45

The reason there are multiple names for notes is that the same note may function differently in different contexts. If you just play a single note with no context, then it could have a multitude of different names. For example if you played the note in between F and G you could call it F# or Gb or more obscurely E## or Abbb. They are all valid names and are ...


40

This is a common misconception about what inversions are. Inversions only consider what the bass (lowest) note is. If the bass note of a chord is the root of the chord, then it is in root position, regardless of how the chord notes are distributed among the upper (non-bass) parts. Similarly, if the lowest note of a chord is the third of the chord, then it is ...


30

Just to expand on Pat's answer, there is a figured bass symbols for all type of inversion including root position. The picture above shows the complete figured bass symbol and how it will be denoted in analysis. As you can see root position triads and 7th chords have their own complete figured bass symbols, but reduce drastically because how common they ...


28

This chord progression is common enough to have a Wikipedia page: I–V–vi–IV progression The 'axis of awesome' video you refer to is talking specifically about those chords in that particular order - I–V–vi–IV - which is a feature of many prominent pop hits. (I'm sure you're aware of this, but for any other readers: just because this is one common chord ...


28

No, and for at least three reasons: Assuming "chord" to be a tonal entity, we can explain anything as having alterations, omissions, and extensions. With add11, ♭13, no5, etc., we can make sense of any combination of tones. We can understand harmonies as combinations of chords; such polychords allow any and all possibilities. We have systems of ...


27

From my experience, there is no one 'best' term for two notes played together that is universally (or near-universally) agreed-on. dyad is the most specific term for a pair of pitches sounding together, but it's not commonly-used. interval works for many, but others will say that is a term for the distance between the notes, rather than something that ...


27

The 'add' modifier is used if a note above the 7th is added to a triad, and if the lower tensions are not part of the chord. That's why there's a difference between a C9 and a C(add9) chord. The first has a (flat) 7th, the other one doesn't: C9 = C E G Bb D C(add9) = C E G D Another usage is to add notes that would otherwise replace another note, as is ...


26

To be clear: "sus" does not equal "add" - they are two different types of notation used for different purposes: Sus chords show a substitution of a pitch within a chord - whether it is sus2, sus9, etc etc, and typically illustrate the function of a moving line. A suspension is just one of three parts for controlling dissonance: preparation (sometimes ...


26

F is a perfect fifth from the root, but obviously in the other direction, so it's a bit like "moving the goalposts." If you're measuring G as up a perfect fifth from C, you have to measure F up from C as well, otherwise your system lacks consistency. That said: you're homing in on the concept of harmonic dualism. This is a nineteenth-century German idea, ...


25

When a 13th is written in a chord name, this always refers to the major 13th, which is the same as a major 6th - in this case an A natural. This is one of the conventions of how chords symbols are written. It may seem a little odd that the 6th or 13th of a minor chord is major, but there are a number of situations like this. For instance, 7ths are always ...


25

We do! It's just that that book doesn't...yet. We build seventh chords on all scale degrees; the seventh chord on scale-degree 3 in major, for instance, is a minor seventh. But beginning musicians, especially those in the popular genres, get the most bang for their buck with seventh chords on scale-degrees 2 and 5 so that they can create that nice circle-...


25

You have probably mixed up several different meanings and contexts for the words. When someone says "major sixth", they're not necessarily talking about chords at all, so there might not be any "root" to begin with. A note is not minor or major, but the interval between a note and some other note can be minor or major. (or a few other things as well) https:...


24

It depends on the setting (what other instruments?), but generally speaking, you'd consider, in order, Sacrificing the pure fifth. As soon as any instrument plays the root, the fifth will be very present as its third overtone, so whether you actually play the fifth makes very little difference to the overall sound. Eliminating any duplicate roots. Basically ...


23

Let's take Tim's major scale as a starting point and build diagrams from there. This will get heavy beyond 7 chords, but they're intermediate/advanced so I may need correcting by some jazz experts! taking 1 as the Root of the major scale, and each number representing the degree of the major scale. so 1 3 5 = the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the major scale. b=...


22

There does exist what we call "rootless" voicings in harmony. These are chords in which the root is implied by the upper harmonies. Typically, the 3rd and the 7th are the primary indicators of chord quality, and the 5th is secondary. Rootless voicings are most commonly used in settings where an instrument such as piano or guitar is providing harmonic support ...


22

Yes they exist. I don't know all of them of the top of my head, but I'll give you the three that come to mind easily. The first is a fully diminished chord. Because there are only 12 named notes and a fully diminished chord is made of 4 notes that are a minor 3rd apart from each other (3 semitones) there are only 3 different chords but each can be named 4 ...


20

It would be a G9sus4. It could technically also be F6/9/G but that would look very confusing on a lead sheet. When naming a chord you have to look at what you have and what you are missing. You have the notes G F A C D. While there is an F major triad, having a G as the bass doesn't make it feel like a chord based off F major because it is rare to put a 2nd/...


20

Yes, right from our Harmony 101 class in 4-voice vocal writing we're taught that close intervals between the bass and tenor voices low in their ranges are to be avoided (as are over-wide intervals between the upper voices). Close chords in the low register sound muddy. 'Colour' notes - 7ths, 9ths, even 3rds work better in the upper range. A minor 2nd ...


19

I really think the answer to this question has most to do with how music is composed. Tonal composers are not really thinking at all about the math behind the intervals; they're thinking about the sounds. Another way of looking at this is that all tonal music is scale-based, and when playing a scale from bottom to top you number the notes starting from 1. ...


19

I'd call it a Cadd#9 and there's a few reasons why. First of all if you think about the chord in terms of extensions a #9 is rather common and if you added a Bb to the chord you described people would hands down call that a C7#9 which is a common altered dominant chord. Second in general when naming chords we typically like to compare the notes to the ...


19

Cdim7 and Cm7♭5 are not the same chord. Both are built from diminished triads, but a Cdim7 has a diminished 7th (C E♭ G♭ B𝄫, sometimes incorrectly spelled C E♭ G♭ A for convenience), while a Cm7♭5 has a minor 7th: (C E♭ G♭ B♭). The Cm7♭5 chord does have another name, though. It is often called a half-diminished C chord, or C∅. As for why there are two ...


19

CMaj7 always has the notes C E G B regardless of the context around it. In general terms, any major 7th chord contains a root, Major 3rd, Perfect 5th, and Major 7th. It is naturally built in the C major scale by building a chord starting on C in 3rds, but it does not stop you from using it elsewhere even when the notes are not naturally found in the key/...


19

I think the confusion here is that it doesn't matter what order the notes are in. Think of a piano for second...you can pick any D, any F# and any A anywhere on the piano regardless of what order or how much space is in between the notes and you will still have a D major triad. You can also pick 2 or 3 of any notes and you would still have a D triad. Same ...


19

You've expressed an accurate sense of why there is a theory advantage with the piano, but since you also very clearly are drawn to the bass, a couple of comments: Particularly if you play jazz or popular music, you will by necessity learn a huge amount about chords and scales and how they relate, because this is the essence of bass's harmonic role in a band....


18

A chord does not have to be made up of thirds. A chord is by definition two or more notes heard as if sounded simultaneously. Not all chords have three notes either. There are dyads (two notes), triads (three), tetrachords (four), pentachords (five), and hexachords (six). There's no limit on the number of notes, and also, by definition, there's no limits on ...


18

Why? It sounds good. Music would sound boring after a while if all you played were the notes in the scale. I would be hard-pressed to find music that doesn't have notes outside of the scale--scales are just the basis for melodies, and the home base from which you can stray in creative ways. In this particular context (and your chords would be better ...


18

Dominant is the fifth chord of a scale. For example in the C Major scale,the G chord is called Dominant. The 7th of G is F natural. So the G7 chord would be G B D F, but if you wanted to have maj7 it would be G B D F#, but the C Major scale does not include F#. The C7 would be in the F Major scale. The key to F Major scale is Bb, and the Dominant chord ...


18

Another way of looking at the question is this: we have a number of seventh chords, dominant, major, minor, diminished, and so on. So why does the dominant seventh get the "default" symbol of C7 whereas we have to qualify the others as CMaj7, CMin7, etc.? The answer is that even though a C major seventh chord would fit more "naturally" in the C major scale, ...


18

An interval is the difference between two pitches regardless of whether they are played together or one at a time. A chord is a combination of notes played simultaneously. Just to confuse matters, some sources define a chord as having three or more notes (personally I call two notes a chord).


18

Here's the basic theory behind power chords according to Wikipedia: When two or more notes are played through a distortion process that non-linearly transforms the audio signal, additional partials are generated at the sums and differences of the frequencies of the harmonics of those notes (intermodulation distortion). When a typical chord containing such ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible