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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.

37
votes
5answers
8k 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?
59
votes
9answers
13k 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 ...
36
votes
12answers
14k 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. So the I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, ...
62
votes
24answers
169k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
57k 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?
40
votes
8answers
140k 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 ...
23
votes
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 ...
29
votes
8answers
108k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
2k 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?
8
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
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 ...
21
votes
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
votes
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
11k 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.
6
votes
7answers
7k 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.
54
votes
4answers
32k 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
32
votes
7answers
33k 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?
13
votes
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
17k 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!
20
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
16k views

What is a “Circle of Fourths” chord progression?

Are there any examples of songs that employ a Circle of Fourths that I might be able to practice along with? How does the progression tie in with different scales?
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 ...
37
votes
9answers
62k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
12k views

Negative harmony: What does it mean to “rotate around the axis”?

We're a bit confused on what it means to "rotate around the axis". How does that work exactly? I heard the the idea that in the C/G axis you're rotating around E/E♭, but what does that mean...to "...
8
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
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
votes
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?
12
votes
7answers
45k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Finding out which scales contain a specific chord

Notation note: scales will be notated as C Major, D minor, etc. and chords as Am, F, etc. Once you know a scale, yo know which chords it contains, for example the C Major scale contains the chords: ...
15
votes
2answers
14k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the different ways of adding non-diatonic chords? [closed]

I'm trying to add more detail to what I'm playing by using non-diatonic chords. So far the main ways I have found are: Borrowing chords from parallel key (mode mixture) Chromatic Mediants (playing ...
2
votes
3answers
322 views

Are the diminished chords not that common in modern popular music?

It seems like the diminished chord (vii° in major, ii° in minor) is not used as much in modern popular music compared to classical music and the remaining chords of the diatonic scale. Is it actually ...
5
votes
5answers
11k views

How to play power chords without fretting hand getting tired?

My brother and I sat down to play electric / bass covers of Bad Religion together and by the end of the two hour session my hand literally died - like a tingling sensation and a sharp stinging pain. I'...
5
votes
4answers
808 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 ...
34
votes
5answers
43k views

How to turn any (pop) song into a jazz song?

Quite often there are pop songs wich get covered in a jazz style. These covers are seen from youtube to tv. Now I tried doing something like this, with for example Bad Day by Daniel Powter. It's ...
52
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,...
18
votes
4answers
6k views

What are the most common ways to “decorate” a melody?

Yes, I know, there are way too many possibilities and it depends on the style of the music... I would be happy with an incomplete list for beginners (like me). Here is what I have so far: ...
20
votes
6answers
27k views

Do all chords in a progression usually fit within a scale

I am wondering if when writing a chord progression, all the notes fit within a single scale. If not, what is the logic behind chord progressions?
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?
18
votes
5answers
2k views

Can one measure the “distance” between chords? If so, how?

I was reading an article an the author gave the following sequence of chords: C A7 Dm G C I would like to measure the "distance" if there is such a thing between C and A7. Can this be done? In ...
16
votes
4answers
77k views

What chords are used often in “Funk” - Why?

"Pass The Peas";"Le Freak"; "Get up and Jump";"Shake your Pants""The Crunge"....They all use very similar chords in a Funk setting - what are some Standard Funk Chords and why (from a Music Theory ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Are there any publicly available databases ( not just web apps ) of guitar chords?

I need guitar chords in a database for a project I'm working on ( preferably MySQL, CSV or some other easily portable format ). I can imagine many formats by which one could store this information, so ...
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 ...
15
votes
4answers
51k views

How to find out the Major and Minor chords of a scale?

How do I know which notes of a scale may be a Major/Minor chord? Take this question as an example. The OP states that the C major scale contains the following chords: C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim How ...
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 ...
10
votes
8answers
22k 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 ...