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Extremely dissonant but is there an official name for it.

formula: root +maj 3rd +maj 2nd

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  • Could it be that you are just mistaken about an inversion? Can we get a picture of the example. – Neil Meyer Nov 2 '16 at 11:54
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The most straightforward interpretation is as a simple triad, without any implied notes. In this case, the formula for the chord would need to be re-interpreted as:

root - major third - diminished third

which is enharmonically the same as the formula in your question. With root C, you'd have

C - E - Gb

I know that in German and Dutch, there is a specific name for this chord: hartvermindert (German), and hardverminderd (Dutch). As far as I know there is no specific term for it in English.

The most common chord symbol for this chord is C(b5), because it simply is a major triad with a diminished fifth.

Note that more often than not, this chord voicing (interpreted enharmonically) is used as the upper structure of a different chord. E.g., that chord based on the note C could be used as an upper structure of an Am6 chord, of a D9 chord, or of an Ab7(#5) chord:

Am6: (A -) C - E - F#
     (R)   b3  5   6

D9: (D - A -) C - E - F#
    (R - 5)   b7  9   3

Ab7(#5): (Ab -) C - E - Gb
         (R)    3   #5  b7

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It's a chord and chord symbol that doesn't come up much in many styles but you could look at it as and add#11 chord with an implied 5th. So in C major it will contain the notes C, E, and F# with the G implied and it would be called Cadd#11.

A much better way to look at this chord is to look at it in set notation. In this instead of using the typical naming scheme we just need it based the distance from root in semitones. So for this we can look at it as the set containig the notes 0, 4, and 6. Not really the prettiest thing especially when explaining to other musicians, but it best reflects the name without getting crazy.

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  • so the chords that utilize that major 2nd implies chords larger than triads – zeukin Nov 2 '16 at 21:11
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Let's take a concrete example. In C major, your notes are C, E and F#.

You could consider this a part of an F#m7b5 chord. It's missing the A, which defines the minor quality of the chord, but I've seen it notated that way (in the progression Am, F#m7b5, Fmaj7, G).

This depends on the surrounding progression. If the three notes are in isolation, I'd use the add#11 from Dom's answer.

For interest's sake, I located an instance of a very similar chord in a song. It's notated as A(#4), which I suspect is rather unconventional:

A(#4) Chord

It's built on a b7 root, so it's kind of a b7sus4 sort of thing. The notated piano part does not have a third, but the guitar chord diagram does:

 %3/.4/.0/0.0/0.0/0.3/[G(#4)]

The notes are G, C#, D, G, B, G, if I read it correctly.

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  • You can't imply a 3rd in a chord. The only note you can imply is a perfect 5th from the root and calling it C diminished makes no sense as you have a major 3rd not a minor 3rd. – Dom Nov 2 '16 at 1:30
  • I guess I'm trying to say that those three notes can imply a m7b5. As in, that's how I've seen them notated in real chord charts. Whether that is correct depends on the function of the chord in the surrounding progression. Agreed that it's not a diminished chord. – endorph Nov 2 '16 at 1:44
  • I half agree with you. While you could use those notes to be apart of a m7b5 those notes alone don't make that chord and if I just wanted you to play those notes and you played a m7b5, it would not be what I wanted. Adding any tone besides the 5th alters the color of the chord so when naming a chord you want to look for names that won't introduce notes that will alter the overall sound. – Dom Nov 2 '16 at 2:08

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