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Questions tagged [chord-theory]

For questions about the theory behind building and naming chords.

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5answers
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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?
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18answers
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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
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7answers
29k 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 ...
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7answers
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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 ...
20
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3answers
6k 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 ...
13
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2answers
577 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 ...
12
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7answers
12k 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 ...
16
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4answers
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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 ...
14
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6answers
1k 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 ...
14
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5answers
4k 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?
21
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6answers
907 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
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3answers
551 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 ...
21
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5answers
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Why does a Cm13 chord use A instead of A♭?

Why is the 13th (or the 6th) of a Cm chord A, not Ab?
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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 ...
13
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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 ...
24
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3answers
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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 ...
11
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8answers
13k 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 ...
8
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4answers
3k 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 ...
15
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6answers
2k 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 ...
12
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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 ...
9
votes
2answers
407 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
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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) ...
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1answer
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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 ...
14
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11answers
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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
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5answers
4k 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 ...
9
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6answers
285 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,...
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4answers
2k 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?
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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
7answers
874 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
17k 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
3answers
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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 ...
5
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4answers
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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#?
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4answers
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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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Analyzing an unfamiliar Roman numeral analysis?

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 ...
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votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
5
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4answers
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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
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4answers
5k 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 ...
5
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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?
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4answers
433 views

Locrian mode and power chords

I'm studying in an online game music course, and I'm experimenting Modes to add unusual sound to the music. I'm a complete newbie in music. So let's have the Locrian mode, the root chord is a dimished ...
2
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3answers
410 views

Do major triad chord notes depend on the key? Key=E, Emaj=EG#B vs Key=C, Emaj=EGB?

I came across something odd shown in the picture below. (What this is from is not very relevant, but in case your interested: I'm building a simple phone app that would allow me to practice ...
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8answers
9k 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,...
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9answers
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What is the full list of possible chord names? Are there chords that don't have a name in chord theory?

My chord book covers 35 different chord types. When I look on the web or in other tools, all the same types of chords come up. But I don't think this is the "full" set of possible chords. I'm not ...
14
votes
4answers
6k views

The Chords in this progression sound great but don't belong together - so why do they work?

I am a songwriter and compose my own music to go with my lyrics. Most of my chord progressions follow common patterns like using a I V IV or I IV V with an occasional ii or iii or vi chord thrown in ...
10
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2answers
843 views

How do you name chords in 20th Century Music? (Chords stacked in intervals other than 3rds)

This question stems from some thoughts on List of possible trichord/triad names. When you stack chords in 3rds, you get all the standard chord names of Major, minor, 7 etc, but what about when ...
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6answers
6k views

Does a chord need to include its root?

While I understand that it is very important to include the root note in a chord, is it required? Let's say I'm in C Major, and I want to play a I chord. Do I need to include C in order for it to be ...
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6answers
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Is there a term for chords like F/G and C/D?

Chords like F/G and C/D are really quite common in jazz, blues and soul music yet I have never heard or been able to find a concise name for them. To be clear, I am referring to any major (or indeed ...
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2answers
70k views

What does a triangle mean in chord notation?

For example, what does the △ mean in C△7?
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5answers
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Chord naming conventions: add2 versus add9

I'm confused about the chord naming convention for the chord C-D-E-G. Is it Cadd2 or Cadd9? Similarly, I'm confused about the chord C-E-F-G. Is it Cadd4 or Cadd11? EDIT: I understand what is the ...
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4answers
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Diminished and augmented power chords

The theory behind power chords is easy, you just take a major (or minor) chord and drop the 3rd. This leaves you with the 1st (root) and the 5th. The 8th (or root's octave) can also be included. A ...
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12answers
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Can a chord contain both the C and C♯ notes? (as opposed to containing C and D♭ notes)

Can a chord contain both the C and C♯ notes? Or do you always have to use D♭ rather than C♯ in a chord that already contains the note C? I'm guessing the answer is no, both C and C♯ should not be ...