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Questions tagged [chord-theory]

For questions about the theory behind building and naming chords.

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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
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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 ...
21
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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 ...
16
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8answers
14k 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 ...
13
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2answers
594 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 ...
17
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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 ...
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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 ...
15
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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
951 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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2answers
580 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 ...
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8answers
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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
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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?
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3answers
67k 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
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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 ...
14
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8answers
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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 ...
11
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5answers
4k 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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8answers
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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
votes
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 ...
18
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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 ...
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 ...
10
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5answers
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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) ...
9
votes
2answers
543 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 ...
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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 ...
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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
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 ...
10
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7answers
338 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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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 ...
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votes
4answers
20k 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
4answers
6k 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#?
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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 ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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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 ...
10
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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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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
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4answers
357 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 ...
6
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2answers
274 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 | % | ...
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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
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 ...
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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
465 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 ...
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6answers
179 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,...
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4answers
141 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"?...
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3answers
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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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3answers
138 views

Labeling half-diminished seventh chords - m7b5 or m6?

On my older question Are the diminished chords not that common in modern popular music?, I got this answer: The half-diminished (or m7b5) is usually suggested as the diatonic chord on the 7th ...
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9answers
14k views

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
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4answers
7k 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 ...
12
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6answers
4k views

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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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 ...