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#1
Hello, this has been boggling my mind recently, is a chord still the same if it is played on differently tuned instrument? For example, I play guitar, will a G chord still be a G chord if I play it in the same position with the same shape on a half-step-down tuned guitar as compared to standard shaped guitar? Surely, this will make the chord Gb?
#2
Correct. What makes a chord a certain chord is the specific notes in it.
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#3
No. The root note is lowered by the tuning, and so it becomes different than the original note.
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#4
Uh, yeah it will.

A lot of chord transcriptions for songs with capos/different tunings will write them as the chord that the shape would form in standard tuning; just for accessibility though.
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Last edited by duncang at Oct 2, 2009,
#5
Of course it's not a G anymore if you tune your guitar differently. A chord name is not based on the shape or position on the fretboard, it's based on the notes. If you tune your guitar differently the notes will be different as well, making it another chord.
#6
It's no longer a G chord. It's basically just the position of a standard tuning G.
But you're correct when you say that if it's a half-step down it's an Gb/F#
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#7
Pretty much everyone is hitting on it. For ease, especially with tuned down guitars and capo'd guitars, they will call it a G when in reality it's just the shape they are naming it by and it's an F# or and A or something.
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#8
Quote by duncang
Uh, yeah it will.

A lot of chord transcriptions for songs with capos/different tunings will write them as the chord that the shape would form in standard tuning; just for accessibility though.



No it won't. Just because chord transcriptions are written that way for accessibility doesn't mean its technically still a G chord. They just call it a G chord. In reality its a half step lower.
#9
It's pretty much a matter of definition. And yes, it is open to definition.
#11
Quote by Matt420740
No it won't. Just because chord transcriptions are written that way for accessibility doesn't mean its technically still a G chord. They just call it a G chord. In reality its a half step lower.


The guitar simply becomes a transposing instrument when they're doing that. It's no longer a concert G chord, but to the transposing instrument and performer, its still a G chord.
#12
Quote by isaac_bandits
The guitar simply becomes a transposing instrument when they're doing that. It's no longer a concert G chord, but to the transposing instrument and performer, its still a G chord.


I understand that. But just because they call the chord a G in notation does not make it a G chord. If you were to play along to someone in standard tuning you would be a half step off. I don't understand how people got off on this anyways. The TS wanted to know if he played a G in the same position as standard tuning, on a guitar half step down if it would be the same chord. The answer is no. It would be a half step lower. Period.
#13
Quote by Matt420740
I understand that. But just because they call the chord a G in notation does not make it a G chord. If you were to play along to someone in standard tuning you would be a half step off. I don't understand how people got off on this anyways. The TS wanted to know if he played a G in the same position as standard tuning, on a guitar half step down if it would be the same chord. The answer is no. It would be a half step lower. Period.


Yes, for concert pitch, it wouldn't be the same. But for a transposing instrument in the key of B, a Gb chord is called a G chord. Its not guitars that were the first instrument to use this. Trumpets are commonly in Bb, C, D, and E; French Horns are usually in F; Saxophones are in Bb and Eb; Clarinets are in Bb and A; Double basses are in C, down an octave. Guitars also happen to be an octave down. If you play a G chord, notate it in standard notation, and get someone else to play that at concert pitch, it will be a differently voiced (although still G) chord.
#14
okay well it's mixed responses but i would call it by whatever the root note is.
#15
Quote by Artemis Entreri
Pretty much everyone is hitting on it. For ease, especially with tuned down guitars and capo'd guitars, they will call it a G when in reality it's just the shape they are naming it by and it's an F# or and A or something.


This this this, and essentially this.
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#16
Quote by isaac_bandits
Yes, for concert pitch, it wouldn't be the same. But for a transposing instrument in the key of B, a Gb chord is called a G chord. Its not guitars that were the first instrument to use this. Trumpets are commonly in Bb, C, D, and E; French Horns are usually in F; Saxophones are in Bb and Eb; Clarinets are in Bb and A; Double basses are in C, down an octave. Guitars also happen to be an octave down. If you play a G chord, notate it in standard notation, and get someone else to play that at concert pitch, it will be a differently voiced (although still G) chord.


The guitar is not a transposing instrument. If you tune your guitar a half step down and finger a 'G' chord, it won't sound right with a piano/other C instrument or a guitar tuned to standard. The reason it works with instruments like trumpets (in Bb) is because the note we read is not the note we produce. If we read a C on our music, we're producing a Bb with our instrument. If a guitar player tuned to Eb standard played where the note 'G' would be in standard tuning, they're still playing a Gb.
#17
If you are playing with other musicians (keyboards, bass, etc) they don't care what tuning or shape you are playing, the want to know the "real" chord you are playing.
#18
Quote by timeconsumer09
The guitar is not a transposing instrument.

The guitar is a transposing instrument as it sounds notes an octave lower than written.

Quote by timeconsumer09
If you tune your guitar a half step down and finger a 'G' chord, it won't sound right with a piano/other C instrument or a guitar tuned to standard.

Of course it won't. If you play a C triad with three Bb trumpets, they won't sound right with a piano playing a C chord. Its the same thing. When you transpose, it will only sound good with other instruments who are transposed the same as you. If you want to be able to play with instruments that are transposed differently, it will require that you play in different keys to compensate.

Quote by timeconsumer09
The reason it works with instruments like trumpets (in Bb) is because the note we read is not the note we produce. If we read a C on our music, we're producing a Bb with our instrument. If a guitar player tuned to Eb standard played where the note 'G' would be in standard tuning, they're still playing a Gb.


This argument is very weak. You essentially said 'A trumpet is a transposing instrument, because it produces a different note than is on the page'. Well if an (experienced) trumpet player wants to play a part written for, say, flute, (s)he will be able to play that part at concert pitch, and then will be playing the same note as is on the page. The only difference would be he would be using a different fingering than he is used to.

This seems quite similar to a guitar. Guitars do not play the same note that is written on the page. They play a note an octave lower than written. If I want to play something as written, I can, but that requires me to play it an octave higher, which will demand me to use a different fingering.

In the end, its alot easier to sight read music when all the notes are in the same spot, when you're in Eb Standard, than to constantly be thinking to play a fret sharp. The music will just have to be written different to compensate.


Quote by jsepguitar
If you are playing with other musicians (keyboards, bass, etc) they don't care what tuning or shape you are playing, the want to know the "real" chord you are playing.


If you're playing with a keyboardist, they will have a transpose button on their keyboard, and when you decide to tune down a semitone to better suit the singer's voice, the keyboardist can follow you with their transpose button. A bassist can tune their bass down just as easily as you can tune your guitar down.

That being said, playing with a piano, and upright bass, which both are not good instruments to change tunings on, its generally prefered to use concert pitch. Sometimes it will just be a lingua franca kind of thing, if there's a sax in Eb, a guitar in B, a trumpet in Bb, and a bass in A, or whatever the keys they are using.

It all will depend on who you're playing with and all of your abilities to transpose, when you have to decide to use the transposed name or the concert pitch.
Last edited by isaac_bandits at Oct 2, 2009,
#19
isaac_bandits is right (though I didn't read his last wall of text).. I don't know why he brought up his point though lol, if the TS is asking this kind of question then instrumental tunings and transposition within ensembles are going to most likely go over his head..

If you tune a guitar down half a step it is pretty obvious you are changing the notes. Though, what you want to call the new chord depends on your definition of pitch. For simplicity I dub your new chord a Gb.
Last edited by roke at Oct 3, 2009,
#20
Basically, if you play the same shape in the same place in a different tuning it will be a different chord. But! your title is slightly misleading, because someone could interpret that as playing the notes of the chords in a different tuning which would make it the same chord.
#21
Quote by roke
isaac_bandits is right (though I didn't read his last wall of text).. I don't know why he brought up his point though lol, if the TS is asking this kind of question then instrumental tunings and transposition within ensembles are going to most likely go over his head..

If you tune a guitar down half a step it is pretty obvious you are changing the notes. Though, what you want to call the new chord depends on your definition of pitch. For simplicity I dub your new chord a Gb.


But when playing alone or with other transposed instruments, its much easier to just call it by its name in standard (on the assumption that he's more familiar with standard than whatever other tuning he's using).
#23
No it wouldn't.

A G major chord is the notes G B D - if you're not playing those notes you're not playing a G chord.
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#25
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no it really isn't.


Yes, it really is. G is whatever pitch anyone wants it to be. People have wanted it to be many different things at many different times.
#26
Quote by steven seagull
No it wouldn't.

A G major chord is the notes G B D - if you're not playing those notes you're not playing a G chord.


And to a transposing instrument G B and D are set to different pitches than concert G B and D
#27
Quote by isaac_bandits
And to a transposing instrument G B and D are set to different pitches than concert G B and D



We all get what you are saying. And you ARE correct. But its not what the question was. He asked if the chord would be the same as if played on a standard tuned guitar. Its not the same, its a half step down. Regardless of how its transposed, its still not the same chord as played on a standard tuned guitar. That was his question. If it is the same. It is not.
Last edited by Matt420740 at Oct 3, 2009,
#30
Quote by Dodeka
Why not?



Because now that we have established A as 440, we have almost all agreed upon, or been forced to agree upon those pitches. A few countries use 435 or something, but much of the classical and contemporary world now uses A440 tuning.
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#31
Quote by Artemis Entreri
Because now that we have established A as 440, we have almost all agreed upon, or been forced to agree upon those pitches. A few countries use 435 or something, but much of the classical and contemporary world now uses A440 tuning.

I predict that Dodeka's answer will contain something about G being different in different tuning systems even when A is 440. That's just a guess but I seem to remember him being someone who talks about different tunings systems a bit (that font sticks in my brain )

I think a good answer would be that the chord would be a concert Gb chord (therby nicely side-stepping the messy (but valid) transposing argument).
#32
Quote by Dodeka
Why not?

If I play this:

xxx3xx

I am not playing a G.

Fact.
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#33
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how on earth did this thread warrant over twenty responses???

We're at 30 now. What the fuck guys.
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#36
Quote by Artemis Entreri
Because now that we have established A as 440, we have almost all agreed upon, or been forced to agree upon those pitches. A few countries use 435 or something, but much of the classical and contemporary world now uses A440 tuning.


Who's this "we"? The ISO did; I didn't.

Take a bunch of baroque purists who tune to A 415. This is their A...who's to say otherwise? A lot of orchestras ignore also the standard and tune higher than 440.


Quote by 12345abcd3
I predict that Dodeka's answer will contain something about G being different in different tuning systems even when A is 440.


That's not exactly what I was going to get at, but it's not a bad point. While 440 Hz may be the standard, I'm unaware of a standard tuning system.
#37
Quote by duncang
Uh, yeah it will.

A lot of chord transcriptions for songs with capos/different tunings will write them as the chord that the shape would form in standard tuning; just for accessibility though.

Yeah, it will write that name for ease of reading it, but really if you have a capo on 3 and you play a G chord, it will actually be a Bb chord.
#38
The name changes, it's just for better understanding and to avoid further confusion that you go and call it a "G chord", you're only doing "the shape of a G chord as in Standard Tuning" (and we should say it like that) but the notes you're playing are all different no the ones for a G.

Another example is when you say "E string" or "B string" those names would change if you have a different tuning, I use Drop D most of the time so my 6th string is actually a "D string" but I'd just go and call it "low E string" just to avoid confusion and most people will automatically know that I'm talking about the 6th string.
#39
Quote by Dodeka

Who's this "we"? The ISO did; I didn't.

Take a bunch of baroque purists who tune to A 415. This is their A...who's to say otherwise? A lot of orchestras ignore also the standard and tune higher than 440.



That's not exactly what I was going to get at, but it's not a bad point. While 440 Hz may be the standard, I'm unaware of a standard tuning system.


*palm stack*

We all know A used to be 415. We all know most orchestras tune to A 442. But A G is a G is a G is a G is a G.

You cant call it another name just because you want to
#40
Quote by tubatom868686
*palm stack*

We all know A used to be 415. We all know most orchestras tune to A 442 [or 444, or 445, or...]. But A G is a G is a G is a G is a G.

You cant call it another name just because you want to


Well, A used to be 415 among many, many other things. These baroque "purists" might actually be a little misguided in thinking 415 is the ideal baroque pitch. But that's not the point here.

The bottom line is, all of these people are calling different pitches G just because they want to.
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