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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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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
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
58 votes
8 answers
14k 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,...
asgeo1's user avatar
  • 2,844
56 votes
7 answers
14k 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 ...
radiantshaw's 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
53 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
  • 659
49 votes
8 answers
193k 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
48 votes
10 answers
189k 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
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
  • 47.8k
43 votes
12 answers
30k 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
42 votes
11 answers
32k views

Why are the white and black keys on the piano placed the way they are?

I am pretty convinced it is not just for historical reasons. I have found a mathematically-sound explanation of the twelve-tone musical scale, thanks to this question. Does anyone know a similar, ...
Ali's user avatar
  • 1,143
39 votes
2 answers
147k views

What does a triangle mean in chord notation?

For example, what does the △ mean in C△7?
Sam's user avatar
  • 621
38 votes
5 answers
49k 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 ...
usealbarazer's user avatar
33 votes
7 answers
39k 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
6 answers
15k views

How do experienced pianists sight-read chords? [duplicate]

I enjoy sight reading, since it lets me "play" the piano without having to spend hours going over the same passage to get it right. However, I'm still progressing and have difficulty ...
Michael Stachowsky'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
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
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
28 votes
9 answers
19k 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 ...
asgeo1's user avatar
  • 2,844
28 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why does the C7 chord on guitar omit the G note (5th) in open position?

0 C7 C7 ( 1-3-5-flat7) is suppose to contain a G as its 5th right? So how does a guitar get away with this in open position?
Vigrond's user avatar
  • 483
28 votes
7 answers
130k views

Why does my thumb hurt when I play bar chords?

Certain chords cause my thumb to be sore. How can I play in a way to prevent this?
gak's user avatar
  • 1,935
27 votes
11 answers
79k views

What chord is formed by the open strings of a guitar in standard (EADGBe) tuning?

Here is something that I have been wondering about for a while: If you strum all six strings of a guitar in standard (EADGBe) tuning what chord would you play? I think it would be some variety of a ...
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
  • 1,153
27 votes
7 answers
8k views

The function of Gm G♭ B♭ chord progression in "Shine On You Crazy Diamond"

Over the Christmas break I heard this programme on BBC radio: Shine On You Crazy Diamond David Gilmour discusses his famous four-note motif B♭ F G E but what wasn't discussed and I wished had ...
Brian THOMAS's user avatar
  • 11.7k
27 votes
3 answers
8k views

What are some common jazz chord progressions?

What are some common progressions for Jazz improvisation? I have been playing with ii-V-I and variations -- what are some others? Is the answer here just to really dig through standards until I've '...
Joseph Weissman's user avatar
27 votes
4 answers
29k views

How to train recognizing chords by ear ?

How should I train my ears to recognize different 'flavours' of chords ? I mean especially recognizing what fourth/fifth notes were added to the chord (beyond the minor/major triads) such as 7#9 etc. ...
Andre Holzner's user avatar
26 votes
10 answers
5k views

Randomly and Programmatically generate a "good" next chord?

I am a Software Developer/Musician who has free time before summer classes start up. I wanted to sharpen my chord reading and improvising skills. What I would like to do is generate a phrase of ...
sntrenter's user avatar
  • 368
26 votes
4 answers
3k views

Playing a Coltrane polychord and the limits of space

As I was the reading sheet music for John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, I noticed a chord I had never seen before. It looks like this: I'm familiar with slash chords, but never had to practically ...
Aryeh's user avatar
  • 599
25 votes
8 answers
5k views

Are there reliable, formulaic ways to form chords on the guitar?

I'm new to guitar, but am an experienced pianist, which is relevant. On the piano, a root form Cmaj triad of C-E-G can be made minor by simply shifting the E a semitone down. This is true for all ...
temporary_user_name's user avatar
24 votes
6 answers
144k views

How to identify the guitar chords of a song

What's the best technique to identify the guitar chords of a song? I know the basic chords and also how to get into the rhythm of a song! But I'll always be spending huge amount of time to identify ...
ragmn's user avatar
  • 835
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
24 votes
2 answers
4k views

Properly fingering jazz chords?

I've seen these come up in a few places (Crazy Train and a couple of Jimi Hendrix songs come to mind offhand), however I've never figured how to work them in fluidly;the fingerings always seem awkward,...
user avatar
24 votes
6 answers
38k views

How to play chords like G/B

I heard that if there is a chord written like x/y then that means an x chord with y in the bass. This can be played by playing x normally, but then playing the y note on the 6th string, correct? Then ...
user avatar
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
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
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
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
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
22 votes
3 answers
21k 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?
user avatar
22 votes
2 answers
37k 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
  • 5,961
21 votes
12 answers
4k views

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 ...
asgeo1's user avatar
  • 2,844
21 votes
5 answers
3k views

Is there any set of 2-6 notes that doesn't have a chord name?

Is there any combination of up to six notes in the chromatic scale that could not be classified and named as a chord? Can anyone give me an example and explanation if so?
Ethan Richardson's user avatar
21 votes
5 answers
3k 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 ...
Stan Shunpike's user avatar
21 votes
6 answers
4k views

How to formulate a chord on the piano?

I play guitar, and am attempting to teach myself the piano. Which notes from a scale form the chord on the keyboard? Is there a common rule for this?
Ali's user avatar
  • 6,703
21 votes
7 answers
9k 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?
user10354's user avatar
  • 213
21 votes
5 answers
4k views

Beatles - Because: Chord progression

I am currently looking at this tune but I'm a bit confused by a part of the progression. It seems to be using chords built mostly from the C# harmonic minor scale. So, my current understanding ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 311
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
  • 47.8k
21 votes
4 answers
11k views

Classical examples of a 'fifth voice' or 'ghost soprano'

There is an interesting phenomenon in choral (and perhaps also instrumental?) singing in which typically four voices are arranges in such a way that a 'fifth voice' or 'ghost voice' can be heard. It ...
Yellow's user avatar
  • 311
20 votes
11 answers
72k 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 ...
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