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In my Chamber Orchestra, we are learning about chord inversions but unfortunately, I missed the major lesson. Based off of research I have done, here's what I got from it:

  • How to find Tonic chords in a key

  • How to identify a Tonic chord by notes

  • How to identify Tonic,super-tonic, Mediant, sub-dominant, Dominant, sub-mediant,and leading tone chords.

What I am still lacking knowledge in:

  • How to identify what symbol a chord is (I 6/4, or I 6, or V 7, etc.)

  • How to identify the number or fraction on the side of the symbol for a chord

  • How to identify chords of a symbol with a fraction

  • How to identify symbols that aren't in root position

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How to find Tonic chords in a key?

Does it have the tonic note in the chord? If you are in C Major and there is a C note that is not non chordal then it can only be one of three chords one of them being the tonic (Others are IV and vi.)

How to identify a Tonic chord by notes?

Does it have the the tonic note with the third and the fifth above that notes in the chord? Or in other words if you are in C Major does it have C - E and G in the chord?

How to identify Tonic,super-tonic, Mediant, sub-dominant, Dominant, sub-mediant,and leading tone chords.

The same as with the previous example now it is just the Super Tonic note with a third and fifth and Mediant with a third and fifth and so on and so forth.

The second part of the question I have answered on this site before.

What I am still lacking knowledge in:

  • How to identify what symbol a chord is (1 6/4 or 1 6 or 5 7)
  • How to identify the number or fraction on the side of the symbol for a chord
  • How to identify chords of a symbol with a fraction
  • How to identify symbols that aren't in root position

These are indications of inversions. Inversions are concerned with what note of the chord is in the bass. You can either have the root in the bass (Root Position), Third in the bass (First Inversion), Fifth in the bass (Second inversion) and also in the case of a seventh chord the seventh in the bass (Third inversion).

With you triads the notation works as follows. Lets say you are in C Major and you are working with the tonic chord. If you have a root position chord you have the notes C-E-G.

Now the C to the E gives the interval of a third and C to the G gives the interval of a fifth hence the notation of 5/3 for our triads in root position.

Next up we have the triad in first inversion. In our example we would now have the notes E-G-C. E to G is a third and E to C is a sixth hence the notation of a triad in first inversion as 6/3.

Next up we have the triad in second inversion. Here we would have the notes G-C-E which would give us the intervals of a fourth and also a sixth (G-C vs G-E) Hence the notation of 6/4

The notation for the four note chords work as follows. If you have the dominant seventh chord of C Major you have the notes G-B-D-F.

If it is in root position you have a third from the root, a fifth and a seventh. That gives us the notation 7/5/3 or more commonly just V7.

If that same chord is first inversion we would have the notes B-D-F-G this would give us the intervals of a third, a fifth and a sixth. This is why we have the notation of 6/5/3 or more commonly just V6/5

If we have that chord in second inversion then we have D-F-G-B. This gives us the interval of a third, a fourth and a sixth. We cannot call this inversion 6/4 because that is already our triad in second inversion so we call it 4/3.

Lastly we have the third inversions. In our example we would have the notes F-G-B-D which would give us the interval of a second, a fourth and a sixth. Again we cannot call it 6/4 so we rather just call the inversion 4/2.

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You asked

How to identify what symbol a chord is (1 6/4 or 1 6 or 5 7)

How to identify the number or fraction on the side of the symbol for a chord

How to identify chords of a symbol with a fraction

How to identify symbols that aren't in root position

To begin with, they are not fractions. They are figured bass symbols. @NeilMeyer has explained the mechanics; I have attached a chart which I created for a student of mine.

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These are the basic symbols for the diatonic chords found within any given key. There are additional symbols for sharping or flatting certain notes and intervals to make chords outside the key.

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