<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
The name of a chord is determined by the relationship to the tonic of every note in the chord.

Introduction

Once you know how to name triads (please see Triads and Naming Triads ), you need only a few more rules to be able to name all of the most common chords.

This skill is necessary for those studying music theory. It's also very useful at a "practical" level for composers, arrangers, and performers (especially people playing chords, like pianists and guitarists), who need to be able to talk to each other about the chords that they are reading, writing, and playing.

Chord manuals, fingering charts, chord diagrams, and notes written out on a staff are all very useful, especially if the composer wants a very particular sound on a chord. But all you really need to know are the name of the chord, your major scales and minor scales , and a few rules, and you can figure out the notes in any chord for yourself.

    What do you need to know to be able to name most chords?

  1. You must know your major, minor, augmented and diminished triads. Either have them all memorized, or be able to figure them out following the rules for triads. (See Triads and Naming Triads .)
  2. You must be able to find intervals from the root of the chord. One way to do this is by using the rules for intervals. (See Interval .) Or if you know your scales and don't want to learn about intervals, you can use the method in #3 instead.
  3. If you know all your scales (always a good thing to know, for so many reasons), you can find all the intervals from the root using scales. For example, the "4" in Csus4 is the 4th note in a C (major or minor) scale, and the "minor 7th" in Dm7 is the 7th note in a D (natural) minor scale. If you would prefer this method, but need to brush up on your scales, please see Major Keys and Scales and Minor Keys and Scales .
  4. You need to know the rules for the common seventh chords , for extending and altering chords, for adding notes , and for naming bass notes . The basic rules for these are all found below.

Please note that the modern system of chord symbols, discussed below, is very different from the figured bass shorthand popular in the seventeenth century (which is not discussed here). For example, the "6" in figured bass notation implies the first inversion chord, not an added 6. (As of this writing, there was a very straightforward summary of figured bass at Ars Nova Software .)

Chord symbols

Some instrumentalists, such as guitarists and pianists, are sometimes expected to be able to play a named chord, or an accompaniment based on that chord, without seeing the notes written out in common notation . In such cases, a chord symbol above the staff tells the performer what chord should be used as accompaniment to the music until the next symbol appears.

Chord symbols

A chord symbol above the staff is sometimes the only indication of which notes should be used in the accompaniment . Chord symbols also may be used even when an accompaniment is written out, so that performers can read either the chord symbol or the notated music, as they prefer.

Questions & Answers

a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
kkk nice
Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
Kim
y=10×
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
is it 3×y ?
Joan Reply
J, combine like terms 7x-4y
Bridget Reply
im not good at math so would this help me
Rachael Reply
how did I we'll learn this
Noor Reply
f(x)= 2|x+5| find f(-6)
Prince Reply
f(n)= 2n + 1
Samantha Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
QuizOver.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to music theory. OpenStax CNX. Mar 14, 2005 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10208/1.5
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Introduction to music theory' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask