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Questions tagged [chords]

For general questions about chords like how to play them, construct them, or what symbols represent them. For more in depth analysis of the ideas behind chords themselves, please use the chord-theory tag.

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44 votes
8 answers
16k 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?
Dom's user avatar
  • 47.7k
86 votes
13 answers
25k views

Is there a way to measure the consonance or dissonance of a chord?

I know that if I played C and B together they would be very dissonant compared to if I played a G or C one octave up. Is there a quantitative way to describe that sort dissonance? Edit: I understand ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 1,014
43 votes
12 answers
29k views

Why do many songs in major keys use a bVII chord?

Based on my understanding of chord theory, the chords used in most modern popular songs are comprised of notes that occur in the scale of the tonic key for that song. The I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, and ...
Rockin Cowboy's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is the best way to play a chord larger than your hand?

I've seen and attempted to play multiple songs on the piano that include chords that are tenths or sometimes even elevenths or twelfths (rarely), and these chords have four or five notes. If I were to ...
violetorigin's user avatar
23 votes
6 answers
71k views

What is a secondary dominant chord?

What is a secondary dominant chord? What's the theory behind them? How are they used in composition?
TaylorSwiftFan5932's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
5k views

What does the chord notation X/Y ("slash chord") mean?

Questions about slash chords are frequent enough that this question was created to answer the general concerns as well as link to related or more specific questions on the topic. Chords notated like ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 89.8k
69 votes
24 answers
247k views

Best method to learn to play barre chords?

I've been trying to learn the F chord for a while now, and I am having a very hard time playing the barre chord. I've read that pulling back slightly with your finger and using the body of the guitar ...
user avatar
28 votes
18 answers
27k 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 ...
PaulD's user avatar
  • 767
48 votes
10 answers
188k views

What does it mean to write a song in a certain key?

I have been searching for a while to try to correctly understand this. What exactly does it mean if for example a song is written in C Major? Does it mean the song's notes cannot contain any sharps or ...
jmasterx's user avatar
  • 861
21 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is a Neapolitan 6th?

In studying music theory I have heard the term Neapolitan 6th quite a few times, but I'm not quite sure what it is. What is a Neapolitan 6th and how is it used in a composition?
Dom's user avatar
  • 47.7k
0 votes
3 answers
19k views

How to play a G-chord?

Does anybody have tips on how to play a G-chord on the guitar? My band director taught us, but for some reason I just find it very difficult. Help!
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
27 votes
9 answers
29k views

Fast Chord Identification

How would someone go about identifying chords quickly and efficiently? While sight reading, I would often come up to some strange chord and try to decipher it. It normally takes me (what feels like) ...
Dasaru's user avatar
  • 1,133
23 votes
9 answers
40k 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 ...
minseong's user avatar
  • 1,086
8 votes
7 answers
14k 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 ...
user31230's user avatar
32 votes
8 answers
146k views

How to identify the root note of a chord

I struggle with chords on the staff because I'm not sure which note is the root note. Is it the top note with the rest of the notes falling below it? E.g., if the top note is C, and bundled below it ...
Warren van Rooyen's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
4k views

Determining Key / Key Change / Chords?

I've been playing guitar for about 5 years... I've been slowly trying to teach myself some of the THEORY behind music.. I've just always had trouble really understanding.. When I hear a song, and ...
Kyle's user avatar
  • 103
9 votes
7 answers
3k views

Learning to identify Chords Progressions by ear

I have no problem identifying instruments, the different role they play in a song, the scales and modes of a song etcetera etcetera. I even understand harmony and the logics and theories surrounding ...
BLG's user avatar
  • 773
9 votes
3 answers
10k views

Learning to play guitar songs using on-line tabs - how to get strum patterns?

I am a relatively new guitarist and have been using online tabs such as this one: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/b/beatles/let_it_be_crd.htm to learn how to play new songs. While those tabs ...
Alekxos's user avatar
  • 193
7 votes
3 answers
13k views

How to make a song with chords and scales?

I play acoustic guitar and have been learning a bunch of chords and scales. I can play many progressions already, and I am starting to write music. I am wondering how you would bridge chord ...
chriswebbonline's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
348 views

How does this Bdim7 resolve to F/C?

( The song, the score I posted starts at 2:39 ) At the 4th measure, Bdim7 appears. It resolves to F/C. But I can't understand how this works. Can someone explain what is going on ?
Hyun Yoo Park's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

overlapping note on same staff

In this piano sheet excerpted from Erik Satie's "Gymnopédie No.1": (in 3/4), the right-hand's F# is supposed to be hold for several measures (a 3/4 note), meanwhile being pressed in the 2/4 chord. ...
Starnuto di topo's user avatar
24 votes
4 answers
9k 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 ...
sdasdadas's user avatar
  • 501
17 votes
6 answers
2k views

Proper symbol for this chord (1 5 b7 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 ...
Duncan Malashock's user avatar
14 votes
6 answers
3k views

Why do we call the Hendrix chord 7#9 instead of 7b10?

The Hendrix chord is usually mentioned when a harmony contains both the major and the minor third, together with the minor seventh. Were it a major seventh, I'd say we have an augmented 9th and thus ...
András Hummer's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

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

I was following a question, https://music.stackexchange.com/questions/57733/tips-on-how-to-add-non-diatonic-chords-to-my-music, and one of the answers introduced a chord progression involving ...
Jaafar Jumaa's user avatar
8 votes
5 answers
12k views

Tips playing F barre chord

Any tips for a newbie in playing the F barre chord. I find it very hard to put my fingers in place. I've got a strat. I hear you can move it up and down the neck for other barre chords.
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
856 views

Is a minor 6 chord still called that way if the 6 interval is minor?

I did a search for the minor 6 chord and I found that this refers to the minor triad with an added major 6th interval (or 13th rather). I am studying a song that has a minor triad with a minor 13th ...
user avatar
55 votes
4 answers
40k views

What are some chord substitutions for a I-IV-V blues progression?

I was watching a video of SRV and one of the things that really stood out was the fact that he seemed to have a different iteration of the I-IV-V turnaround - and made it look/sound effortless. Any ...
user avatar
52 votes
11 answers
83k views

Why is a C7 chord named a dominant seventh chord?

I understand that a C7 chord contains a flattened 7th note in the C major scale, but what specifically makes this a dominant 7th chord? To me there is nothing 'dominant' about taking a note out of ...
jaffa's user avatar
  • 649
33 votes
7 answers
38k views

How is this B flat guitar chord physically possible?

This chord diagram is from the GarageBand chord trainer (I'm a beginner). How is it possible to put a barre down on the third fret without also muting the top E string?
codecowboy's user avatar
32 votes
7 answers
37k views

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 the ...
Whimusical's user avatar
23 votes
7 answers
3k 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 ...
asgeo1's user avatar
  • 2,844
22 votes
2 answers
36k views

Why “delta” chords?

Why are major seventh chords called delta chords and written with a delta symbol, like CΔ7 or CΔ? Do engravers consistently use Δ to mean a seventh chord (such that Δ7 is redundant) or do some use Δ ...
Bradd Szonye's user avatar
  • 6,718
21 votes
6 answers
9k views

Why is IV-iv-I an effective chord sequence in a major key?

An example of this is the song Nobody Home by Pink Floyd. The last line of the intro is, in a C major key: F Fm C % I think this sounds great, and in fact I often use such passages when ...
Lee White's user avatar
  • 5,941
20 votes
11 answers
71k views

Why do Major keys contain minor chords?

Looking through each Major Key: At position II, III, VI are MINOR chords. At position VII, this is a DIMINISHED chord. Looking at the C Major Key as an example, this chord progression is made up ...
user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
6k views

Is an inversion a different chord, or a different voicing?

If I play C4, E4, G4, it's a C-major chord. First inversion would be E4, G4, C5: is this considered a different chord, or just a different voicing of the same chord? I'm thinking specifically for ...
brianmearns's user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
3k views

Alternative Analysis for Non-Functioning Secondary Dominants

I've been reading though my Pocket Music Theory book and in the chapter on secondary dominants there is a concept that confuses me. The book says there can be non-functioning secondary dominants that ...
Dom's user avatar
  • 47.7k
8 votes
7 answers
13k views

Will a song written in a key only use chords in that key?

When you figure out a key that a song is written in. Will the entire song use the chords in that key? With maybe an accidental?? I've tried several different methods.
Mona Pervine's user avatar
8 votes
6 answers
15k 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#?
SovereignSun's user avatar
  • 3,842
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why does the chord progression (i-)#IV-i sound acceptable?

The (i-)#IV-i chord progression is somewhat common in heavy metal from my experience--listen to 0:19-0:25 of this, 1:09-1:12 of this, 0:08-0:13 of this, and 0:16-0:24 of this for heavy metal examples ...
Dekkadeci's user avatar
  • 14.2k
3 votes
4 answers
814 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"?...
Hyun Yoo Park's user avatar
49 votes
8 answers
192k views

How do I make piano chords sound interesting when playing along with popular songs?

I'm wanting to start playing along with popular songs and the easiest way to find lyrics and music only has guitar chords. I can play those chords on the piano but it just sounds boring. How should I ...
mrstein2's user avatar
  • 593
24 votes
5 answers
7k 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 ...
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
22 votes
5 answers
18k views

Is it possible to find the correct chords from melody notes alone?

I'm caught up in this thought. My friend gave me just the melody notes of a song. Here it is, So, here is the problem: "without having the chords supplied, there is no way of knowing what the chords ...
John Eipe's user avatar
  • 335
16 votes
9 answers
33k views

What's the difference between arpeggio and broken chord?

I always thought of them as synonyms, but googling around found that some people see them as different, with the distinctions changing depending on who you ask. Is there a formal distinction between ...
TaylorSwiftFan5932's user avatar
16 votes
6 answers
7k 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?
RyanScottLewis's user avatar
16 votes
7 answers
5k 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 ...
user avatar
13 votes
7 answers
64k views

Fingers Too Short for Barre Chords?

My wife is learning the guitar and is getting pretty good. She gets frustrated though because she can't play barre chords. She claims that her fingers are literally too short to ever be able to play ...
user avatar
12 votes
6 answers
2k views

Sus2 doesn't exist?

On this stack post answer: Chord naming conventions: add2 versus add9 And on this website: https://www.brendanpauljacobs.com/spelling.htm The writers imply that sus2 chords actually do not exist. ...
Numpy's user avatar
  • 578
12 votes
2 answers
787 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 ...
Veta Veta's user avatar
  • 129

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