So... I was wondering, what is a chord like C-E-G-C called? Is it a four note chord? I heard four note chords were sevenths (notes stacked in thirds). So how is this specific chord named?

  • 3
    I know we've answered this question may times before, I just can't find a good duplicate.
    – Dom
    Dec 12, 2017 at 21:51
  • @Dom Sometimes I wonder if there was a way to create like a general-knowledge sticky or something that people can refer to, so we don't constantly say: "This question is too narrow / it's a duplicate / try Googling it / etc." Dec 13, 2017 at 5:40
  • @jjmusicnotes If we get a good duplicate that should suffice, but the problem is even if we do have one, we can't find it easily because the title doesn't reflect the topic. One thing we can do and I have done in the past is create a canonical question that directly the core question and answer it i.e.(Why do notes have multiple names?).
    – Dom
    Dec 13, 2017 at 15:42

3 Answers 3


I would think it is just a triad since really you only have 3 notes [C (twice), E, and G].

More specifically you have a C Major Triad. As long as you have those 3 notes in there it is a triad. I don't think it matters if you have a note repeated (at the same pitch if you are playing a guitar for example, or at a different octave as if you are on a piano for example.

The note that is lowest in pitch will tell you what inversion the chord is in. So, in your example, with C being the lowest note this is the Root position. Putting the E in the bass would make it a C Major, first inversion. G in the bass will make it a C Major 2nd inversion. sometimes the bass note will be written in with a "/" slash as in C/G (c major triad over G). In this notation the major and the triad are both implied.

  • No need to hedge your answer here, @b3ko, you're exactly on the money with triad Dec 13, 2017 at 3:08

It's just call a chord. Doubling notes does not change the name. In classical theory, there are some procedures to determine doubling if one doesn't what the music to sound as if a voice dropped out. In orchestral music, almost all doubles are fine as doubling a voice doesn't add a voice.

In playing accompaniments to a melody, one often doubles some note of the accompanying chords so that the 7th chords don't sound too heavy. (One may want them to sound a bit thicker to call attention to them too.)

  • Not as comprehensive an answer as the one from @b3ko Dec 13, 2017 at 3:06
  • It's not "just a chord". It's 1 very specific type and quality of chord: it's a C Major Triad. Dec 13, 2017 at 5:43

It's a chord. More specifically a triad with a doubled root (in the case of C E G C). If the 'chord' contains notes only from a triad it would generally be considered a triad with doubled root/3rd/5th although is open to interpretation as with many chords.

If the 4th note is a note other than a triadic note, generally it would be a chord(add x); eg. Cadd4.

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    "If the 4th note is a note other than a triadic note, generally it would be a chord(add x)" -- not if the fourth note is a 6th or a 7th.
    – user39614
    Dec 12, 2017 at 21:25
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    Agreed with David Bowling - the last statement is not accurate; it depends on context. Typically "add" chords are triads or 7th chords with "added" upper-tertian harmony: 9th, 11ths, 13ths. They are "added" because they do not serve a voice-leading purpose, they just color the chord. A non-"triadic" note ("non chord tones" is more widely used), could be part of longer-range voice-leading, or, in the case of your suspended chord, perhaps you're 2/3rds of a way through a resolution. Also, lest we forget other non-chord favorites: LNT's, UNT's, and PT's. Sorry for acronym / short on characters. Dec 13, 2017 at 5:49

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