Is there a name for a chord where the root note is played twice?

For example, if I play a C major chord and hit the C one octave above as well:


Note: I'm not talking about inverted chords, in this example I mean a normal C major with an additional C one octave above the root C played simultaneously.

Is there a name for a chord like this? Or is it simply called a C major as well since the second C doesn't add another tone?

  • You're trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. Chords are sets of notes so you can add as many C notes as you want to a C major chord it won't change what you call it. – Dom Nov 2 '16 at 23:00
  • "Common practice" harmony (which is the basis of much popular music, as well as so-called "classical") is based on voicing chords with four notes, not three, so every major and minor chord has a doubled note, and that note is often the root of the chord. Since this is the default situation, it doesn't have a special name. – user19146 Nov 3 '16 at 1:55
  • I'm very bad at knowing chord names but if I wanted to communicate that there was a chord like this I would write Cmaj8 though as lots of other people have answered, just call it Cmaj. – Unknown Nov 8 '16 at 23:57

To take your naming idea further, there's root position, first and second inversions. This much you know. However, taking it further, add just an extra C on top... but don't stop there, because there's a plethora of other ways to voice those three notes, especially on a piano, or using an orchestra. In fact, so many varieties of that C-E-G combination - C at the bottom of the piano, a G in the middle, an E,G,C at the top is just another...I can't work out how many different combinations of 4,5,6 or more notes, but it's going to be more than lots! The problem is/would be, that they would all need special names, so the operation would get unwieldly, to say the least!

So, sorry, no, there are no particular names for voicings such as you suggest, so if you need to transmit a particular one to others, it could be done by writing out the dots for them to read, showing them on whatever instrument, or merely showing what voicing you need.

  • That makes sense, thanks! Most of the other answer just repeated that the term I'm looking for doesn't exist without explaining why – MoritzLost Nov 3 '16 at 10:33

chord qualities don't spec octaves. only the halfsteps involved.

arrange it however you like, but it's still the C major chord if you've got C,E,G in any (or even ALL) octaves.

an 2nd, 3rd inversion (etc, etc) are just a small subset of possible arrangements. use as many octaves as you like and whichever octaves you like.

If you need to spell out octaves, etc you just use ole standard notation and write which arrangement you mean.

  • I was actually looking for a term that I can use when talking about music/notes. So if I want to describe a chord like the one mentioned in the question, what do I say? 'A major C with an added C one octave above'? Sounds pretty complicated, this is why I'm looking for a term for that kind of chord – MoritzLost Nov 2 '16 at 21:27
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    you always say the root first then the chord quality. there's no short way of spec'ing out an arrangement of the chord that I know of. i'd call that a c (major is implied) with root in octave 4 and 5 or somethin along those lines... – Stephen Hazel Nov 3 '16 at 6:28
  • @StephanHazel that's a good idea and it's actually a good way to solve my problem! +1 – MoritzLost Nov 3 '16 at 10:34
  • good ta hear :) – Stephen Hazel Nov 3 '16 at 16:03

There is no chord name specifically for a chord with the root in two octaves. It would just be called C Major.

This is because chord symbols (i.e., names) contain only a certain subset of the information needed to play a chord. They tell you the notes, but not the octave, order (~inversion) or quantity of each.

When a performer plays off a chord chart, they have to fill in that missing information. On piano, it's very common to play the root of the chord in your left hand, and also in your right (in a different octave). If you play the root too low, the bass player may come and slap you, but that's another story.

If you want to name a chord, remove any duplicate notes prior to looking for the name. They are a performance detail that is not captured by chord symbols. If you need that detail, use a different notation technique.

  • Downvote because this doesnt answer my question – MoritzLost Nov 2 '16 at 21:25
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    @Moritz I'm not sure what you mean. It clearly says that duplicating pitches doesn't change the chord. Isn't that your question? – endorph Nov 2 '16 at 21:28
  • Yes but I'm looking for a term for that kind of chords. I am not asking how to determine the base chord, maybe you just misunderstood my question, or it's a matter of opinion. I know it's the same chord since hitting the C one octave above doesn't introduce a new tone to the chord. But there's still a difference between the 'normal' C major and the C major with the added C one octave above, and I wanted to konw if there's a term that can be used to differentiate between the two – MoritzLost Nov 2 '16 at 21:30
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    @Moritz to which my answer says, there is no such thing. Chord symbols don't contain that sort of information. Cadd8 is not a real chord. If you want that detail, you need to use another form of notation. – endorph Nov 2 '16 at 21:34
  • @MoritzLost What is the purpose of defining this voicing? I believe it could just be called a voicing. If you are trying to describe this to a piano player you could say "play the roots in octaves." As others have noted this is not a matter of a different chord, it is a matter of arrangement of notes. If you could indicate what this will be used for it might help for finding a better answer. – jomki Nov 2 '16 at 23:38

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