Chords and theory

Well who doesn't have a question about theory? Come on in and get them answered here. Beginning to advanced theory questions are welcome.
fleaaaaaa
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Chords and theory

Post by fleaaaaaa » May 13th, 2012, 7:21 am

I just wanted to have a thread where we put :

A.) How to construct each type of chord
B.) The most common way to play them

I have a question though, how many guitarists know all the different ways to play one specific chord? Because it seems when I've looked online there's many inversions and an endless amount of chords (though this may be due to them being written out just a little differently each time)

So the types of chords are : Major, Minor, 6ths 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, diminished and augmented (add more if you know more).
I think all the numbered chords have Maj and Min versions and also then there's plus 9ths.

Since I'm going first I get the easy ones :P

Major chord - constructed from the 1st - 3rd - 5th of a major scale
Minor chord - Constructed from the 1st - b 3rd - 5th (or the 3rd note in the minor scale)

http://jguitar.com/chordsearch/A The first is the standard open

http://jguitar.com/chordsearch?chordsearch=Aminor Again first one is the standard open


One question too for some people out there - I've seen G11 like this and chic's guitarist refers to this as G11
Image
But JS guitar shows this one for G11
http://jguitar.com/chordsearch/G11
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Re: Chords and theory

Post by dhodge » May 13th, 2012, 7:40 am

We also have articles here on Guitar Noise that go over this particular topic:

The Power of Three http://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/the-power-of-three/

Building Additions (and Suspensions) http://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/buil ... spensions/

Hope these help.

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Re: Chords and theory

Post by fleaaaaaa » May 13th, 2012, 11:13 am

Read those now and a few others related, good stuff, I knew a lot of it but it was good to refresh......

One question David? Is that the standard way of building a diminished/augmented chord? By using the pattern of stacked thirds (major or minor)?
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Re: Chords and theory

Post by dhodge » May 13th, 2012, 11:28 am

It's certainly an easy way to remember it. Most people will tell you the "standard" way to learn is simply to memorize the basic four chords:

Major = Root, 3rd, 5th

Minor = Root, b3rd, 5th

Augmented = Root, 3rd, #5th

Diminished = Root, b3rd, b5th

And usually that's how one will think about it in a pinch. That makes perfect sense because each part of the chord is defined by a degree of the major scales. And most things in music are described in terms of the major scale.

But if you want to know why they are that way, then the idea of stacking the four possible combinations of major thirds and minor thirds is a great tool since each possible stack represents one of the four basic types of chords:

Major = Root + major 3rd + minor 3rd

Minor = Root + minor 3rd + major 3rd

Augmented = Root + major 3rd + major 3rd

Diminished = Root + minor 3rd + minor 3rd


Essentially all your other chords (with the exception of suspended chords and "5" chords) are embellished versions of these four basic chords, so it gives you a good start.

When teaching, either method works. What's important to figure out is which method is this particular student likely to remember? And, not surprisingly, it varies from student to student.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Chords and theory

Post by fleaaaaaa » May 15th, 2012, 10:36 am

I just realised something and it made me think of a question (though probably a stupid one) - why do we only count to 13?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 1
C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

^ That appears to be 14 steps, I'm sure we count C as 8, so now I'm confused.
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Re: Chords and theory

Post by NoteBoat » May 15th, 2012, 12:50 pm

Because 15 is the same as 1, and then it all starts over again (17 would be the same as 3, 19 = 5 etc)
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Re: Chords and theory

Post by fleaaaaaa » May 15th, 2012, 1:53 pm

Well what I mean is look.....

C 1
D 2
E 3
F 4
G 5
A 6
B 7
C 8
D 9
E 10
F 11
G 12
A 13
B - ???????????

What happened to B? We reached B and we didn't use a number for it and started again at:
C 1
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Re: Chords and theory

Post by NoteBoat » May 15th, 2012, 2:03 pm

That's because you reached B with 7. After 13, all numbers are duplicates.
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Re: Chords and theory

Post by Nuno » May 16th, 2012, 4:57 am

A question/curiosity on extended chords. Usually we say 9th chords (although sometimes it can read the "add2" or similar) and 11th chords (the 4th is for suspended) but many books study both 6th and 13th chords.

I guess the 13th chords also contain the previous tones and the 6th just the basic triad but I don't remember to see things like "add13".

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Re: Chords and theory

Post by NoteBoat » May 16th, 2012, 5:32 am

Yep, extended chords (9ths, 11ths, 13ths) contain all the odd numbers below them - including a b7 unless it says 'maj' as part of the chord name, which indicates a natural 7.

'add' in a chord name means the numbers below aren't included.

The internet has given rise to a bunch of suspect naming conventions, especially for guitar. The only even number that needs to be used is 6 - a 6th chord is 1-3-5-6, and using 6 shows you that it's not an extended chord. It's also used in a 6/9 chord (1-3-5-6-9).

'4' doesn't need to be used. Even notations like 'sus4' are redundant - if you just write 'sus' it means the same thing.

'2' doesn't need to be used either, although it's pretty common on the internet, and I'm starting to see it in some jazz charts... where "C2" is being used as the equivalent of "Cadd9"
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Re: Chords and theory

Post by Nuno » May 16th, 2012, 5:52 am

Thank you! I was guessing it. Perhaps one day we will start to see "add13", too...

And yes, it seemed I was including the 6th chords in the extended chords category. Thank for the clarification.

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Re: Chords and theory

Post by fleaaaaaa » May 16th, 2012, 3:56 pm

NoteBoat wrote:That's because you reached B with 7. After 13, all numbers are duplicates.
I know I'm being awkward, but we also reached the C at one and the D at 2 in my example but we still go onto say D as the 9th in that scale. I just found it totally odd, but I KNOW we don't go up to 14, I've never ever seen that.
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Re: Chords and theory

Post by dhodge » May 16th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Let's see if this helps. Start out with your scale (let's use C for convenience, if that's okay) and write the numbers 1 through 7 above and then 9 through 14 below, like this:

Code: Select all

1     2     3     4     5     6     7

C     D     E     F     G     A     B

8     9     10    11    12    13    14
Now, the C major chord is 1, 3 and 5. Aside from the guitarists' insistence of the "5" chord (otherwise known as a "power chord" - just the root and the fifth of a note, you never see the numbers "1" and "3" as part of a chord name. Also, since we won't ever use those notes (C, E and G) as additions to the basic chord, we can eliminate the "8," "10" and "12" from our chart

Code: Select all

1     2     3     4     5     6     7

C     D     E     F     G     A     B

      9           11          13    14
"2" and "4" we also don't use as a rule. When adding the D to a C chord, the convention is to call it "Cadd9" and not "C2" although you do see a lot of that these days, as Tom noted (also, for some reason one sees "2" chords a lot in modern praise and gospel music books these days - go figure) "4" is traditionally understood as being the substitute for "3" in a suspended chord. Likewise, "2" is also becoming more accepted as part of the suspended chord family even though technically it's not.

Anyway, allowing for convention, that takes care of all the numbers from 1 through 5.

"6" we need. C6 is C, E, G and A. But it is possible to add the A later, as you'll see, so we can't get rid of "13."

"7" we also need. Whether a dominant 7 or a major 7, that note (B for the maj7 and Bb for the dominant 7) is only going to be used once. So we can eliminate "14" from our chart as well:

Code: Select all

1     2     3     4     5     6     7

C     D     E     F     G     A     B

      9           11          13    
"9" can either be an "add" as mentioned before, or a full 9, which means that the D note is stacked on top of either the C7 or Cmaj7 to create either C9 (C, E, G, Bb, D) or Cmaj9 (C, E, G. B. D).

Likewise, you can technically add an "11" - C, E, G, F - but it's not too common. C11 (C, E, G, Bb, D, F) and Cmaj11 (C, E, G, B, D, F) are viable chords.

Finally, C13 would be C, E, G, Bb, D, F and A while Cmaj13 would be C, E, G, B, F, D and A.

And that takes care of all the numbers.

Yes, you can make arguments for, say, a chord with C, E, G, B and Bb - but the theorists would call this Cmaj7(#13), if I'm not mistaken. Tom will hopefully let me know if I'm wrong about that. He'd better!

Hope this helps. By the bye, I first saw this layout in one of Len Collins' Guitar Breakthrough videos. It does make thing a little easier visually for many students.

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Re: Chords and theory

Post by fleaaaaaa » May 16th, 2012, 10:44 pm

Thanks David, I am really feeling like I am getting my head around this - been doing ear training for intervals online too :P I am not there at all with that yet - I can do 1 3 5 and perfect octave because that is like a major chord arpeggio.
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Re: Chords and theory

Post by dhodge » May 17th, 2012, 5:12 am

Gald to hear it. You've got a lot of good folks here at the GN Forums (Tom, Alan and more than I can possibly name!) that can help (and who enjoy doing so) so don't stop using the place as a resource!

Be chatting again soon.

Peace

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