My piano teacher taught me how to construct a few jazz chords, I know they had the “7” in them for at least some of them. In the C major key they would be

  1. Bb D E G
  2. Bb D E A
  3. B D E G
  4. B D E A

In C minor:

  1. Bb D Eb G
  2. Bb D Eb A (although I’m almost sure I just made up the 2. , I’m pretty sure the minor jazz chord only had one version)

(All the 6 chords could be inverted but in one specific way: putting the two lower notes an octave higher)

Of course those chords have to be accompanied by the base note with the left hand.

I learned how to make those from regular minor/major chords (C E G in this key) when I learned The Girl From Ipanema and Satin Doll. Now I took a class in musical improvisation and this information would be useful...

Like for Eb major (or D# I never know??) the correspondant chord that I play in TGFI is C# F G Bb or the same with a C instead of the Bb. It occurs in a moment in the song after a G minor jazz chord (Bb D F A).

In satin doll the two first chords are D minor and G major and I play them C E F A , B E F G with D , G at the base... those are constructed in the same way as above.

To summarize:

can somebody name the 6 chords above (knowing that they are in C, C is in the base) please?


closed as off-topic by Tim, Richard, ttw, MattPutnam, Dom Mar 19 '18 at 22:07

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Basic analysis questions, such as "What key is this song in?", are off-topic. Questions should be substantial and refer to a well-defined work or subsection, including a concrete reference (sheet music, etc.)." – Tim, Richard, ttw, MattPutnam, Dom
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  • Welcome! It's hardly within the remit of this site to provide names of chords. If the question had been asked in such a way that LMSO7's answer is a good explanation, then it would be more help to future readers. There can't be many who just want the name of several chords. – Tim Mar 13 '18 at 7:28
  • There might be people who are wondering about the names... GIVE ME THE NAMES haha. If accept this answer then it will become a closed case and it doesn't even answer the question – John Cataldo Mar 13 '18 at 7:32
  • There are plenty of chord analysis tools online. I'm partial to the one I wrote. See tomweissmusic.com/chords/?pitchclass=247A for an analysis of your first chord, B♭ D E G. As you'll see, giving a name to complex chord requires more information than just the constituent notes. – trw Mar 13 '18 at 12:17

You are playing what are called voicings of chords:

Notice that in Satin Doll, your teacher tells you C E F A for D minor. This is an F major 7 chord on its own, but it is being used as a voicing for D minor 7. Notice how there's no D in the D minor chord? Where did it go? Well, ideally the bass player plays the root of the chord (that is, the letter name that comes first, such as D, or G, whatever) and lets the other players have freedom to build on top of that. That's precisely what you are doing.

I won't go into the specifics of how to build complicated chords (you can ask your teacher that) but the reason you are playing CEFA -> BEFG is because the voice leading works out nicely, i.e., notice how there aren't any huge jumps in the notes? The C goes down one step to B and the A goes down one step to G. The ear hears smooth voice leading as, well, pleasant and smooth.

Now, the G7 you are playing has a G on top, but it is still a specific voicing of a G7 because it contains no D natural (per what your teacher taught you) and is thus missing its fifth. That's fine, but the purpose of leaving out (or adding) notes is to give nicer effects. The other chords you mentioned are also voicings, but can function as chords on their own as well. It depends on the context what the chords are called.

  • Ok thanks for the answer, can you at least name the first chord that I wrote? – John Cataldo Mar 13 '18 at 6:02
  • @StanislasHildebrandt - you can also accept this answer by clicking on the faint checkbox on the left hand side, if it answers your question appropriately. – Stinkfoot Mar 13 '18 at 6:10
  • I thank you for this answer that describes the chords but you have to think of them independently. You're saying for instance that A goes down to G or C goes to Bb and you describe what those transitions sound like, but I asked for a specific thing: the official jazz names like Cmaj7 or whatever. – John Cataldo Mar 13 '18 at 6:20
  • 1
    A good answer. But I think the OP isn't that bothered about the reasons behind voicings - just wants names! What's here is so much more useful. +1. – Tim Mar 13 '18 at 7:24
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    I said at the end: it depends on the context. The CEFA he says right at the beginning is an F major 7 on its own. But with a D in the bass it is a voicing for a D minor 9. It just depends on the context, which is why he should ask his teach HOW to build the chords based on the names first. I have edited my answer to reflect that. – LSM07 Mar 13 '18 at 13:19

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