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#1
Hey there, folks... I need y'all to help me settle a disagreement that came up last night. I was talking to a friend at a party, and they asked me about my music. I said something about power chords, to which a third person butted in and said, "power chords aren't chords."

Well, that was random. So I said, "yes, they are. Root and fifth, no?"

"That's an interval, not a chord", he said. "You need three notes to make a chord."

So I said, "And power chords usually incorporate the octave, so there's your third note."

And he replied, "The octave is just a harmonic of the root. It doesn't count."

So, now I'm confused. Who's right... or is this one of those kinds of topics that evokes multi-page flame wars with no clear answer? If so, I apologize in advance.

Thanks,
CS
#3
He's right.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#5
Quote by Zeletros
Are power chords chords?





That guy is an idiot

'Fraid not.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#6
The other guy is exactly right. A chord is 3 or more notes played together, usually the root, the 3rd, and the 5th. Without a 3rd there's no way to tell when the "chord" is major or minor, since the perfect fifth is neutral. He's also right about the octave thing, it's still the same note.

And the term "power chord" is just one of those things everyone calls them, even though it's not technically correct. It's like calling tissue paper kleenex, even though technically kleenex is the name of a company, not the product.
Last edited by zincabopataurio at Jul 10, 2011,
#9
Quote by carnagereap666
They are and they're aren't. It's a two note chord in a way. Called a "Dyad." But they don't evoke a major or minor sound. It depends on the song and scale.


knew there was a word for it! been trying to remember year 8 music
#10
Quote by Poglia
He is wrong. A chord is a combination of two or more notes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_(music)

The more commonly accepted definition nowadays is "three different notes." Two notes together is more accurately called an "interval" or a "dyad."
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#11
Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
The more commonly accepted definition nowadays is "three different notes." Two notes together is more accurately called an "interval" or a "dyad."
Yes, but a dyad can be considered a kind of chord. Chords can be dyads, triads, seventh, etc.
#14
Quote by Poglia
Yes, but a dyad can be considered a kind of chord. Chords can be dyads, triads, seventh, etc.

Someone's been reading Wikipedia.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#15
I think a dyad is/should be considered a chord. I mean why would they make it: note (1), dyad (2), chord [triad and so on] (3 or more) I mean why would they seperate dyads from the other -ads?
*They referring to those who created music theory, once upon a time.
#17
It's a dyad, technically a chord, but less of a chord than 3 or more note chords because it has no third, just a perfect fifth, so it evokes no emotion. The only emotions power chords evoke are the intervals that they change to. But they still work.
Quote by willT08
Quote by HowSoonisNow
How was Confucius death metal?
You've clearly never read any Confuscius.

As I wait on the edge of the earth,
I can see the walls being torn down again
Only to be rebuilt in another name,
On a different day
#18
Quote by zincabopataurio
^what's the point of a one note chord?

Sorry for the double post, but have you heard "Fire" by Jimi Hendrix? The intro is what I call an "octave chord" progression. Basically the power chord shape, but just fretting the two octaves.
EDIT: And "Tender Surrender" by Steve Vai also has an "octave chord" progression in it.
Last edited by Skullivan at Jul 10, 2011,
#19
Whether or not a dyad is referred to as a chord seems to not be definite. Logically, it really should be considered a chord.
#20
Quote by Poglia
Yes, but a dyad can be considered a kind of chord. Chords can be dyads, triads, seventh, etc.


That was the angle I was coming from. Everything I've read on the subject said that double-stops/dyads count as chords.

I think I'm also confused on the idea of "same note". I mean, yes, they're both C, but one's low, one's high. Play them together and it's obvious they don't sound alike. But I'm probably just being too literal.
Last edited by CarsonStevens at Jul 10, 2011,
#22
Quote by Poglia
He is wrong. A chord is a combination of two or more notes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_(music)

From your own link:
Quote by Wiki
Otto Karolyi[10] writes that "two or more notes sounded simultaneously are known as a chord" though, since instances of any given note in different octaves may be taken as the same note, it is more precise for the purposes of analysis to speak of distinct "pitch classes". Furthermore, as three notes are needed to define any common chord, three is often taken as the minimum number of notes that form a definite chord. Hence Andrew Surmani, for example, (2004, p. 72) states; "when three or more notes are sounded together, the combination is called a chord" and George T. Jones (1994, p. 43) agrees; "two tones sounding together are usually termed an interval, while three or mores tones are called a chord". According to Monath (1984, p. 37); "A chord is a combination of three or more tones sounded simultaneously" and the distances between the tones are called intervals. However sonorities of two pitches, or even single-note melodies, are commonly heard as "implying" chords.[11]

One guy listed says two notes, and several others say three.
Quote by CarsonStevens
That was the angle I was coming from. Everything I've read on the subject said that double-stops/dyads count as chords.

I think I'm also confused on the idea of "same note". I mean, yes, they're both C, but one's low, one's high. Play them together and it's obvious they don't sound alike. But I'm probably just being too literal.

If it's the "same note," then it doesn't serve any further function for the chord from a theoretical point of view. If you have C E G C C C C, with several C's in several different octaves, it's still just going to sound like a C major chord, because having all those C's doesn't change the function or tonality of the chord.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#24
Quote by griffRG7321
Power chords, or any 2 notes can imply a harmony.

Only in a progression though. If you just play an A5, it'll be ambiguous.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#25
Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
If it's the "same note," then it doesn't serve any further function for the chord from a theoretical point of view. If you have C E G C C C C, with several C's in several different octaves, it's still just going to sound like a C major chord, because having all those C's doesn't change the function or tonality of the chord.


True. I guess I was looking at it in terms of intervals. Root is 1, octave is 8. 1 != 8. Guess I still have a ways to go.
#26
Unless you want be an elitist bastard, I wouldn't bother argueing about the terminology. Octaves on the other hand are most certainly not chords and this is first time I've heard them refer to as such
Quote by Night
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#27
Quote by DaddyTwoFoot
Only in a progression though. If you just play an A5, it'll be ambiguous.


Not if you have a melody
#28
Make them what you want to be.

I'm serious. If it works for you, you can always find an argument in support of it and someone will feel that a triad is a chord. You can lose a lot of time with semantics. I teach the triad philosophy of chords, and can give two cents about the 2 note chord camp. Categorize it your way and accept that there will never be consensus among musicians that care about these things.

Best,

Sean
#29
Aw man, I was hoping Sean was gonna bust up in here with his Music Theory self and put everyone (including me) in their place. Guess he's just too good of a person.
#30
^ the thing is while a dyad (i thought it was diad... oh well) technically isn't a chord, it can function like one depending on other things. technically speaking a chord contains 3 notes, if i was to play something like E5 A5 B5, that could be either major or minor. but if i was to play something like E5 G5 C5 B5, thats going to imply a minor key tonality because even though it's just "5" chords, the note collections themselves collectively show up to be E minor.
#32
Quote by griffRG7321
Not if you have a melody

Bah, that was boneheaded of me. I was thinking strictly harmonically because of the earlier posts of the thread.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#33
Quote by carnagereap666
Not every chords contains three notes. Most of them do.

three or more notes is a chord, 2 notes is a dyad, 1 note i've heard simply referred to as a tone. the most important part really is understanding how all the notes work together whether you're using 2 at a time or 6
#34
Here's how I look at it, since there's apparently not a definitive answer, and everybody looks at it differently.

I think if the powerchords are being used as a progression, then yes they are chords. If they are being used in more of a "riff" like manner, such as the famous riffs of Iron Man or Smoke On the Water, then you're looking at a harmony, root being a melody, 5th being a harmony.
#35
Quote by z4twenny
three or more notes is a chord, 2 notes is a dyad, 1 note i've heard simply referred to as a tone. the most important part really is understanding how all the notes work together whether you're using 2 at a time or 6


A Dyad is a type of chord, A triad is a type of chord, a seventh is a type of chord, a ninth is a type of chord. A chord isn't just a triad.
#36
Quote by carnagereap666
A Dyad is a type of chord, A triad is a type of chord, a seventh is a type of chord, a ninth is a type of chord. A chord isn't just a triad.

The only part of that that anyone disagrees with is the first seven words. Had you actually read what he posted, you would have seen this:
Quote by z4twenny
three or more notes is a chord, 2 notes is a dyad, 1 note i've heard simply referred to as a tone. the most important part really is understanding how all the notes work together whether you're using 2 at a time or 6
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#40
Although power chords aren't considered technically as "chords" in context they can perform quite differently than just the root and fifth.

Whilst there is only a root and fifth available, they actually function as major or minor chords when played with other power chords. Like Z4 pointed out above when you play E5 G5 C5 B5, the key created is E minor. Using our knowledge of the minor key we can now adduce that the chords played are Em, G, C, B. That B at the end can be major or minor, but I'm going to make it major to enforce that resolution to E minor even stronger than it already is.

So now we know that the E5 chord is actually functioning E minor, we're just omitting the 3rd.

But the problem occurs here. Let's say E5 is not a chord, but a diad. But here we can say that instead of E5 we are playing E minor (no 3). Is this also not a chord?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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