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Old 01-13-2013, 08:12 PM   #1
BoobsVanderbilt
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Question Why Do Chords/Open Chords Contain Certain Notes?

I am now learning more music theory, and I was curious as to why chords/open chords are called what they are and why they contain the notes that they do..

I had opened up a blank fret board and filled it in with the proper notes ( just to be 100% just I knew them ) and opened that along side a basic page of chords and tried to see if there was possibly a pattern of the root note (such as a G chord) being followed by the notes that are in the 3rd/G string's 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th fret and that might be how the chords were conceived, one or two may have contained some of these, but in the end this was not it.

So I am curious as the why certain chords contain certain notes.

For example.. Why does a (open) G chord contain a B on the 5th, D on the 2nd, and G on the 1st? Why those?
Why does a (open) D chord contain an A on the 3rd, D on the 2nd, and F# on the 1st? Why those also? Etc.
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Last edited by BoobsVanderbilt : 01-13-2013 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:15 PM   #2
food1010
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Open chords are generally considered "easier" voicings of those chords because they use open strings. That's all there is to it.

Those voicings just happen to be the most practical way to make an open chord.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:17 PM   #3
BoobsVanderbilt
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Also, I DO know why they are CALLED what they are, because of the root note. Such as the G having the root note being on a G.

Another question I have, which I tried to find out by searching on-line, but I found it pretty confusing with terminology that was used that I am not used to, was 'What makes a minor chord MINOR?'

What I read was stuff saying the middle would be flat? or something like that, I forget.. I read it and got instantly confused and I tried looking at the chart of chords with my chart of the fret board and still cannot understand what makes Minor, Minor and what makes Major, Major.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by food1010
Open chords are generally considered "easier" voicings of those chords because they use open strings. That's all there is to it.

Those voicings just happen to be the most practical way to make an open chord.



Well, what I guess I am asking is more along the lines of, let's keep it on a G chord, why is it that the following notes after the root note of G are the open notes, and then the D and G notes? Why can't it be a C on the 2nd and F on the 1st? or F on the first and C# on the 2nd... any other notes.. why those ones ?
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:28 PM   #5
Keth
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The two most common chords found in music are the the major and minor chord. The major chord is built by taking the note you want to build the chord on, then taking the note 4 half steps (frets) higher than that one, and then taking the note 3 half steps above the last one.

G G#/Ab A A#/Bb B C C#/Db D D#/Eb

G B D = G major

A minor chord is built the same way, but instead of 4 and then 3, you do 3 and then 4:

G G#/Ab A Bb B C C#/Db D D#/Eb

G Bb D = G minor

The B or Bb is called the third from the G major or G minor chord, respectively. See how that if you flatten the third from the G major chord, you get a G minor chord?

As tip, start from the beginning:
musictheory.net
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:28 PM   #6
mdc
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Cuz those notes aren't in a G chord.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:30 PM   #7
food1010
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The first thing you need to do is memorize the notes of the fretboard, or at least get to the point where you can figure them out relatively quickly.

Then you need to learn about intervals and chord construction. Then you won't have to look at chord diagrams any more.

Go to musictheory.net to learn about these things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoobsVanderbilt
Well, what I guess I am asking is more along the lines of, let's keep it on a G chord, why is it that the following notes after the root note of G are the open notes, and then the D and G notes? Why can't it be a C on the 2nd and F on the 1st? or F on the first and C# on the 2nd... any other notes.. why those ones ?
The reason G is voiced the way it is, is because it contains three specific notes in different places along the fretboard (G B and D). In the standard open chord voicing, the order is G B D G D G. You can't have a C, F or C# in that chord because then it wouldn't be a G major chord.
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Last edited by food1010 : 01-13-2013 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:17 PM   #8
BoobsVanderbilt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keth
The two most common chords found in music are the the major and minor chord. The major chord is built by taking the note you want to build the chord on, then taking the note 4 half steps (frets) higher than that one, and then taking the note 3 half steps above the last one.

G G#/Ab A A#/Bb B C C#/Db D D#/Eb

G B D = G major

A minor chord is built the same way, but instead of 4 and then 3, you do 3 and then 4:

G G#/Ab A Bb B C C#/Db D D#/Eb

G Bb D = G minor

The B or Bb is called the third from the G major or G minor chord, respectively. See how that if you flatten the third from the G major chord, you get a G minor chord?

As tip, start from the beginning:
musictheory.net


THIS helped tremendously ! Very confusing at first, but then I looked at my fretboard diagram (which I need to add in the flats.. I didn't know about those, I knew the term flat but I didn't' know what it was or where it was.. but it seems like it is just the same place as the #/sharps) but anyways, this helped so much!

It took me a while, but I tested my self by looking at what you did.. then I said "okay, well if that is how it is supposed to go then I should be able to find the notes for a D minor just like that."
So I did the same thing. D D#/Eb E [F] F#/Gb G G#/Ab [A] . I also found out while doing this that the C and F do NOT have flats because the B and E do not have sharps.. there is probably a different technical reason than what I used to figure it out, which I will read I am sure on that website you all posted, but I went by saying.. Well, every time there is a #, it has a flat after such as D#/Eb or F#/Gb . Though, since B and E don't have sharps, C and F can't have flats.

I now understand how you get the notes for the chords in minor and majors Thank you!

Now I just need to understand why it is that they don't aways go in order.
--Example: The Dm chord is 1st- F, 2nd- D, 3rd- A, 4th D. But the order I found the notes in was D, F, A .. and the way the chord is set up with the other notes, it isn't in that order.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:25 PM   #9
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The notes don't need to be in order. That's what makes harmony so interesting. If you were limited to playing the notes in order, that would limit the amount of harmonic "color" that we as musicians have to work with.

Play a C chord as CEG, then play it as CGCEGC. You should be able to hear a difference.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoobsVanderbilt
What makes a minor chord MINOR?'

The 3rd. It's all about the 3rd.
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:11 PM   #11
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Chords are constructed from scales so what notes are in a chord depend on the degrees or notes that are used from the scale. For example, a G major chord uses the first, third, and fifth notes of the G major scale, so that's G, B, and D. What makes something an open chord is just using open strings in the chord.

What makes something major or minor depends on the third. That's due to the interval pattern of the scales. The major scale interval pattern is W W H W W W H, where W is a whole step or 2 frets, and H is a half step or 1 fret. The minor pattern is W H W W H W W. When you do the math, you'll see that the third note of the minor scale is a half step lower than the third note of the major scale.
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoobsVanderbilt
THIS helped tremendously ! Very confusing at first, but then I looked at my fretboard diagram (which I need to add in the flats.. I didn't know about those, I knew the term flat but I didn't' know what it was or where it was.. but it seems like it is just the same place as the #/sharps) but anyways, this helped so much!

It took me a while, but I tested my self by looking at what you did.. then I said "okay, well if that is how it is supposed to go then I should be able to find the notes for a D minor just like that."
So I did the same thing. D D#/Eb E [F] F#/Gb G G#/Ab [A] . I also found out while doing this that the C and F do NOT have flats because the B and E do not have sharps.. there is probably a different technical reason than what I used to figure it out, which I will read I am sure on that website you all posted, but I went by saying.. Well, every time there is a #, it has a flat after such as D#/Eb or F#/Gb . Though, since B and E don't have sharps, C and F can't have flats.

I now understand how you get the notes for the chords in minor and majors Thank you!

Now I just need to understand why it is that they don't aways go in order.
--Example: The Dm chord is 1st- F, 2nd- D, 3rd- A, 4th D. But the order I found the notes in was D, F, A .. and the way the chord is set up with the other notes, it isn't in that order.

Yeah, you got it right.

But....

You can have flats on C and F but they are the same pitch as B and E. B sharp and E sharp are also the same pitch as C and F. But that's a bit more advanced stuff and you don't really need to learn it now. So let's just say that you can't have sharps on E and B and flats on C and F, for now.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:13 PM   #13
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to have a functional command of the concepts you're asking about, you're going to need to learn music theory. no way around that.
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