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Old 06-08-2014, 05:39 AM   #1
flaaash
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Emin6 and Cmin/b

So i started work on a few new songs today.

I chose to use a chord and when emailing a friend about it, I wanted to look up the chords name to confirm it - its not what i thought its called. The chord I use is...

E - 0-
B -1-
G -0-
D -2-
A -2-
E -0-

I thought this would be Emin6, but from what I can gather its Cmin/b. Emin6 actually has C# instead of...regular C.

Can someone explain this? When you look at the Em in scale it goes E F# G A B C D E....
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:48 AM   #2
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Don't look at scales, they won't really help in chord construction.

First figure out the notes in your chord. They are E, B, E, G, C and E.

OK, now try to arrange the notes so that there's a third between every note.

There's a third between E and G, and G and B. There's also a third between C and E. Let's build a stack of thirds. So your chord is C E G B which is Cmaj7. The lowest note in your chord is E so it's called Cmaj7/E.
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Old 06-08-2014, 08:19 AM   #3
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I would definitely call it an Em6, since the base note is an E. Some schools also consider the minor chord as implicitly having the minor 6th, which would indeed make this chord an Em6. At least for me, the C# in the E minor chord does not sound "right", I prefer to assume that the flat 6th is used by default.

It is most definitely not a Cmin/b, since the 3rd of the C major scale (the E note) is present here. If you MUST call this C-something, call it Cmaj/b, that would be more correct.

However, the true name of the chord can only be determined from its context, and what the melody on top of it plays - if the focus is a C, I'd definitely go with Em6, however if the focus is E or B, then I'd say it's a C/b.

Also, excuse me but

Quote:
Don't look at scales, they won't really help in chord construction.


is incorrect, to put it mildly.

Last edited by Carl_Berg : 06-08-2014 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 06-08-2014, 08:41 AM   #4
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What I meant with

"Don't look at scales, they won't really help in chord construction."

was that you shouldn't look at scales when you construct chords. Look at intervals. If you need to construct a D7#11 chord, which scale would you look at (I know, there's one scale that is the overtone scale)? It is much easier if you just know the intervals. You don't need to look at any scales. You can just look at the chord name. D7#11 - OK, it's a major triad, minor 7th, augmented 11th (same as 4th). The notes in the chord are D, F# A, C and G#. But if you look at scales, you need to first remember which scale you need to look at and then you need to remember what notes there are in the scale.

Also, Em6 is not correct because m6 chords always have a major 6th in them. Minor 6th chords are usually iv chords in a minor key (or more correctly ii 6/5 chords - but that's really close to an iv chord), not i chords. You can double whatever notes you want and it still is a Cmaj7 chord. It has the notes of Cmaj7 chord so it is a Cmaj7 chord. It's the same as if you had a C major chord with just one C, one E and three G's (and also a G in the bass). It doesn't make the chord any less C major.

Also, Cmaj7 does sometimes sound a bit minor-ish, especially in the first inversion. That's because a maj7 chord also contains a minor chord (C, E, G, B - E, G, B = E minor). Cmaj7 chord is the same as E minor + C note. Cmaj7 and E minor are soundwise pretty close to each other.

Also, m6 chords are actually m7b5 chords in the first inversion.

If you wanted to call it E something, it would be "Emb6" or something like that. But IMO calling it Cmaj7/E is the most correct name. At least Power Tab doesn't recognize chord names such as mb6 or maddb13 (of course that's not a reason - and please don't draw conclusions that I base my knowledge on something like Power Tab).
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine : 06-08-2014 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:43 AM   #5
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Really depends on how the chord is used. Is that C just hanging out there by itself, or is part of a melodic part, like moving D-C-B?

I would disagree on the Cmaj7 interpretation - the voicing is much too "E", because of the Root-5th-Root part on the lower strings. The m9 voicing of maj7 chords is also extremely unusual, if not generally avoided. Really loses the characteristic sound of a maj7 chord.

Last edited by cdgraves : 06-08-2014 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:38 AM   #6
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^ I do agree that it sounds pretty E minor to me (though as I said, Cmaj7 is pretty close to E minor).

Yeah, maybe the C note is not really even part of the chord.

What do you mean with "m9 voicing of maj7 chord"?

Also, how would you name the chord if it was an Em based chord?
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:55 AM   #7
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Cmin/B? Your friend is a knob.
First off, there's no Eb, so how the shit is it Cmin? Also, there's an E in the bass, so how could it be over B?
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Old 06-08-2014, 12:39 PM   #8
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@flaaash:

Would you mind sharing the rest of the chords you have so far around the one you presented? Context would greatly help resolve whether this ought to be called Cmaj7 or Em addb6(or something of that cast). For what it's worth, I lean toward Emin with an added tone (due to doubling of E and G, plus the relatively high entry of the C in the voicing.)
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Old 06-08-2014, 01:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgraves
I would disagree on the Cmaj7 interpretation - the voicing is much too "E", because of the Root-5th-Root part on the lower strings. The m9 voicing of maj7 chords is also extremely unusual, if not generally avoided. Really loses the characteristic sound of a maj7 chord.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggaraMarine
Also, how would you name the chord if it was an Em based chord?

I'm also wondering your thoughts on this, cdgraves...

I mean, obviously, whether it is an Eminor chord or a Cmaj7 chord depends on the context of the song/piece/chord progression. But even so...I can't figure out what to call this if it is an Eminor chord. Em(b6) feels like a clunky/lazy name. To me, it makes more sense to view it as an inversion of Cmaj7 (aka Cmaj7/E).
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Old 06-08-2014, 03:06 PM   #10
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I played with the chord a bit...its E minor flavor...so with the C note it could be a passing tone ..it has a "james bond" feel to it..almost like a minor/major..i moved it through the Emi6 inversions starting with C# in the bass and that sounded good..where the next chords are could decide a better name for it

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Old 06-08-2014, 07:26 PM   #11
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Hey everyone, thanks for shedding some light on the mentioned chord. It looks like I wrote it down wrong - but only a little bit.

Here's the chor progression:

Dmin7/A, Gmaj, Cmaj...

E - 0-
B -1-
G -0-
D -0-
A -2-
E -0-

then Amin

Thanks MaggaraMarine for the cool way of working out chord names, s.

I'm super sorry if im annoying.
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Old 06-08-2014, 07:47 PM   #12
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When it comes to whether you want to write Eminb6 or Cmaj7 in first inversion, it depends on the context of the chords around it. If C is functioning as a root note, its an inversion. If the E is functioning as the root note, and the C is a color tone (god I hate that term) then its Emin.

Its nearly impossible to tell without seeing the rest of the chords, but Im inclined to agree with AETHERA. The doubling of the E and G is a dead give away that its some sort of Emin

EDIT:

Just noticed the chord progression. We will see what others say, but I am calling it Cmaj7 6 (Cmaj7 in first inversion)

The main reason is that the chord preceding is a Cmaj, so your ear is used to that sound. Putting it in first inversion weakly implies v-i in the bass (Emin-Amin) but its still quite clearly a Cmaj7 chord.

VI-i is a very common progression in minor keys

Last edited by bassalloverthe : 06-08-2014 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaggaraMarine
^ I do agree that it sounds pretty E minor to me (though as I said, Cmaj7 is pretty close to E minor).

Yeah, maybe the C note is not really even part of the chord.

What do you mean with "m9 voicing of maj7 chord"?

Also, how would you name the chord if it was an Em based chord?


I would call it an Em add6, I guess.

"m9 voicing of a maj7 chord" refers to the voicing of a maj7 chord in which the 7th is a minor 9th below the root, such as x2201x.

I'm calling it a Em only because it's basically got an E power chord in the lower voices, and it's really hard to make that sound like anything but the root. Even if the bass were playing a C, it's such a dense chord voicing that it would not sound much like a Cmaj7.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgraves
I would call it an Em add6, I guess.

"m9 voicing of a maj7 chord" refers to the voicing of a maj7 chord in which the 7th is a minor 9th below the root, such as x2201x.

I'm calling it a Em only because it's basically got an E power chord in the lower voices, and it's really hard to make that sound like anything but the root. Even if the bass were playing a C, it's such a dense chord voicing that it would not sound much like a Cmaj7.


Just curious, why add 6 instead of just Eminb6

And do you still feel it functions as v instead of VImaj7 even though the chord before it is VI

I see both as valid, and to me, the purpose of the voicing is to get at the squishy space between VImaj7 and v.

Last edited by bassalloverthe : 06-09-2014 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flaaash
So i started work on a few new songs today.

I chose to use a chord and when emailing a friend about it, I wanted to look up the chords name to confirm it - its not what i thought its called. The chord I use is...

E - 0-
B -1-
G -0-
D -2-
A -2-
E -0-

I thought this would be Emin6, but from what I can gather its Cmin/b. Emin6 actually has C# instead of...regular C.

Can someone explain this? When you look at the Em in scale it goes E F# G A B C D E....


Naming chords use intervals from the root of the chord. There are three basic conventions that will help you with chord naming...

When naming chords the triad is assumed major unless noted otherwise.
The seventh is assumed minor unless noted otherwise.
All other intervals are major unless noted with a b or #.

Thus Cm6 is a C minor triad with a major sixth.

It's just how chord naming works.

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by flaaash
Hey everyone, thanks for shedding some light on the mentioned chord. It looks like I wrote it down wrong - but only a little bit.

Here's the chor progression:

Dmin7/A, Gmaj, Cmaj...

E - 0-
B -1-
G -0-
D -0-
A -2-
E -0-

then Amin

Thanks MaggaraMarine for the cool way of working out chord names, s.

I'm super sorry if im annoying.

This is written differently than in the opening post. This chord would be an Em7b13. In the opening post then Emb6.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:58 AM   #16
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BTW, you are not in E minor. You are in C major because the progression you have is a ii-V-I in C major (Dm7-G-C).

Oh, and you wrote the chord differently on your second post. Now it has a D in it which would make it an Em7b13.
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Old 06-09-2014, 01:20 AM   #17
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Wait, OP, are you considering the Amin part of the current chord progression, or the beginning of a new one? Cause Ive been reading it in Amin the whole time under the assumption that its all one chord progression. If its Amin, Em7b13 makes sense because its acting like an altered function of V in Am.

^Theres good evidence for Cmaj, but Im reluctant to say the chord progression ends on iii7b13. If it is in the key of C major, personally, Id prefer to read the chord as an inversion of C maj (ending in an inverted IAC with Cmaj7 9)

And yea, you gave us two different chords

Last edited by bassalloverthe : 06-09-2014 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 06-09-2014, 01:38 AM   #18
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All right...so, operating under the assumption that Aminor is part of the chord progression (and not whatever else)...

I would say the progression is iv7 - VII - III - v7b13 - i, in the key of Aminor. Honestly, this makes the most sense to me.


But, yeah, it helps if TS gives the right chord to begin with...
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:26 AM   #19
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Oh, I didn't see the A minor chord. Yes, it could be in A minor.
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:18 PM   #20
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What song is this, anyway? Hearing is the best way for us to know exactly what this chord's function is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bassalloverthe
Just curious, why add 6 instead of just Eminb6

And do you still feel it functions as v instead of VImaj7 even though the chord before it is VI

I see both as valid, and to me, the purpose of the voicing is to get at the squishy space between VImaj7 and v.


I've just never seen "b6" indicated as a chord tone, so I hesitate to pioneer such a usage myself. Sometimes you see 6 in ambiguous places, in which case I think context is the best way to determine which 6th is appropriate. Since there is no weird key change stuff going on, I would assume the diatonic minor 6th in this situation.

Usually, yes, you do assume a major 6th. It's very often stated as a "dorian 6th", in a ii-V progression. I'm not sure there's a standard convention for indicating minor 6ths.

I'm afraid I can't say for sure how it functions without hearing the tune. I'm almost tempted to say that the C in the Em is just a quirk of the guitar part, not really part of the harmony.
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