Chord Names in Parentheses?

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markyesme
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Chord Names in Parentheses?

Post by markyesme » February 3rd, 2004, 10:05 pm

Okay, I am not sure what this means, but ther is a song that has three measures with accompanying chords over each measure.  The three are:

1. F#m(D)
2. Em(A7)
3. A7(D)(A7)

What does that mean?  At first I was thinking alternate chords, because the same book has a couple of tunes with the chords notated like this, and it appears to me that they are showing the chords in two keys, because the are the same degree chords for the keys of E and A, for example.  But, the #3 chords blow a hole in that theory, what with the A7 in that second parentheses pair.  So, I am at a loss as to what the authors mean by this type of notation.

Help.
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Re: Chord Names in Parentheses?

Post by hbriem » February 4th, 2004, 2:44 am

I'm completely stumped.

Sorry, I can make no sense out of that at all.

Perhaps Noteboat or David Hodge can help.
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Re: Chord Names in Parentheses?

Post by NoteBoat » February 4th, 2004, 3:42 am

I've seen this used to indicate optional chords, often in turnarounds at the end of a section.  You'd split the measures up, playing F# for part of the measure, then D, etc.

That's probably what the copyist intends here, since the A7 returns to A7 -- you'd go A7-D-A7 for a turnaround.
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Re: Chord Names in Parentheses?

Post by markyesme » February 4th, 2004, 12:24 pm

Left up to the player to determine how to divide up the measure?

I would assume that the other examples where the parentheses-enclosed chords are throughout the song, but are the same degree as the un-parenthesized chords in a different key.  There, they are just showing you what the chords are in the other key.    Right?  I mean, if not, and you do a key-change turnaround each measure, that would probably be pretty disconcerting... Hmmmmm... maybe we can start a new trend in contemporary music composition.
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Re: Chord Names in Parentheses?

Post by NoteBoat » February 4th, 2004, 1:18 pm

Since they're optional, it's up to you how to divide it up.  Use your ears and you'll do fine.

They're not just 'other chords in the key'... there are far too many chords in the same key to try to list them... but they are chords that will harmonize the melody well.

As I mentioned, you'll see optional chords for turnarounds.  For example, a blues tune in E may have this for the last two measures:

E ----  E (B7)
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Re: Chord Names in Parentheses?

Post by markyesme » February 5th, 2004, 1:05 am

What I meant was, that there are other lead sheets that have the melody line (with corresponding lyrics underneath) and chords above.  Let's say that a given song is in G and the first three measures have a G for the first measure, a C for the second measure and an Em for the next measure.  The chords listed for that tune might be:

G(E)
C(A)
Em(C#m)

This convention is used throughout the tune.  Always giving the chord in the key of E that corresponds with the chord in G.

Clear as mud now?  I don't think they want me to divide each of those measures up playing chords from different keys.
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Re: Chord Names in Parentheses?

Post by NoteBoat » February 5th, 2004, 3:25 am

Ok, that might be a bit clearer.... but I hope the two examples you gave are talking about two different tunes in the book!

The first set is pretty clearly optional chords.  They're chords of different types - Em (A7) - A7 (D) (A7), and my previous post applies -- use your ears to figure out when, or even if, you use them.

The second set is all the same chord type, and the chord in parenthesis is always a minor third below the 'real' chord.  I'm guessing the transcription is transposed -- that on the album, the first chord is E, but here you're playing it as G.  I also note that the C#m chord needs a barre if you want to play the 5th string root, but the Em is an open chord.  My guess is that the key here has been changed to allow you to play the same progression in open chords, but the copyist is also showing you the original key.  I've seen that done before.... but I've never seen both uses of parenthesis in the same book - how confusing!

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Re: Chord Names in Parentheses?

Post by markyesme » February 5th, 2004, 8:15 am

Ok, that might be a bit clearer.... but I hope the two examples you gave are talking about two different tunes in the book!
Yeah.  Just, that when I was trying to figure out what it meant, I looked at all the songs in the book where this convention was used.  I noticed almost immediately that they were using a similar convention to say two different things.

Thanks for all your help.
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