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Chord categories?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Hari Seldon, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. Hari Seldon

    Hari Seldon Tele-Meister

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    I hope that's not a stupid question.

    We have open chords (or cowboy chords or whatever) that use open strings.
    We have barre chords that make use of one finger stopping multiple strings.

    And then we have the endless number of chords that use three or four strings.
    These are the standard in Jazz or any more sophisticated guitar playing.

    How are these called? Is there a name for that category at all?
    In fact the first two kinds (open, barre) are viewed as the "normal" chords, since they are what most players always or only use. But in a sense these are the exceptions, because they are limited musically.

    Do we call the third kind "Jazz chords"? Or ist there a better denotation?
    I think it shouldn't be limited to a certain musical genre.
     
  2. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    "Chords" is what they are called. Basic three and four note chords, of various inversions.

    The chords you are talking about as the "first" and "second" types of chords are more complex than the three or four string ones. Those three note chords are really the foundational chords on the guitar. Using these un-barred chords is actually more basic than using five and six string chords, not more complex.

    Bar chords are simply ways to move these simple formations into different positions on the neck. To "transpose" them and expand them – invert them differently, more fully, by doubling certain notes, adding them as octaves of the basic three-note foundation of the chord. All "full guitar chords" are based on these simpler ones that you are calling more complex. You have it all backwards.

    If the three are missing part of the triad, but the chord is somehow implied anyhow, they are called partial chords. The most common example on guitar is probably a 7th chord without the 5 in it: just 1-3-b7 – the classic "triangle" shape, using the 1st through 3rd fingers, that everyone learns in their first rock-n-roll or blues guitar lesson as a "cheater 7th."

    I think of "jazz chords" as being chords that use [often dissonant] additions, suspensions, diminished chords, augmented chords, etc. Not simply chords that don't use bars. Those are just...chords – the foundation of the entire instrument, as a part of the rhythm section. Full bars and "cowboy chords" are modifications to them – not the other way around.

    Bottom line, I would call them "simple chords," if I had to name them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
  3. Warren Pederson

    Warren Pederson Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Movable chords?
     
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  4. jamesepowell

    jamesepowell Tele-Holic

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    It's not a stupid question. It's a lot of information and we humans like our information organized & categorized.
     
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  5. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    The Barre is a Classical guitar technique. It means you're holding down more than one string with one finger. One of the things you can do with the barre technique is finger chords that are recognizable from 1st position chords.

    Three notes played simultaneously, if they include the 1, 3, and 5 tones of the scale of the chord, are Triads. Add a note to the triad, you have a proper "chord". You can fit as many notes into a chord as your fingers allow, or just pick the most important notes and leave out what you don't need. A two note chord is a partial chord, as is a three note chord that is not a Triad.
     
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  6. Blister

    Blister Tele-Meister

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    Good stuff thank you everyone
     
  7. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    There's no such thing as a two note chord, even if the two notes are contained in a chord, two notes is still an interval, not a chord. Chords that don't use all the strings can be called inside chords, or outside chords, as explained in this article. And a triad is a chord, just not an extended chord. A chord doesn't have to be an extended chord with a 7, 9, 11, or 13, or other additional note, to be a "proper chord", whatever that means. Triads are the most basic chords that make the foundation of modern harmony, and any chord with more than three notes is an extension of a triad, or in the case of the guitar, or any other chordal instrument, it could be a triad, or an extended chord, with more than one of the same note.
    https://dummies.com/art-center/music/guitar/supporting-the-melody-rhythm-comping-on-the-guitar/
     
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  8. richiek65

    richiek65 Friend of Leo's

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    Pretty sure I've heard those more complex chords called extended chords?
     
  9. Hari Seldon

    Hari Seldon Tele-Meister

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    The question here is not about harmonic complexity, but about chord shapes on the guitar.

    1. open chords: easy, but limited
    2. barre chords: difficult for beginners, unlimited keys, but limited in matters of voicings/sounds etc.
    3. Those chords that use 3-5 strings and are unlimited in key and sound

    If we compare it to a piano, nobody would ever use 1. and 2.
    You just play the notes you want to sound, not those the instrument offers for convenience.

    A chord shape is nothing musical, it's a shortcut or a tool. Those 3. category chords are those that use the right notes, not the easy fingers.

    To put it differently, what do I tell my student?
    First you learn the open chords, they are easy and you can play a million campfire songs.
    Then there are the barre chords, when your fingers are ready.
    And now, when it comes to Jazz or advanced pop/rock, how do I call these chords?
    Call them "you can play everthing with these because you don't use preset shapes but musical based voicings instead"-chords?
     
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  10. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    well your open chords are the same chords as the BARR chords, the NUT is the BARR rather than your finger.

    Lets take the E chord at the 1st fret, the so called E COWBOY chord. I believe Mel Bay calls this FORM 1. I know I do.

    Now go up to the the 5th fret and play the A BARR chord, its the exact same form, FORM 1. Your finger replaced the NUT.

    Lets play the C chord , the standard COWBOY chord. Mel Bay calls this FORM III, or at least I do . Move it up 2 frets, BARR across the 2nd fret with your first finger, its your basic D chord, but this is the true form, root on the 5th string 5th fret, the D note. Most players will play this D chord at the 2nd fret with 3 fingers and an open D string. Its still FORM III.

    Cowboy Chords are the same chords but use the NUT as the BARR instead of your finger.
     
  11. eclipse

    eclipse Tele-Meister

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  12. Hari Seldon

    Hari Seldon Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for you explanation. I guess I must excuse, in case I didn't express myself more clearly.
    I'm a composer, arranger and music teacher since, well, long enough. Didin't ask for a beginners lesson.
    It's not about cowboy chords, its about how we call those that are none.
     
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  13. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    Wut, now?
     
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  14. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Again...you are thinking about this backwards.

    Your "#3 chords" are the basis of your "#1 chords" and your "#2 chords." Those "#3 chords" of yours, built up, and moved around, are your "#1 chords" and "#2 chords." They are not different things. They are all the same, fundamentally. You are just adding or omitting as desired.

    Work from the fundamentals up, not backwards. The open chords and full bars are not your starting points for building chord formations; they are the obvious/logical simple expansions of your starting points. All basic chord fingering starts with a simple triad. Anything else is an add-on. You need to grasp basic chord construction first. 1-3-5. How do you play 1-3-5 on three contiguous strings, with the 1 being moved around on the first three strings? That is the fundamental, stripped down basis of all chord formation on the guitar.

    Like so (with the 1 on the 2nd fret in all examples):

    1) How do you play a 1-3-5 when the 1 is on the 1st string?

    Answer: The 1 is on the 1st, the 5 is on the 2nd, and the 3 is on the 3rd.

    chart-2021-01-21-20-18.png

    2) How do you play a 1-3-5 when the 1 is on the 2nd string?

    Answer: The 3 is on the 1st, the 1 is on the 2nd, and the 5 is on the 3rd.

    chart-2021-01-21-18-51.png

    3) How do you play a 1-3-5 when the 1 is on the 3rd string?

    Answer: The 3 is on the 2nd, the 1 is on the 3rd, and the 5 is on the 4th.

    chart-2021-01-21-19-50.png

    Those are your three fundamental major chord shapes on the guitar. Every full major chord on the guitar is rooted in those three basic formations.

    Note: In the above three diagrams, the only thing being illustrated is the relationship of the 1, 3, and 5 to each other. The diagrams are not intended to indicate any specific fret on the guitar.


    E.g.

    – Full open E is 1) up high, plus a lower 1, 5, and 1. Fundamental triad shape 1) overlays.

    chart-2021-01-21-23-14.png

    – Open F is based on 1) as well. It's 1) plus a lower 1, and optionally, a lower 5. Fundamental triad shape 1) overlays.

    chart-2021-01-21-23-44.png

    – Full F (low octave) is bar E formation. Same upper triad pattern. Fundamental triad shape 1) overlays.

    All of this is rooted in that simple triad shape when the 1 is on the 1st string. Look at the patterns. They match the fundamental 1-3-5 shape when the 1 is on the 1st string. These fuller chords are expanded from that fundament, not the other way around.

    – Open D is 2) plus a low 1, and optionally, a low 5 and/or a low 3 (thumb over). Fundamental triad shape 2) overlays.

    chart-2021-01-21-37-30.png

    – Open C is based on 2) as well. It is the same formation, plus a low 3 and a low 1, and optionally, a low 5 (or a low 3 instead). Fundamental triad shape 2) overlays.

    chart-2021-01-21-30-24.png

    Both rooted in that fundamental triad shape when the 1 is on the 2nd string.

    – Open A is 3) plus a high 5 and a low 1, and optionally, a lower 5. Fundamental triad shape 3) overlays.

    chart-2021-01-21-34-02.png

    – Open G is based on 3) as well. The most common variant of full open G is 3) plus a high 1, and a low 3, and a low 1. Fundamental triad shape 3) overlays.

    chart-2021-01-21-34-21.png

    – Bar A formation is just open A moved around via a 5 or 6 string bar.

    All of this is rooted in that simple triad shape when the 1 is on the 3rd string.

    So, there you go. Three simple major triad shapes are the foundation for every major chord on the guitar. You can do the same deal with minors as well.

    In terms of where the notes in the chords are located on the fingerboard, open chords and full bars are the same thing. Open chords are just full bars that you don't actually have to bar manually, because the guitar is always barring for you at the "0 fret" (i.e. the nut).

    None of this is talking about fingering, per se. It's just talking about where the chord intervals are located on the fingerboard. You finger 'em however you feel is best. But in terms of forming basic chords, they're all variants of the three fundamental shapes explained above. Everything is built from either a 1st string rooted chord, a 2nd string rooted chord, or a 3rd string rooted chord.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  15. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Friend of Leo's

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    They could be simple triads (or movable triad chords).

    They could also be shell-chords: usually root-third-(fifth) with sixth or seventh, to which you can then add extensions.
     
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  16. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    The following are pretty typical voicings. I don't see how a categorical name based on the description of a shape helps a student sort chords out. We're limited by our hand shape and instrument tuning. What is the short cut here?

    The geometric diagram just visualizes notes on the staff. I'm not clear on how categories based on appearances simplify or clarify chords.

    Wouldn't a simple explanation of the steps of a scale described as an arpeggio ... 1, b3, b5, bb7 ... now pick an inversion your hand can reach that puts the leading tone where you want it, or the bass note where you need it ... wouldn't that make more sense than categorical names based on visual similarities?

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. kbold

    kbold Tele-Afflicted

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    OK .... I think I see what you're getting at:
    So a student starts of with open chords (triads) with simple extensions e.g. G7, Em7 etc etc
    When familiar, progresses to barre chords, which are 'movable open chords for a wider palate of chords (flat, sharps, etc)
    When familiar, progresses to 3 or 4 (or 5) string chords (across different string groups) with further extensions and inversions.

    These 3 string chords are called 'shell chords': 4 (or more) string chords are called Jazz chords.

    Edit: Oh and Hari, being German you could create your own noun:
    das Extendedoderjazzychordmitoderohneinversions
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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  18. Hari Seldon

    Hari Seldon Tele-Meister

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    I think that settles it.
    I was thinking "Jazz chords" but these are not limited to Jazz, that's why I was looking for something else. But Jazz chords will work as a start, for example in a lesson. Thanks (and luckily we don't really use such Bandwurmwörter in real life ;- )
     
  19. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    They all are chords. If the notes go beyond the 1/3/5 formation, they are extensions. If the intervals are not played ‘in order’....as 3/5/1 rather than 1/3/5...they are inversions.
    and....’four (or more) string chords are not necessarily ‘jazz’——?extension?... chords as evidenced by an example
    above...x,x,3,2,1,1 is an F chord across four strings that does not have an extension beyond the 1/3/5 but simply has an octave of the root added....1/3/5/8.
    and...many times chords do not contain the root. Guitarists many times act like the right hand of a pianist....they play the parts of the chord other than the root and let the bass player work the root in. Bass players like it when the guitarist does not get in their way! Lol...
     
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  20. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

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    if you're looking for what people call "jazz chords," you might have an easier time looking for "drop 2" or "drop 3" voicings. in a general theory context, you would probably hear them referred to as drop 2 or drop 3 (dropping the second or third note from the top down an octave).

    this is a good display of the different inversions for drop 2 and drop 3:

    https://www.jazzguitar.be/blog/chord-inversions/
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2021
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