Questions tagged [chord-theory]

For questions about the theory behind building and naming chords.

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37
votes
5answers
9k views

Why do notes have multiple names?

I've seen the same note called different names for example the note F# can also be written as Gb. Why is this the case and are there times to use one name over another?
23
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18answers
14k views

Why does the dominant chord contain a flattened 7th?

Why does the dominant chord contain a flattened 7th while this tone is not even in the scale? Let's take, for example, a C7 chord. It is a 1-3-5-b7 of a C scale (C-E-G-B♭). But the C-major scale ...
22
votes
7answers
31k views

What determines a chord's name?

I have very little knowledge of music theory (enough to know what's the major scale and how to find the major chord of a note) but I know a good number of chords by name and could figure out the ones ...
16
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8answers
16k views

A chord is three notes? What do you call just two notes?

Until very recently I'd though a chord was any group of notes played together. However, I just heard a chord defined as "three or more notes played together." If this is the case, what should I ...
21
votes
3answers
7k views

Why are thirds used to construct chords?

I am (slowly) learning music theory on the guitar. I've begun learning about scales and chords, and it seems that all chords are built using some combination of thirds. For example, a minor triad is ...
5
votes
7answers
8k views

What does “dominant” mean in music?

C7 is a dominant 7th chord. G or G7 is the dominant chord of the C-major scale. Is the word dominant related between these two? The word "dominant" relates to several items in music. In Common ...
13
votes
2answers
604 views

“Punning chord”

I'd like to know if the following description is accurate: "A composer modulates from one key to another by the use of the “punning” chord, the augmented sixth (punning because it is also a dominant ...
5
votes
4answers
7k views

When is a note flat/sharp?

For instance we are playing a B, is the third note of the chord a Eb or and D#? If we play Bm is the fifth a Gb or a F#?
17
votes
4answers
24k views

What are the feelings & emotions behind chords?

I studied some different books on Music Theory and all were too much scientific and definitely very helpful to some point. Now that I have started writing some songs, I feel I need to know more ...
16
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5answers
5k views

Are there any enharmonic chords?

Will I even encounter any enharmonic chords? For example would an inverted variation of one chord be equivalent to the root variation of another chord?
14
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6answers
2k views

Proper symbol for this chord (1 5 7 9 11)?

I'm a songwriter in the jazz-pop idiom, and when playing through a chart with a guitarist, he told me that, in his opinion, I had labeled a chord inaccurately / incorrectly. Here's the chord as I ...
22
votes
6answers
1k views

Why don't we measure the size of intervals starting from zero?

Note: italics such as "2nd" refer to my proposed notation; existing notation is written without italics: "2nd". Why is the interval between C and D called a 2nd, as they are 1 note apart? Surely this ...
5
votes
2answers
597 views

What chords count as “diatonic” in minor?

Do triads from all forms of minor count as "diatonic triads"? Triads from A Aeolian / Nat Minor am b˚ C dm em F G Triads from A Harmonic Minor am b˚ C+ dm E F g#˚ Triads from A Melodic Minor am ...
11
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3answers
2k views

Analyzing an unfamiliar Roman numeral analysis: Cm/G-G notated as V6/4-5/3?

I was following a question, Tips on how to add non-diatonic chords to my music, and one of the answers introduced a chord progression involving different non-diatonic chords, with an audio sample. As ...
6
votes
2answers
284 views

How do I go about naming/understanding the second chord in corcovado

I'm in the habit of writing lead sheets down for songs I learn, and the second chord of this stumped me. The notes are, starting at the bottom, G#, F, B E. The context is | Am6 | % | ...
3
votes
4answers
163 views

Do “augmented-six” chords always have to be bVI?

Suppose we are in the key of C: Ab7 would be the "augmented-six" chord. But doesn't any 7th chord have the same intervals as the bVI7? Why does bVI7 only have the particular name of "augmented six"?...
53
votes
8answers
10k views

Which notes are optional in jazz chords?

I have a question on jazz chords, and what notes can be removed from the chord. My understanding is fairly superficial - mostly from what I've read in books. This is what I understand: In some chords,...
21
votes
5answers
6k views

Why does a Cm13 chord use A instead of A♭?

Why is the 13th (or the 6th) of a Cm chord A, not Ab?
24
votes
3answers
68k views

Classical music theory notation for chord inversions (figured bass)

In classical music harmony analysis, we see the chord inversions notated like I6/4, I6, V4/3. Examples: What are those numbers? How do they define the inversion? What's the theory behind using ...
20
votes
7answers
2k views

“slash” chords, e.g. B/F♯ - are these only for inversions, or can any note be the bass note?

I'm trying to work out whether it is technically correct to have a "slash" chord where the bass note is not one of the notes in the chord. I thought the main reason for slash chords is to show which ...
14
votes
8answers
5k views

Is the IV chord a perfect fifth in disguise?

They say the root of the IV chord is a perfect fourth away from the key's tonic. But isn't it a perfect fifth from the tonic (if we go the other way)? let's for the sake of coolness, call it a perfect ...
12
votes
8answers
14k views

Theory behind the change from a major chord to the same in minor

In many songs I hear the change from a major chord to the same, but minor. For example F A Bb Bbm. It sounds really nice to me and I'm wondering if there is a theory behind it. Is there a genre ...
11
votes
5answers
5k views

How do I correctly borrow chords from one key to another?

So how does one decide to borrow chords? Let's say I am in the key of C Major. Can I borrow chords, say, from the G Major key? How does this work?
9
votes
2answers
622 views

Why is the third triad dominant?

I'm working through "Guide to the Practical Study of Harmony" by Tchaikovsky and I had a question about this section on triads (he's working with a C Major scale): The whole mass of major and minor ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Difference between Polychords and Extended chords

I'm really curious about the difference between polychords and extended chords. I know a polychord is two chords played at the same time where there is a higher chord and a lower chord. The common ...
18
votes
7answers
3k views

Why is a ♭5 chord not a “triad”?

If you look at the kinds of thirds and fifths, you immediately see six obvious combinations: minor third/diminished fifth minor third/perfect fifth minor third/augmented fifth major third/diminished ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Does a diminished first exist?

Are there any instances where the first note in a scale/chord is "diminished"? For instance, could a Db occur in a D chord, where the context explicitly requires that this is a Db (diminished first) ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

If I press C4, C5 and C6, is this a chord?

Are there any other special requirements for three sounds to be a chord by musical definition? Do overtones or the same note just sounding on different octaves (sounding together) still can be named a ...
10
votes
5answers
10k views

C major 6th chord and A minor 7th chord: same notes but different quality, why?

Simple question: many have noticed that the A minor 7th chord is the an inversion of the C major 6th chord. However, the more interesting this is why they have different quality (as minor and major) ...
10
votes
7answers
357 views

When a major 6th (or an octave thereof) is in a chord, when is the chord symbol written as a 6th vs. a 13th?

I'm not asking about obvious cases like regular 6th chords or extended chords with 13ths. For example, I'm clear that C E G A is a C6 chord. I'm also clear that C E G B♭ D F A is a C13 chord. (And yes,...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

Old Books with chord progression charts or matrices?

I've heard that there are old books with chord progression charts that tell you which chords are likely/plausible to come after a given chord. A music teacher said there are charts that can get quite ...
16
votes
11answers
24k views

Why does a minor sixth chord contain a major 6th interval?

This is something that has always puzzled me. Perhaps I am going about this the wrong way but when I build chords I always build them based on the scale that corresponds to the quality of the chord. ...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

Is there a name for a chord which combines the major and minor thirds of the root?

I noticed while noodling on my acoustic guitar that playing Cm using the Am shape barred on 3rd fret, that opening the high E string gives a pleasingly discordant sound. I realised the E comes from ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

What's the logic behind chords building patterns that are in key?

I've found multiple resources on the internet that give you this pattern for building chords in a key, i.e. for the Major Scale: 1st Major, 2nd minor, 3rd minor, 4th Major, 5th Major, 6th minor, 7th ...
5
votes
4answers
22k views

What are (no3) chords?

I have been reading some sheet music and I see that there are chords like C2(no3). I just play the Cmaj chord with a 2 (d note) added. I'm trying to play these chords properly but I don't understand ...
5
votes
7answers
1k views

What is it about the blues chord progression that makes the blues feel?

I was reading a book and I saw that in a common 12 bar blue chord progression which is I7 , I7 , I7 , I7 IV7 , IV7 , I7 , I7 V7 , IV7 , I7 , I7 You're allowed to change other chord except the 5th ...
4
votes
1answer
256 views

Get Chord Name From a Given Set of Notes

I am trying to come up with an algorithm that gets the proper chord name given certain Notes, user may or may not inform which from the notes is the root. I suppose that the process in recognizing a ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Minor key and its chords [duplicate]

I am trying to learn the scales and its relative chords. I am confused with Minor scale. Lets take A minor key for an example. A minor key has following notes: A B C D E F G and its relative chords ...
4
votes
2answers
255 views

Perfect 4th is dissonant?

Why is the perfect fourth dissonant in some cases when it does not sound dissonant? When I play it in closed position, it does not sound dissonant at all. When I play it as a compound interval, I ...
0
votes
5answers
231 views

Labeling half-diminished seventh chords - [X]m7♭5 or [Y]m6?

On my older question Are the diminished chords not that common in modern popular music?, I got this answer: "The half-diminished (or m7♭5) is usually suggested as the diatonic chord on the 7th ...
20
votes
3answers
4k views

Am I allowed to add a b9 to a maj7 chord in Jazz?

On Jazzology chapter 2, exercise 6, example 2, I have to identify this chord (if it exists): I thought that it was Cmaj7(b9). My train of thought was (from the lowest to the highest note): C -> 1st ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

How do you voice extended chords?

If I have a Cmaj13 chord, it uses 7 notes. Basically all the notes of the scale. In a previous question, I was told that you rarely play all 7 notes for a 13th chord. So how do you know which ones to ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

What is a “D-10” Chord?

I found a Paul McCartney Song, "Maybe I'm Amazed" that showed a chord which still has me stumped: The name of the chord is D-10. Now, I understand that most chord names are 'even' (as opposed to ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the meaning of '/5+' in a chord?

I'm trying to learn this song in piano: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/a/antonio_carlos_jobim/corcovado_crd.htm What does /5+ or /5- means? Example: Abm6/5+ Does it mean bass is the fifth ...
6
votes
4answers
453 views

Is there a specific name for the use of IV chord over the V in the bass, e.g. F/G in the key of C

You see this chord a fair amount, usually leading to the tonic as a sort of souped-up plagal cadence (plagal in the treble, perfect in the bass). Is there a specific name for this, other than "4 over ...
5
votes
4answers
6k views

What is a D/A Chord?

It seems like you were to play an A5, except the 5th note in the scale you actually played a major chord on top of it, instead of just the consonant note. Is this common? It seems like it could be a ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

How to determine which inversion a chord is?

Say I'm given the notes like this. How do I determine whether it's already in root, 1st, 3rd, or 7th inversion?
5
votes
4answers
6k views

How do you figure out a chords name?

first of all I understand how triad chord names are made through the major scale 1-3-5 and then you alter or add certain degrees for the names of different chords. What I dont understand is how I can ...
4
votes
6answers
195 views

How to choose between Cdim and C#dim?

I have noticed that there is a common chord progression that exists in a few variants: C, C#dim, Dm, G7. It's often changed by changing Dm to D to give the progression a little bit more spark. However,...
4
votes
3answers
67 views

Analyzing Tschaikowsky's “Wintermorgen 2”

At measure 2 from the [B] section. (starting at 00:18 ) I don't know what chord it is. The notes are B,D,G, E#. Is this G7 ? The same chord also appears on the 4th measure with a different ...