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# theory lesson question

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(@glee)
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Sorry if this is a copy of a thread I have read for days and don't see the answer to my question.

In the lesson Mr. Hodge gave on theory I don't understand 1 part.
Could some one help me?

Here is a copy and paste.

"Let's try a D minor 7th, okay? First, we construct our D scale. From this we'll see that for this chord we'll need D (I), F (minor III), A (V) and C (minor VII). D is sounded with, of all things, the open D string. Covering the second fret of the G string will give us the A note and if we place a finger on the first fret of the high E and B strings, then we'll have the F and C as well. Ta da!

E A D G B E

X 0 0 2 1 1 "

This last part I see the D, F, A, C notes played to make the cord, but why is the open A string played, wouldn't that change the root note to A?

I wrote the scale out and took I, minor III, V, minor VII.
This lesson helped me out a lot just don't understand last part.

Tim

Tim

(@misanthrope)
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It would change the bass note, not the root note. The root is the note that the chord is built on, and the bass is the lowest pitch note in the voicing - the root is normally used as the bass, but it doesn't have to be. A bass of any other note in the chord is an inversion.

That voicing would be Dm7/A, an inversion of Dm7.

(@glee)
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so if i only played XX0211 that too would be Dm7?

i thought the bass note and the root note were one and the same. based on the cords i know, it seems that way.

Tim

(@misanthrope)
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xx0211 is Dm7, yes. x00211 is technically not Dm7, but an inversion of it. A chord name without a slash implies that it is not an inversion, which is why the chords you know normally have the same root and bass note.

(@glee)
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Topic starter

ah i get it thank you very much

Tim

(@misanthrope)
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No problem :)

(@noteboat)
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so if i only played XX0211 that too would be Dm7?

i thought the bass note and the root note were one and the same. based on the cords i know, it seems that way.

'Beginner' chords are taught with the root note in the bass. All the open chords and the most common barre chords conform to this - it keeps things simple in the beginning. But there are a wide variety of other voicings possible, and any chord that has the required notes is properly named Dm7.

Because root position chords are learned first, lots of guitarists like to specify anything that's not in root position, like Dm7/A. That's really not neccesary - Dm7, Dm7/A and Dm7/F are all the same notes. In some contexts that will give you more information, but in most it's just wasted ink/pixels :)

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(@misanthrope)
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Because root position chords are learned first, lots of guitarists like to specify anything that's not in root position, like Dm7/A. That's really not neccesary - Dm7, Dm7/A and Dm7/F are all the same notes. In some contexts that will give you more information, but in most it's just wasted ink/pixels :)
:roll: Busted again! :wink:

(@cnev)
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Note - If it's just wasted ink how would you identify a chord like Dm7 that you wanted played as an inversion with A as the bass note?

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(@noteboat)
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cnev - why is it important?

In some cases, using the 'slash' chords to show a root note will give you information, as in a descending bass line:

Am -> Am/G -> Am/F# -> Am/E

That can be more instructive than naming the same chords

Am -> Am7 -> Am6 - Am

Because it shows the guitarist that it's the bass line moving, while the others remain stationary.

But in most cases, what people think they're conveying with the use of slash chords isn't what another guitarist might interpret. You writing Dm7/A does specify the lowest note... and you might think I'll play it x00211. But I could easily play it x05355, which will sound completely different. Or x-x-7-5-6-10. Or x-0-10-10-13-10.

If you're not trying to show a bass progression, showing a bass note really doesn't indicate how to play something. And since the whole voicing isn't indicated, a performer interpreting from your chart may do something you don't expect anyway. So if the bass line isn't important for some reason (i.e., most of the time) you might as well let them have free rein.

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(@niliov)
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Except for when the third is in the bass. I would certainly specify that to avoid unnessary thirds voiced on top of the root.

For example the second third and fourth line of "You Are Always on My Mind":

C G/B Am Am/G D/F#

The third in the bass changes the sound of the chords completely, I would certainly specify that!

(@noteboat)
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I'd agree with the use of slash chords in that song - because they show a descending bass line (C-B-A-G-F#) that wouldn't be apparent if you didn't use the slashes.

But I disagree that it's just because of the third in the bass. All inversions have their own character, and it's not just the bass note... it's also the distance between the bass and tenor voices. 2x0232 sounds different from xx0232 - but xx0232 and xx4232 aren't vastly different. At least no more so than xx0232 vs x00232 - the fifth in the bass.

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(@niliov)
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Actually I see no real use for 2x0232 or xx4232, at least not when the chord is D/F#. Because all you're doing now is clouding the function of the chord by playing a third in the bass AND in the soprano; let's say this chord is V in G and moves to I, where would the upper "f#" move to? If it moves to a "g" together with the bass you hear a really ugly octave parrallel.

Let's look at the middle part of Jacques Brel's "La chanson de vieux amants":

C- D-7b5/C G7/B C-

No descending bass line but I think the slashes are mandatory. If you would omit them it completely changes the sound of the song.

Or Piazzolla's Libertango (is the same as Grace Jones' "Strange, I've Seen that Face Before):

A- B7/A B-7b5/A A- A-/G D#dim/F# G#dim/F E7

Ok, so here we have a descending bassline but also a pedal point. Wouldn't you agree we'd have to use slashes to convey the pedal AND to avoid clouding the B7/A and B-7b5/A (so: [V]2 and II2 ; you'd do it too when using numerals)

(@kingpatzer)
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Niliov,

I don't think that Noteboat is saying that there aren't other reasons for using slash chords, such as pedal points. He gave decending bass lines as one example of when they would be usefull.

He is saying that most of the time they're not necessary, and in that he's right. The only time that notation is necessary or usefull is when the most important consideration for the guitar part of the song is what's happening in the bass.

There are lots of ways to play a slash chord and rarely is the only consideration what's happing in the lowest note.

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(@misanthrope)
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There are lots of ways to play a slash chord and rarely is the only consideration what's happing in the lowest note.
As much as I respect you guys and your seemingly unending knowledge of music, I think perhaps you could be getting carried away here... there's a lot to be said for reading D/F# and 'knowing' that you play it as "D over F#" and vice versa, without any more complication until you're ready for it.

In my experience at least (pretty average I would have thought), slash chords denote the bass note most of the time, even if only because it's a common misconception shared by whichever author wrote or transcribed the chords in question.

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