This small dilemma I'm having right now is dealing with a problem many jazz musicians face: chord notation. The notes in the chord (in ascending order) are as follows:

C Eb(D#) F Ab(G#) Bb

Would I write this as something like Cmin11(b13) or C+min11

  • 3
    Out of curiosity, does this chord appear within a larger context of a piece of music? You consider this a C of some sort, and the first answer here recommends looking at it as an F of some sort—others here may know something I don’t, but if this chord appears around other chords (and you’re not talking simply about a chord in complete musical isolation), knowing them might be helpful.
    – Neal
    Apr 4 '18 at 18:39
  • This is completely isolated Apr 5 '18 at 0:45
  • Side remark : the chord notes are a pentatonic scale (based on Ab major pentatonic) Ab Bb C Eb F Apr 5 '18 at 6:27

As you have a full Fm triad in there (F, Ab, C), and in fact a full Fm7 chord (F, Ab, C, Eb), it may be easier to think of F as the root and therefore interpret this as a Fm7add11/C, in other words Fm7add11 in second inversion. Often chords are simpler to name when you don't consider the bass note to be the root. I suppose it depends partly upon how strongly you feel the C bass note to be the root of this chord.

  • I agree with this and would add that what is most recognizable is best. An Fm7add11 is going to be more quickly processed by a player than a C+m11 or Cmin11b13. You do not have an actual C+ triad because of the Eb and trying to work around all the exceptions takes too much thought.
    – Heather S.
    Apr 5 '18 at 14:02

Another option you might consider is Ab69/C. When you want to be that specific with what pitches are being played finding the simplest spelling can be your best bet. That being said, no matter how the chord is spelled there's no guarantee these exact pitches will be played by the performer.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.