I am having trouble composing a piano piece, because i don't know how to correctly notate a specific chord that i have used.

The notes are as such in order: C,F,A,E


The traditional F Major 7th chord uses the notes in the order F,A,C,E, however i do not want to write it like that.

First i thought of using an inverted 7th chord to notate it, but none of them matched.

I also thought of using an Fmaj 2nd inversion add 7th, but that didn't appear to exist either.

Next, i thought to notate it as the diadic F5 chord, then add a c bass notes: F5/C then add a 7th: F5/C+7, but this does not appear to be correct visually, and as far as my research has found isn't an existing notation.

Are any of these, correct? Do they have their own symbols that i have not discovered yet, or have i missed something? If anyone could shed some light on this subject I would be very greatful,


  • 3
    Chord symbols do not convey any voicing information besides the bass note in "slash chords". Trying to make a chord symbol represent a voicing just leads to a lot of confusion. Just call it an FMaj7/C and call it a day. If the voicing matters, give out the voicings in standard notation.
    – Dom
    Apr 22, 2018 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


It's still Fmaj7.

If you're doing a harmonic analysis you could label it 'Fmaj7, second inversion'.

If you're writing a lead sheet you could give the musician playing it some more useful information by using the Chord Symbol 'Fmaj7/C'.

But either way, it's still Fmaj7.

You NOTATE it like this, with notes.

enter image description here

You can only convey limited information with chord symbols. 'Fmaj7/C' tells us what notes are in the chord and which note is on the bottom, but nothing about the voicing otherwise. These would all be correctly labelled as Fmaj7/C. And there are many more possibilities!

enter image description here

A word of warning. If there is ONLY a piano in your piece of music, describing the piano voicing as a certain inversion can be useful. But if there's a bass player too, it's HIS note that determines the inversion. Don't call it Fmaj7/C if the bass player has F.

And if you want to instruct the musicians in more detail than chord symbols can handle, use notation. It's what it's for!

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