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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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?
62
votes
9answers
14k 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 ...
37
votes
12answers
15k 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, ...
63
votes
24answers
172k 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
59k 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?
41
votes
8answers
143k 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
111k 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?
9
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 ...
16
votes
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
5answers
15k 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
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 ...
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 ...
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.
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 ...
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
33k 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?
9
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
603 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
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 ...
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#?
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!
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?
40
votes
9answers
63k 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 ...
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 ...
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 "...
16
votes
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
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 ...
12
votes
7answers
46k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

How would you describe F G A chord progression?

I like the sound of F G A chords progression on a guitar, three major bar chords. Do these chords fit any scale? Am with an added 3 in it? Does it make it a 6-7-1 progression? When I solo over this ...
4
votes
1answer
3k 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
15k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
865 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 ...
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
374 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 ...
11
votes
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 ...
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'...
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"?...
35
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 ...
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,...
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
28k 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?
54
votes
7answers
11k views

Why do Guitar chords work the way they do compared to a Piano?

I'm a Tabla (North Indian percussion instrument) player and I know just the basics of western music because I'm learning it bit by bit. I borrowed a Piano to learn music theory and it's going pretty ...
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 ...
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 ...