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Going crazy with chords


(@izaak247)
Active Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

Is all this theoritically correct

E-0
B-0
G-0
D-8
A-0
E-6
=
A# A G B E
=
1 7 b7 2 b5
=
1 2 b5 b7 7
=
A#dim2add7no3

And one more thing, how do you distinguish whether a chird is either Bmajadd4 compaired to Bmajadd11? For example in this chord

e-2
B-0
Gx
D-1
A-2
E-0

So how do you know whether this is a Bmaj/add4 or a Bmajadd/add11, I nd to invert it to make it possible to play but you understand... I heard it was something to do with octaves, So instead of playing the 4th to make it add 4 you play the 11 to make it a add 11, but in theory isent this chird...

E-5
B-5
G-6
D-7
A-7
E-5

Amajadd15? Instead of Amaj since the high E is the 15 (btw if it is in theory called that it's probably even deeper since I was only focusing on the root/ 15 , as you can see there's also another octave being the 8...)


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

You've got more than a few problems here. I'm going to break your three examples into separate posts.

First, not all fingerings are chords. This is easier to understand if you imagine the notes are being played by two instruments at the same time. If you are playing a Cadd9 chord and another guitar plays the notes C-Db-D in sequence, you wouldn't attempt to label the three events as unique chords, right? The chart would have "Cadd9" for the whole thing.

The second guitar is playing a chord tone (C), a non-chord tone (C#/Db), and a chord tone (D). The one in the middle is called a "non-harmonic tone", and it won't change the chord name.

Now let's put those notes on one guitar. If you play Cadd9, then x30020 (C-D-G-C#/Db-E, or a Cadd9 chord with the addition of C#/Db) and then Cadd9 again, the same logic would apply. You do NOT need to include every note you're fingering in a chord name, because they might not be part of the chord! (More on that in a minute)

Next, the spelling of chord tones is critical. You've got a couple of errors that mess up your thinking:

1. You cannot use two different versions of the same letter in a chord in tertian harmony (which builds chords in thirds). In your first example, if you call the sixth string A#, the fifth string can't be A. It's either Gx (G double sharp) or one of the two notes is a non-harmonic tone.
2. There's no such thing as a 15th - which you use in your third example. The 15th is the same as the 1st, so it's called a "doubling" and will not affect a chord name. I'll get to that more in the third part.

Now the specifics. Your first example: 608000. I'm going to start by assuming that none of the notes are non-harmonic tones - that's a logical error that I'll expose at the end, but I want to take you down the rabbit hole first to show you how ridiculous this line of thought can get. If the 6th string is A#, we'd get this:

A#-Gx-(A#)-Fx-B-E

If we do it enharmonically to avoid the double sharp, we have:

Bb-A-(Bb)-G-Cb-E

The second one looks easier to work with, so I'll use those names. Next we have to determine which note might be the root. We've got five possibilities:

1. Bb-Cb-E-G-A = 1-b2-#4-6-7
2. A-Bb-Cb-E-G = 1-b2-bb3-5-b7
3. G-A-Bb-Cb-E = 1-2-b3-b4-6
4. Cb-E-G-A-Bb = 1-#3-#5-#6-7
5. E-G-A-Bb-Cb = 1-b3-4-b5-bb6

Now we have to do a bit of tweaking to the note names. The second possibility has bb3 in the chord, which isn't possible. If we call it B, then we have to rename Bb as A#, which means we rename A as Gx… and Gx to B is still a bb3. So A (or Gx) can't be the root.

The third choice has b4, which can't be used in a chord formula. This has to be 3 (B), which means Bb has to be called A#, A must be Gx, and G must be Fx - but Fx to B is still b4. This one won't work.

The fourth option has #3, which can't be used; it has to be called 4 (Fb). This one is still in play, respelled as Cb-Fb-G-A-Bb = 1-4-b5-b6-7

Finally, no chords have bb6; this has to be 5 (B), which means Bb is really A#, A becomes Gx, and G becomes Fx. This gives us E-Fx-Gx-A#-B, which makes for a #3 - so this one is also out. We're down to two choices:

1. Bb-Cb-E-G-A = 1-b2-#4-6-7
2. Cb-Fb-G-A-Bb = 1-4-#5-#6-7

Next we make sense of the numbers. "2" is never proper in a chord name (I know some people are using "sus2", but that just muddies the waters). So we change 2s into 9s. 4 is only used when 3 is not present - that makes a "sus" chord, but it's always natural 4 - so in the first choice we'll change it to #11. Finally, "6" is only used when there is no "7" - since both options have 7, we'll make those 13s:

1. Bb-A-Cb-E-G = 1-7-b9-#11-13
2. Cb-Fb-G-Bb-A = 1-4-#5-7-#13

Now we can try to name them. When both 7 (in any quality) and 13 (as a natural) are present in a chord, it's a 13th chord. When 7 is natural, it's a "maj13" chord. Option #1 could be either Bbmaj13(b9#11) or Bbm/maj13(b9#11) - we don't know. We'd need some context to go any farther down this route.

When a 13 is altered, the chord name is the next lower number, and the alteration is shown after that. So this is some kind of Cb7(#13). The 4 makes it a sus; the #5 augments it: Cb7sus+(#13). We could now re-name it B7sus+(#13), which in theory would be:

B-E-Fx-A#-G. You have the root on the 2nd string, the 4 on the 1st string, the #5 on the 3rd string, the 7 on the 1st and 6thstrings, and the #13 on the 5th string.

Ok, having gone through that whole exercise, both are wrong :) Not just because they're off-the-wall names… but because there's an easier way. It's the non-harmonic tone approach.

When a non-harmonic tone must be included in a chord name AND it occurs in the bass, we can use a "slash" chord. Here we'd have your sixth string note (as either A# or Bb) in the bass, so the chord name would be "x/Bb". We ignore the doubling on the fourth string, because that's now accounted for in the chord name. T

Now we only have to deal with A-G-B-E, which is a lot easier to name.

A won't be the root, because we don't know what the third would be. G could be the root - that would be a G6/9 chord voiced without the fifth (which is common). B as the root is awkward; E as the root is Em6. So call it Em6/A# or Em6/Bb and you're done.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

Part 2 - you distinguish between labels for tones, like 4/11, based on pretty standard rules:

2 should always be 9 in a chord name. I know "sus2" labels are becoming popular. I also think they're wrong: Csus2 (CDG) is the same chord as Gsus (GCD). The fact that thousands of people are now using "sus2", even at major publishers, doesn't make it right - we don't really need another chord name for these tones.

4 is only used when 3 is not present. Csus4 is identical to saying Csus, though - another reason I hate the use of "sus2", because it means we need to make our chord symbols longer. 4 is always labeled 11 if you're doing it right.

6 is only used when 7 is not present. If 7 is in the chord, the 6 should be 13.

The goal of ANY music notation - chord names, note labels, whatever - needs to do two things: A) communicate what you want as precisely as possible, and B) be as simple as possible to read.

In your alternatives, you've got "Bmajadd4" and "Bmajadd11". The label "maj" is redundant; writing "B" will be interpreted the same as "Bmaj". So you could simply write B(add11)

But again, there's an even better way: the same idea of non-harmonic tones as in my first reply. Since the 11, E, is also the bass, why not:

B/E (pronounced "B over E")

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@noteboat)
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Posts: 4933
 

Part 3:

We never get to 15 in chord names, because it's the same as 1. The highest number ever used will be 13 (and that's only when 7 is present). Because both 8 and 15 are the same letter name as 1 in any chord, their use is called a "doubling", and it will not change the chord name.

Chord names do NOT tell you what octave a note appears in. They tell you what tones may appear in the chord - but they don't even dictate that they MUST appear (for example, x32310 is a C7 chord, but you are not playing the G note). Chord names are essentially an outline of what you CAN do, not what you must do or should do.

I've heard guitarists argue that x30010 should be called "Cadd2" to differentiate it from x32030 (Cadd9). They're wrong, and they're basing their statements on the belief that a chord name tells you WHERE to play something. If you want to specify a specific fingering, it can be done - with either tablature or standard notation (through the use of position and/or string number notation), but the chord name is the wrong tool to use.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@izaak247)
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Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 10
Topic starter  

Ur a legend thank u so much. One thing though, aren't you meant to say 'no5' when no 5 is present? I've seen that before (in a tablature somebody called a chord something than at the end of the chord name he added no5


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(@noteboat)
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You'll see all kinds of things that aren't strictly correct. If a chart says C7(no5), that's not part of standard chord notation - it's somebody's attempt to make a chord symbol do what it's not designed to do.

Fifths within chords are OPTIONAL - they support the root, but serve pretty much the same function within the chord. When you're playing extended chords (9ths, 11ths, 13ths) you've got too many choices do deal with, so some have to go - and the fifth is a good first choice when you need to drop a note.

What's really important in playing a chord is getting the idea across. A dominant 7th has tension, and that's provided by the conflict between the 3rd and the b7. At times I might just play xx23xx for a C7 chord (or the same pitches anywhere else on the fretboard) - it'll sound like C7, but I'm not about to write C7 (no root, no 5) if I have to chart out what I'm doing.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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