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I found a Paul McCartney Song, "Maybe I'm Amazed" that showed a chord which still has me stumped:

The name of the chord is D-10.

Now, I understand that most chord names are 'even' (as opposed to odd) when they are within the initial octave. They then become 'odd' when the octave changes.....a "C2" would be a "C9" or "C4" would be a "C11"...but there is no 10th note when the octave change happens at the 8th note. (referring to a major scale, of course )

So what is a D-10 Chord?

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    Can you tell if the dash applies to the D or to the 10? (Maybe there's a space in there or something?) Nov 15, 2013 at 0:11
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    Honestly, this sounds like a printing error to me!
    – NReilingh
    Nov 15, 2013 at 0:50
  • Just looked through 8 different chord charts, couldn't see D-10 anywhere. Did find a version with 'Emb' though - almost as interesting...Which version/part of song is it ?
    – Tim
    Nov 15, 2013 at 17:04
  • Here we are 12 days later, 2 questions for the OP to respond to.Is there some way for this to be sent to the OP, or is it passive in that we have to wait for his response ?
    – Tim
    Nov 27, 2013 at 15:40
  • Why isn't it like a C3, one octave above - ie with a much higher 3rd note ? Seems apparent that if C2 (next octave) = C9 and C4 (next octave) = C11 then C3 => C10. Am I missing something ? Maybe the hyphen ? Sep 29, 2015 at 14:12

6 Answers 6

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I believe it is a less common alternate way of writing D7(#9), i.e dominant seventh sharp ninth (as in the Hendrix chord), with the notes D-F#-A-C-F.
I've only seen it written as D10, but D-10 (as in D7(b10)) to some degree makes more sense in that the 10th is referring to the minor third.

If the version of the song that I listened to on Youtube is representative, and my guess as to which chord you refer to is correct, then it is voiced on the piano with the F and the F# adjacent to each other, rather than with the F an octave above the F#, which would be the standard voicing of a 7(#9) chord. Perhaps without the 7th (C) - I'll have to listen more carefully.

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  • Aye, totally right about having the 7th in there as well. Bravo! Nov 15, 2013 at 19:01
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    A sharp 9th would have E# instead of F. But I second that -10 means 10b here. And yes, 10b chords usually contain their 7th as well. Sep 19, 2014 at 7:46
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    The F and F# ARE in the same octave and there is no 7th involved in the chord - that all for a special reason... - because it is a D (-10) chord ;-)
    – mramosch
    Sep 27, 2015 at 14:43
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I found the chord sheet in question and they write out the tab for the chord itself as follows.

%X/X.X/X.4/4.2/2.3/3.1/1

First of all the D(-10) chord does not exist and should not ever be written. I don't know where it came from, but it doesn't make any sense since the most basic chords (triads) are made up of a root, 3rd(10th), and a 5th so the basic chord covers 10ths.

Based on the tabs the given notes are F#, A, D, F. There are two ways we can look at this. Since there is an F# in the bass and the rest of the chord makes a Dm chord, we can write Dm/F#. This is odd of course because F# is not in a Dm chord, but instead is in a D major chord. This method is the simplest way to look at the chord, but there is another.

We can convert the notes into the enharmonic equivalent F#, A, C##, E#. By doing this, we can see that this make some type of F# 7th chord. From F# to A is a m3, from F# to C## is a A5, from F# to E# is a M7. From this we can make the chord F#mM7#5. A complex chord, but is much more descriptive of how the notes interact.

It could also be looked at as a Dadd#9/F# as seen in this answer:

Is there a name for a chord which combines the major and minor thirds of the root?

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He doubtless meant D(♭10). ('-' can mean 'minor' or 'flattened' in Chord Symbols.) That's a D triad plus a minor 3rd. Usually has the 7th as well. Sometimes called the 'Hendrix' chord, or the 'Spinning Wheel' chord.

In jazz/rock/funk it generally sounds like a ♭3 on top of a D7 chord and no-one screams too loudly if it's notated with a F♮ (example B) rather than E♯ (example A).

But music theorists get VERY annoyed if you name it D7(♭10) rather than D7(♯9). Which is odd, because they don't mind D6 or D6/9, which also break the 'pile of 3rds' convention, and are coming round to tolerating D(add2), which breaks the 'symbols tell us NOTHING about voicing' convention. But they HATE D7(♭10).

So use D7(♭10) or D7(-10) at your peril. Sibelius accepts D2, D6 and D6/9 but chokes on D7(♭10). The world is ready(ish) for 2 and 6, but as yet we must call a distinctly flattened sound by a sharpened name. So It Is Written.

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McCartney plays piano himself on the recording, and since he doesn't read music, he probably didn't bother to name the chord, a D chord with adjacent major and minor thirds (F/F#). Whoever transcribed the song decided to call it D-10 (a rarer alternative name for D7#9) although there's no seventh in the chord.
He plays it for the first time at 0:54

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10 chords really exist, although in theory they are suspect as they don't follow the normal rules for chords.

This is really a basic chord name wise, but with the third placed an octave above, as a tenth. Also, the seventh is missing so you have 1-5-10.

You'll need to build the scale over 2 octaves because you're going higher then 7 steps.

For example, D10 is made of the notes 1, 5, and 10 in the scale of D major: The root is D, the fifth is A, and the tenth is F#.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
D E F# G A B C# D E F# G A B C# D
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  • The chord is D-10, not D10, so with a root of D, the chord would be D-F#-A-C-F. Please see the answer left by @UlfÅkerstedt.
    – Aaron
    Dec 2, 2023 at 4:49
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As you do not provide us with more information about where the chord is within the song etc. there are only two things that come to my mind.

Paul, being a bass player, or the person who transcribed or created the sheet could have referred to the base that should play a lick in parallel 10th. That was very common in these days (60's/70's), especially when going V -I, like G7 - C:

10th: B___C___C#__D  ->  E
root: G   A   A#  B  ->  C   

but even in different contexts...


But what I also noticed when listening to the song on YouTube, is that there is one chord that holds a 'minor' and a 'major' third at the same time ( which was often used in Beatles songs not so well known) and he is 'correctly' referring to this chord as C(-10).

You can not interpret this chord as C(#9) because then it would also include a b7 in the chord. And usually the #9 is one octave higher than the 3rd is in because of #9 being identical to b3 !!! So the voicing usually is

chord: D___F#__C___E#  

So what he definitely wants is a D chord with a major and a minor third at the same time, in the same octave, no 7th involved and with the root note as the base note, which you best jot down as

D(-10) or D(b10)


That is, because D-major(b3)/D-major(m3) or D-minor(M3) would really be confusing ;-)

Of course, you could say (add) but this is usually used for (add9) etc. -> (add9#) which actually means (add2#) would be as confusing as (add3b) or something alike!

If you are a guitar player this notation may have not crossed your way until now but if you are an arranger or coming from the keyboard this is common practice!

So at the end of the day (-10) is the most elegant solution, even if it is one of the few exceptions where an even number is used for a tension - but it definitely IS a tension, as you can hear...


EDIT: Just to clarify - A Dominant 7th chord with a #9 never lets you in doubt of the basic gender of the chord, it definitely is major. So the #9 is the correct notation. If you notated a (-10) chord as anything else than (-10) it would strongly cover the fact that this chord is all about NOT knowing or wanting to know whether the basic gender is major or minor. That's what this chord wants to convey - ambiguity...

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    There is no such thing as a D10 chord. It has no relationship to a 7 with a #9. A tenth is the same as a 3rd only an octave higher but chords are not spelled using a 10th as a numerical designation. Whoever is using notation like this is in error, it is not in the language and for good reason, confusion being one.
    – user8497
    Nov 17, 2013 at 6:39
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    There is no chord symbol for (-10) because that's not how chord symbols work. There is a #9 chord that covers this, but it's not the same thing. You cannot have two thirds in a chord. The major is always given preference due to how we perceive chords, thus the other note that could be perceived as a third is a tension tone instead. You will not find this chord symbol anywhere but you will find a #9 for that reason.
    – Dom
    Sep 27, 2015 at 15:45
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    Also voicing is not a factor in name chords except for the bass note which may be denoted as a slash.
    – Dom
    Sep 27, 2015 at 15:53
  • @Dom: Wrong again - a #9 chord covers only a DOMINANT functionality in functional harmonics and always includes a flat 7th. We are speaking of a TONIC in our context. Of course, you can have two thirds in a chord, that's exactly how it works - therefore (-10) !!! Bye the way, it's the same with a (-12) when you want to have two fifth in one chord... - A 6/9/(#11) chord is the only chord with a tension higher than seven that doesn't automatically include the flat 7th and therefore is TONIC, too! Otherwise you would write (9)/#11/13 if it had a DOMINANT functionality...
    – mramosch
    Sep 27, 2015 at 17:45

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