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

TL;DR For pianists, play the X chord with the right hand and the Y bass note with the left hand. For guitar/bass bands: guitarist plays the X chord and bassist plays the Y bass note. (With thanks to @...
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  • 55k
15 votes

Is this an error in this textbook?

The "root" of the problem (so to speak) is that the exercise transcribed the piece incorrectly. The A (edit: in the bass) should actually be an F#. See this score on iMSLP, page 6, the ...
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12 votes
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use of 4/2 chord more compelling than root position?

I see at least two reasons: Tonal music is really built on the contrast of consonance and dissonance; the inherent tension and release of that dichotomy is what moves tonal music forward. Your second ...
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  • 78.7k
12 votes

Em/C: Sound Notation, or Dirty Shorthand?

Who is it meant for, are you writing the notation for jazz players, pop/rock or is it a hymnal or what? Cmaj7 is not that strange, but it's just written communication from people to people, so you are ...
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11 votes
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Rules of how the bass should (and should not) move in chord progressions

As a bass player, I am typically trying to either play something unexpected/less than intuitive, or really awesome. Only when I am asked to fulfill a role in a band with a traditional approach to the ...
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  • 7,379
10 votes
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How do I find the third of the chord?

A chord is typically defined by intervals of thirds, minor or major. Intervals are the distance between two notes - if a note is three half steps apart, it is a minor third. If it is four, it is a ...
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10 votes

How to understand chords in first inversion with notes out of order

You need to understand the difference between close and open voicings. In close voicings the notes are arranged in thirds or seconds. Inversions of close voicings are created by moving the lowest note ...
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10 votes
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Is 'fundamental frequency' the same thing as 'fundamental bass' (chord root?)

I can offer the physical explanation, which helps me understand all of this. In my answer, I'll briefly describe how hearing is produced so that the notion of the fundamental frequency and harmonic ...
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10 votes
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What should one keep in mind when writing the Neapolitan 6th chord in a chord progression?

Yes, you generally double the 3rd of the chord. It's the chord note that is easier to resolve. Let's take this example in C major, a simple I bii V I: You can see that both the neapolitan chord and V ...
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10 votes
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Writing an augmented sixth chord on the flattened supertonic

You write an augmented 6th chord on the flattened supertonic by applying the same Italian/French/German formula to the flattened supertonic as the conventional Italian/French/German Augmented 6ths do ...
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  • 11.5k
9 votes

Understanding Inversions

The thing you need to learn is what notes are in a chord. It doesn't matter how they are placed in a chord; it still is the same. The basic chords are built on thirds. So, take the notes you have and ...
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9 votes
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Should the comping instrument ever double the bass player?

I agree with the answer and ideas provided by @Tim and would like to add a few of my own. The thing about group accompanying is unless the music is completely arranged you can’t predict what the other ...
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8 votes
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Inversions of chords in closed/open positions

Inversions are always worked out from the bottom note. Thus using a C triad, in close form, C E G is root, E G C is 1st inversion, and G C E is second. That's equivalent to your app's root=0, 1=1st ...
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8 votes

What are the uses of inverted chords?

I think you have outlined two of the uses of inversions in your questions already. To add a bass line to the chords that are not just all roots. To put the melody note "up on top" so it is the ...
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8 votes
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Do seventh chords have more inversions than triads?

Yes. They have root position, first inversion and second inversion which we have also seen with triads and are exactly the same with the root on the bottom, the 3rd on the bottom, and the 5th on the ...
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  • 6,990
8 votes

Are inversions for making bass-lines nice and prolonging functions?

I would argue that there are other uses of inverted chords. One other important usage is for dramatic reasons. A composer may set up a clear upcoming cadence, but at the moment our V chord resolves to ...
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7 votes
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How to determine which inversion a chord is?

This is an F dominant seventh chord. The inversion is determined entirely by the lowest note, so here it would be first inversion. How I identified the chord: I recognised F-A-C as an F Major chord. ...
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  • 1,627
7 votes
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Is an inversion a different chord, or a different voicing?

It's not a different chord, and in terms of guitar I wouldn't even think of it as a different voicing. It's an inversion! That's what the term is for, to describe taking a particular chord structure ...
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  • 3,707
7 votes

What chords can be played on an accordion?

Generally, the accordion standard bass is rather uninterested in inversions, less so than even the guitar. In almost all registrations, the respective chord notes sound in several octaves ...
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7 votes
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What do you call a minor triad with a 4th in the bass?

I see three distinct possibilities based on how you are actually thinking about the chord itself: If you really just consider it an A minor chord, it might just end up being a slash chord with a non ...
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  • 46.1k
7 votes

When, if ever, are arpeggiated six-four chords really "real"?

Excellent question. I agree with you that there is no substantial difference in the treatment of the 4th in these two examples. If I were labeling the chords (which is not the same as doing an in-...
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  • 1,716
7 votes
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Interval of parallel 5ths in the resolution of a German 6th chord

You are correct that resolving the German 6th to a V results to parallel fifths (Ab + Eb -> G + D). This is one of the rare times where the parallel fifths are allowed. People refer to these specific ...
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7 votes

Does every chord have inversions?

Yes, any seventh chord has inversions. No matter what chord quality, the seventh chords are inverted the same (actually, all chord qualities are inverted the same way). It's possible to invert ninth ...
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  • 12.1k
7 votes

Why are second inversion triads considered less consonant than first inversion triads?

I consider second inversions less stable, because to me they sound less stable. Not because I made calculations and got such and such numbers. If there's people to whom second inversions give ...
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Unclassifiable second-inversion

We typically classify these chords by what their bass notes do. Thus a passing six-four is so named because the bass functions as a passing note; the same is true for the arpeggiating six-four. Your ...
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  • 78.7k
7 votes

Intervals and Inversions

The chords in the examples are not inverted. You are right when you say that inversions are determined by the lowest note. If the chords in the treble clef where by themselves then they would be ...
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6 votes

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

It is not considered a different chord. The name is still the same, the notes are still the same, they are just in a different order - so they are effectively a different voicing. They will sound ...
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  • 36.3k
6 votes
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What is this Chord Notation using Roman Numerals with super and sub script?

This is a tonic (chord I) seventh chord in second inversion. It could also be written I7c; the use of numbers is called figuring (or figured-bass). (However, it is odd to see D7/A written below it, as ...
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  • 20.9k
6 votes

Lilypond chord mode not rendering minor modifier in alternate chord

The problem is that this is not a common notation, and the meaning of the symbol "C/Em" is unclear. What Lilypond can do - as you know - is add a letter after a slash, e.g. C/E, which means that you'...
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