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Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by JeradP, Jan 23, 2011.
This should be a sticky.
Shameless bump, because some folks are asking questions answered in this thread.
Glad you did. I am learning a lot.
I am turning this one back up. I am an alright player. I used to support myself playing music. I had figured out some theory, but really I had just enough information to be a danger to myself. This thread answered a lot of things that had me chasing my tail, as well as pointing me in new directions. Thanks jbmando!
There are a lot of guys on this forum who know a lot more about music than I do. I am almost entirely self-taught about this stuff and I sometimes use the wrong terminology, but I just know that if a guitar player learns just the basic information about theory that I put in this thread, he or she will start becoming a more complete player and their enjoyment of the instrument will vastly increase.
It's true. Whenever I play out or even just jam with people, I think that the stuff jbmando posted in this thread is the MINIMUM that they should know. But out of the 2 bands that I'm in, one member fits that qualification. This guy.
If you learn the info, not only will your life get better, but so will many others'.
And sometimes its not just the information itself, but the perpective that is shared that makes the information exciting, or relevant. I have books and notes and scribblings of all this stuff, but it wasn't until this thread came along that I was able to carry through with applying it in any significant manner. In just a couple months, I got it! MY lap steel isn't collecting dust , and C6 is not a boring tuning anymore.
Tele, that is cool. I was hoping I could put it in a way that someone could actually make use of it. I'm glad you could.
Folks, (tele-rain in particular,) I haven't forgotten that I said I would make a video of this stuff, but I tried a couple and they were pretty bad. I'm still developing an idea for a video version of this material. Thanks for your patience.
Now I don't like to intrude on someone else's thread with my stuff, (he said, intruding on someone else's thread with his stuff), but in between this thread being started and now recently revived, I did a little YouTube series on playing doublestop melodies, showing some of the positions for playing them, with major, dominant, and minor scales.
Leon, just subscribed. Really enjoyed your approach in explaining it. Thanks.
And to be even more pedantic, that Bb is not scalar in C. But, if you look at G7, you get G B D F, which is scalar in C (but not in G). And G is the fifth note of the C major scale, which is also called the dominant, hence 'dominant 7th'. It's also useful to know that the dominant 7th of the fifth note of a scale very often moves to the major chord of the first note of the major scale.
So that's why you very often see G7 -> C in C major a lot.
And them my silly side kicks in, and says that power chords are double stops, mostly. (But yeah, any 2 notes at the same time.)
I thought I should do a post on naming chords. As we already learned upthread, the first three notes of a chord (aka the triad) are the Root, third and fifth. These notes are found by looking at the major scale, so in a Cmajor scale: C D E F G A B C, all white keys on a piano, each letter represents a number degree of the scale: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 (the 1 repeats - instead of calling it 8 because it's the same note as the 1, only an octave higher. However, when continuing into the next octave, to distinguish from the notes in the first octave, we use 9 11 and 13 instead of 2 4 and 6. Following are the generally accepted (at least here on the TTTT Forum at TDPRI!) Thus, using the C scale:
Notice we don't don't use 10, 12 or 14 for E, G or B. If those notes occur in a chord in a higher octave they are are still called the same name as they were in the initial octave the chord starts in.
Now, when do you say 9th, 11th or 13th instead of 2nd, 4th or 6th? Why do we see chord names like C2, Csus2, C(4), Cadd4, Csus4, C5, C6, C6/9, C6add9, C7, Cmaj7, Cm7, Cm7b5, C9, Cadd9, C11, C13, Cdim7, Caug, C7(no 3rd)? And there are a few more common or not-so-common chord names we'll run into.
First and most importantly, EVERY CHORD IS NAMED BASED ON THE NOTES OF THE CHORD'S ROOT'S MAJOR SCALE. This is true whether the chord is major, minor, diminished or augmented. For a C7#9, you start with a C major triad, add the lowered (flatted) 7th from the major scale, and add the raised (sharped) 9th from the major scale. We saw earlier in this thread that when a chord if simply _7, in this case, C7, the natural 7th is lowered by half a step, or a semitone - one fret on the guitar. In the C major scale, the B is natural, but in a C7 chord,the B is flat, or Bb - C E G Bb. So, in a C7#9 chord, the chord is major, the 7th is flatted and the 9 is raised - C E G Bb D#. As to when you see just 9th, 11th or 13th chord, these chords are dominant 7th chords with extensions, so they will automatically contain the flatted or dominant 7th. C9 = C E G Bb D; C11 = C E G Bb D F; C13 = C E G Bb D A. The 9th may be omitted in an 11th or a 13th chord. The 11th is omitted in a 13th chord. Why we say 7#9 is because the 9th is altered, we want to be sure to include the b7 in the chord.
Here's how to construct the most common chords found in guitar music:
2 chord - Triad plus the second degree. This chord is also known as the add9, because the 7th is omitted. Were it called, for example, C9, that would make it a dominant 7th, a different sound and function from the add9.
sus2 means suspend the 2, or substitute the 2 for the 3. This is not the same as the 2 or add9 because the 2/add9 contain the 3rd. The sus2 does not.
sus4 means suspend the 4, or substitute the 4 for the 3. Ex.: C F G spells a Csus4. (4) AKA add4 means play the triad and add the 4 - C E F G.
5 chord is the designation for a chord with no third, ex: C5= CG. This is also known as the power chord, but sometimes an arranger wants a fuller, multiple root/multiple 5th chord which isn't functioning as a rock-type power chord. For example, the chord XX0235 could be called a D5 or a D(no 3rd)
6 chord is the triad with an added 6th. C6 = C E G A.
6/9, AKA 6add9, is a triad with the 6 and 9 added. C6/9 = C E G A D
To be continued...
7th chords have already been discussed earlier in this thread in post #16, so I won't reiterate that here.
I explained 9th, 11th and 13th chords in the last post.
Dim7 chords flat the third, fifth and 7th. Cdim7 = C Eb Gb Bbb (B double flat. Sounds like an A) Remember, we said that in a normal 7th chord, the 7th in the major scale is lowered a semitone. In order to play a diminished 7th, we must lower the already lowered 7th by one semitone. Since theory requires chord note names to based on the rules of scale note naming, specifically, in the C major scale, the 7th has to be a B of some sort. Therefore we have to call the 7th in a Cdim7 chord Bbb. Notice that the dim7 chord is a series of minor thirds stacked up. If you continue to add minor third after minor third to any dim7 chord, the enharmonic notes - notes which have the same pitch but different names - would repeat. The next note after the Bbb is Dbb, which sounds like C, so there are only 4 different pitches in each dim7 chord, and any of the notes or their enharmonic equivalents will name the chord. This means that a Cdim7 = Ebdim7 = D#dim7 = Gbdim7 = F#dim7 = Bbb/Adim7. Since the note called B# sounds like C, it is also included in the dim7 list. You can carry it to ridiculous lengths with double and triple sharps and flats, and there may be a theoretically correct need to use them, but in practice, we guitar players name notes in the easiest and/or most common way. We might say that a Gbdim7 is spelled Gb A C just to be able to communicate it with various levels of musician, even though we would correctly say Gb Bbb Dbb. It can get out of hand sometimes if we let it.
The m7b5 chord, AKA the half-diminished chord, is a major triad with a normal b7 in which you flat the third and the fifth, producing a diminished triad with a non-diminished 7th. Cm7b5 = C Eb Gb Bb. This is the 7th chord formed by the diatonic notes of the major scale's 7th degree. In the C major scale, the B triad would be B D F. Adding the 7th would result with B D F A. In order to name this chord, as stated above, we base the note names on the B major scale = B C# D# E F# G# A# B. So the B major triad is B D# F# and in order to make it diminished, we lower the third and the 5th = B D F; add the flat seven from B major, or, A natural and you get the Bm7b5. To repeat: the m7b5 is the extended 7th chord which is diatonic to a key signature. In Roman chord naming, it is usually designated as vii°. (You can do a degree sign on a windows computer by Alt+0176.)
To be continued...
Aug, #5, or "+" chords are next. For an augmented chord, raise the 5th a semitone. Caug, AKA C+, AKA C(#5) [< because if we wrote C#5 it could be mistaken for a C# 5 chord] would be C E G#. We usually call it augmented and write it as +. #5 is usually reserved for altered dominants in jazz, for instance. So, we would say Caug for a C E G# chord, but C7#5 for a chord serving as a dominant and spelled C E G# Bb. As an example, 8x899x would be C7#5.
An example of a song using an augmented chord is "Laughing" by the Guess Who. The second chord, played over the word, "cry" in the first line, is Aaug (A+). The second chord of "Baby Hold On" by Eddie Money is the augmented chord of the tonic. If you do it in D, it's D D+ D D+...etc.
The chord name should tell you what you have to do to the triad or extended chord in order to play it. C7(no3rd) would be CGBb. x353xx will get you there. To play F#m7b9, for example, start with an F#major chord. Flat the 3rd. This makes it minor. Then add the b7. This makes it "7". Then add the b9. Here are the notes: F#, A natural, C#, E natural, G natural. These are, in order, root, minor third, fifth, flat 7, flat 9. Any chord symbol you come across in music can be figured out this way. Just remember when you see the word "major" in a chord name, it USUALLY means that the chord includes the major (scalar) seventh. For example, Dmaj9 means that it a Dmaj7 with the 9th added. It would be spelled D F# A C# E. If you want the major 7th in a minor chord, you have to call it a "minor major 7th." DmMaj7 would be spelled D F A C#. The walk down in "Summer Rain" by Johnny Rivers employs the minor major 7th. The second chord would be the minor major 7th of your first minor chord. In Am, it's AmMaj7. xx655x is how I play it.
To be continued...
Does anyone have anything to add, or any questions?
Thank you jbmando!!!!
Even though I kind of know most of this, this is an excellent and precise reference. It shall be printed and laid amongst my practice stuff!
I found this reference chart that is a nice visual representation of some (not all) of these chords. I can't take credit for this chart (I probably found it here on TDPRI a long time ago). It looks correct, but I'm not the expert.
| Major | 1 | | 3 | | 5 | |
| Minor | 1 | ♭3 | | | 5 | |
| Diminished | 1 | ♭3 | | ♭5 | | |
| Augmented | 1 | | 3 | | | ♯5 |
| Major 7th | 1 | | 3 | | 5 | | | | 7 |
| Minor 7th | 1 | ♭3 | | | 5 | | | ♭7 | |
| Augmented 7th | 1 | | 3 | | | ♯5 | | ♭7 | |
| Diminished 7th | 1 | ♭3 | | ♭5 | | | 6 | | |
| Dominant 7th | 1 | | 3 | | 5 | | | ♭7 | |
| Minor 7th - b5 | 1 | ♭3 | | ♭5 | | | | ♭7 | |
My pleasure, Doug. I get re-educated on this stuff when I do a post like this. I enjoy doing these posts, but it is a little pressure to make sure I get it right.