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Old 11-13-2012, 02:31 AM   #1
Unreal T
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How to know proper name for a chord?

In a composition, how do you know whether to call a chord by its root note or by a different name such as its inverted name or any of its possible different names etc.?

Do you just call it by whatever implied melody is? For instance if the melody note is A and you play a root position D5 chord should you call it a D5 or an A4?
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:17 AM   #2
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you always identify a chord by its root note. Not necessarily its bass note. D5
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:25 AM   #3
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You look at the notes that are in the chord and see what fits.

the root of the chord is the most prominant sound in the chord. When determining the chord look for notes that make up a basic triad (notes that form a third and fifth relationship against another note in the chord). This relationship will be the best tell of what the root of the chord will be. Note that relationship does not have to be voiced in order from bottom up.

The bass note will also have a prominant sound within the chord but if the other notes make up that root third and fifth relationship then it will be some kind of inversion or a chord over a different bass note.

The presence of a perfect fifth within a chord will reinforce the lower note. So the D5 chord with an A on top is still a D5 chord because the A will reinforce the D making it the more prominant sound of the diad.

Octaves and doubling will also reinforce the sound of a particular note within a chord - but the items listed above will give you a stronger sense of the chords overall sound.

Another factor is the context within which you find a chord. The chords before and after a particular chord can affect how that chord is heard.

One method is to simply write out the notes of the chord you want to name. Write out the letter names of the notes in the chord starting with the bass note and write the notes from lowest to highest as if the chord were voiced within a single octave. Then look for any perfect fifth relationships, look for any triads.

The melody note will not tell you the root of the chord. The melody can be any of the notes within the chord - or sometimes notes that are not even found in the chord.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:27 AM   #4
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I look carefully the notes that the chord has.

In your example, I will call it D5.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:14 AM   #5
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it's based first on the notes that the chord contains, second based on context, because function is extremely important to consider. there are times when D F A B will be a Dm6 chord, other times it will function as a Bm7b5 in first inversion.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unreal T
In a composition, how do you know whether to call a chord by its root note or by a different name such as its inverted name or any of its possible different names etc.?

Do you just call it by whatever implied melody is? For instance if the melody note is A and you play a root position D5 chord should you call it a D5 or an A4?



This actually depends.

Classically a chord is defined by three notes, its root, 3rd and 5th. The Fifth is a perfect harmony, thus doesn't transfer major or minor, the 3rd on the other had isn't. So the 3rd names the chord on the major or minor component (Think of the difference in the a string root bar shaped 7th chords, the third is the note you change between a major and minor 7th).

So you may note that classically a power chord actually isn't a chord, and there are instructors that will yell at you for calling it such. The reason? No third, no chord.

This is also why you can add the G on the 6th sting to a standard open C chord and its is still a C chord, you have augmented the 5th, (Its usually written C/G or C aug G if memory serves) but the its STILL a C.

Its been a while since I actually thought about the naming conventions, they get rather arcane when you get into the 9th and 11th harmonies, there are all sorts of adjectives that pop up and I'd have to look at what the hell they actually mean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
it's based first on the notes that the chord contains, second based on context, because function is extremely important to consider. there are times when D F A B will be a Dm6 chord, other times it will function as a Bm7b5 in first inversion.


Yeah, like I said rather arcane

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Old 11-13-2012, 09:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Zoomyrs1
This is also why you can add the G on the 6th sting to a standard open C chord and its is still a C chord, you have augmented the 5th, (Its usually written C/G or C aug G if memory serves) but the its STILL a C.


So many things wrong with your post, but this one is the worst. If you augment the fifth, you are raising it by one half step. A Caug chord would be C - E - G#. What you referred to as placing the G on the sixth string is simply the second inversion, the fifth on the bass, and it is written C/G. Nothing to do with augmenting. And the naming Aeolian used is nothing close to arcane, both are very common chords you might find in a bunch of jazz, pop and rock songs.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by mrkeka
So many things wrong with your post, but this one is the worst. If you augment the fifth, you are raising it by one half step. A Caug chord would be C - E - G#. What you referred to as placing the G on the sixth string is simply the second inversion, the fifth on the bass, and it is written C/G. Nothing to do with augmenting. And the naming Aeolian used is nothing close to arcane, both are very common chords you might find in a bunch of jazz, pop and rock songs.



Yeah like I said its been a while. I used to the inversion because they are common.

When I meant arcane I was referring to things like sus4ths and dim9ths. ....and yeah looking at that 7th example, the 7th is moving not the third.


Was busy waiting for my shift to end, half asleep. apologies.

...and not off my screwy memory. Here is a quick primer http://www.museweb.com/ag/chord_form.html

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Old 11-13-2012, 09:35 AM   #9
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what's arcane about sus4 and dim9?
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:43 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mrkeka
what's arcane about sus4 and dim9?




If you are starting from scratch? There are what 48 some odd rules, before you take key into account for things like maj/dom 7th that have different names for the same chord vary of course by key.


So the suspended forth you toss the third and play a major second or prefect forth...and you are still in the triad.....normally using a carry over from the last phrase.

Its confusing if you aren't knee deep in it all of the time.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:16 PM   #11
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^It's not really that bad. Everything follows the formula Root, [Quality], [Extension], [Alteration] pretty much and with the exception of some of the symbols used for diminished or augmented chords it's practically self explanatory.

Is it Arcane? Possibly. Is it obsolete? Far from it.

TS, 20Tigers and AeolianWolf have pretty much hit the nail on the head. Look at the notes in the chord to get an approximate idea of what the chord is then look at it in context to solidify the root and name everything accordingly.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Zoomyrs1
This actually depends.

Classically a chord is defined by three notes, its root, 3rd and 5th. The Fifth is a perfect harmony, thus doesn't transfer major or minor, the 3rd on the other had isn't. So the 3rd names the chord on the major or minor component (Think of the difference in the a string root bar shaped 7th chords, the third is the note you change between a major and minor 7th).

So you may note that classically a power chord actually isn't a chord, and there are instructors that will yell at you for calling it such. The reason? No third, no chord.

This is also why you can add the G on the 6th sting to a standard open C chord and its is still a C chord, you have augmented the 5th, (Its usually written C/G or C aug G if memory serves) but the its STILL a C.

Its been a while since I actually thought about the naming conventions, they get rather arcane when you get into the 9th and 11th harmonies, there are all sorts of adjectives that pop up and I'd have to look at what the hell they actually mean.



Yeah, like I said rather arcane

Actually power chord is a chord when there is a melody/other parts and they usually have a function. The guitar part is not the only thing that determines the chord. Melody, bass part, synth part, whatever can make the chord minor/major even though guitar was just playing power chords. And usually power chords are only played on guitar.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Zoomyrs1
Yeah, like I said rather arcane


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Old 11-13-2012, 11:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoomyrs1
If you are starting from scratch? There are what 48 some odd rules, before you take key into account for things like maj/dom 7th that have different names for the same chord vary of course by key.


There are a lot of rules but they aren't that crazy or complicated once you understand them.

There is the underlying triad which forms the foundation of the chord. This is where you look for the root third fifth relationship.

The triad is either major minor augmented or diminished. Most often they will be major or minor. This is due to the third (NOT the 7th).

When naming the triad you assume it is a major triad unless it is noted as being minor in which case the third is a minor third.
C E G for example is a root (C), a major third (E), and perfect fifth (G) so will be a C Major chord. This is notated as C
C Eb G on the other hand is a root (C), a minor third (Eb), and a perfect fifth (G) so will be a C minor triad. This is notated as Cm.

The seventh is assumed minor unless otherwise noted.
So C7 is a C major triad with a minor seventh.
CMaj7 is a C major triad with a Major seventh - the triad is assumed major so when you see the Maj written you know it is referring to the seventh.
Cm7 is a C minor triad with a minor seventh. The 7th is assumed minor when naming chords so you know the "m" for minor is referring to the triad.
Cm/Maj7 is a C minor triad with a Major seventh.
etc.

It can get complicated because you can have inversions, sus chords, add chords, extended chords and polychords but once you are familiar with how the naming system works - which is achieved through studying chord construction, then it gets much easier.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:17 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by 20Tigers

It can get complicated because you can have inversions, sus chords, add chords, extended chords and polychords but once you are familiar with how the naming system works - which is achieved through studying chord construction, then it gets much easier.



Which was exactly my point.

I could ring all of that off with ease when I was 19, that was 9 years of military and about 6 deployments ago. I'm actually just picking the guitar back up, its been something like 5-6 years since I've done more then randomly strum around with an acoustic.
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