 0:43
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    OP, if you're satisfied you know the answer now, please consider writing an answer to your own question so this post can be marked as answered.
    – John Wu
    Oct 18, 2022 at 21:28

1 Answer 1

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Based on discussions with a friend who is a music teacher, and is familiar with the SongSelect chart database, it seems that the brackets are a type of notation used for sus chords. That is, the number inside brackets is supposed to replace the 3rd note of the chord.

So A♭(4) is actually A♭sus4, or the notes A♭ - D♭ - E♭.

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