You are here

Standard chord notation

Arrangement, instrumentation, lyric writing, music theory, inspiration… it’s all here.

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby Wurlitzer » Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:50 pm

onesecondglance wrote:hi Wurlitzer, just out of interest, C-D-G can sound (in some contexts) more "C" to me than "G", hence i would say (as above) that that is Csus2 and not an inversion of Gsus4. is there a reason it should be Gsus4/C or is this just another way of seeing the "same" chord? just for my future reference... (i.e. is calling it "sus2" bad form, as technically you can only have sus4? or something?)

No, it can just as rightly be described as Csus2, that's a perfectly accepted notation. And if you're thinking of it with a C root, that probably makes more sense.
Wurlitzer
Regular
Posts: 401
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2002 12:00 am

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby David Etheridge » Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:39 pm

Knut Skaarberg wrote:Thanks for the thorough reply!

I agree in principle on could write C-F-Bb as Fsus4/C, but that indicate it resolves to F/C, wouldn't it? As a piano player I would tend to play with different positions of the "double quarter" chords over a C bass, such as

G-C-F
A-D-G
C-F-Bb
D-G-C

and so on. Maybe that's a bit on the edge of what standard chord notation is useful for. :D

Hi Knut,
if you did this with C in the bass, the chords could be annotated as:
(C) G C F : Csus4
(C) A D G: C6/9 (no 3rd)
(C) C F Bb: C7sus
(C) D G C : C2.
and to my ears C D G sounds simply like a C2.

Hope this helps,

Dave.
:lol:
David Etheridge
Regular
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2002 11:00 pm
Lots of Ataris which keep on going, 12 Kurzweil 1000 modules, a bunch of hardware synths. Still recording to tape -the old ways are best.....

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby onesecondglance » Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:24 pm

Wurlitzer wrote:
onesecondglance wrote:hi Wurlitzer, just out of interest, C-D-G can sound (in some contexts) more "C" to me than "G", hence i would say (as above) that that is Csus2 and not an inversion of Gsus4. is there a reason it should be Gsus4/C or is this just another way of seeing the "same" chord? just for my future reference... (i.e. is calling it "sus2" bad form, as technically you can only have sus4? or something?)

No, it can just as rightly be described as Csus2, that's a perfectly accepted notation. And if you're thinking of it with a C root, that probably makes more sense.

excellent. always nice to know you've not made an idiotic remark in public :D
User avatar
onesecondglance
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1263
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:00 am

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby Tony D » Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:18 am

Hello David.
I read your review a while ago of the BASSIX Electric Bass.
I currently play an ARIA SB1 Electric Upright. It is OK ish at low volume but when I take it up a bit it goes into the fretless bass guitar sounding.
Your review of the BASSIX made it sound that maybe it would be worth investing in. Would you recommend the BASSIX.??

Regards
Tony Dunmore
Tony D
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:00 am

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby IvanSC » Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:05 pm

Tony D wrote:Hello David.
I read your review a while ago of the BASSIX Electric Bass.
I currently play an ARIA SB1 Electric Upright. It is OK ish at low volume but when I take it up a bit it goes into the fretless bass guitar sounding.
Your review of the BASSIX made it sound that maybe it would be worth investing in. Would you recommend the BASSIX.??

Regards
Tony Dunmore

Not sure why you are in Music Theory with this but a few words from me on MY experience with EUB`s.

PLayed a Clevinger in the USA back in er 83 or 84.
The full size one was excellent, the Baby sounded like a fretless bass guitar.

Fast forward to last year.

Picked up a pretty crappy ol dupright and have been slowly making headway on it.

In the meantime I have played two or three more EUB`s, all of them short scale, as this BASSIX appears to be.

They don`tplay like an upright and they don`t sound like one either.

If BASSIX do a full (40-42") scale EUB, that might be a horse of a different color, but for the time being I am looking into a pickup for my doghouse.

Eager posters please note: An AFFORDABLE pickup for my upright.
User avatar
IvanSC
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2981
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2005 12:00 am
Location: UK France & USA depending on the time of year.
Let me share my recipe for Wabbit stew with you!

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby David Etheridge » Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:54 am

Hi Tony and Ivan,
yes, the Bassix range are essentially 3/4 scale basses, which means they're still longer in scale than yer average electric cricket bat.
The pickups on the Bassix range combine Piezos on the bridge PLUS extra pickups at the top (bridge) end of the fingerboard. The resulting combination provides to my ears the most faithful sound of a genuine double bass I've ever heard, and way better than Y**(-you know who) :roll: :blush:
Also at £1100 for the top end one, Bassix is much cheaper!
So they sound right, and they do play like a double bass, once you get over the culture shock of not have a large body to wrap yourself around/support your beer gut (delete applicable).
For me the only drawback is that Bassix don't do a 5 string! :protest:

Dave.
:lol:


........and now, back to chord notation! :D
David Etheridge
Regular
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2002 11:00 pm
Lots of Ataris which keep on going, 12 Kurzweil 1000 modules, a bunch of hardware synths. Still recording to tape -the old ways are best.....

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby BluesMeister » Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:22 am

David Etheridge wrote:Diminished chords: Co; the o is a superscript placed next to the top half of the C but I can't do that on this computer!
As in C° :)

Alt+248 (on the keypad)
User avatar
BluesMeister
Poster
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2008 12:00 am

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby Musomech » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:55 pm

Hi Folks
Read the thread on the notation of chords. Well - has any one else come across the use of Tonic Sol-fa used for writing chords? Some while ago, 1960’s I was working the American Bases in France and one Saturday night the floor show was an Italian speciality act. They had their own MD with them and when he handed out the dots the bass and guitar parts were written out with chord symbols I didn’t recognise. An example of which appeared thus.
Written on standard manuscript paper, the first to appear was the appropriate clef symbol, bass for me, followed by the key signature – then Doh 6/// Lah m7/// Ray m7b5/// Soh 9/// Doh 6/ Doh 9/ Fah 7/// Fah m7/// Doh 6 /// Soh 7 /// Doh M7 /// etc etc. After a number of choruses a key change, indicated by an appropriate key signature and then Doh 6 /// Lah m7 /// etc. I eventually sussed it out half way through the second act. I’ve never come across parts like this again and I don’t think I want to.
Musomech
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:00 am

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby Ian Stewart » Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:42 pm

Musomech wrote:Hi Folks
Read the thread on the notation of chords. Well - has any one else come across the use of Tonic Sol-fa used for writing chords? Some while ago, 1960’s I was working the American Bases in France and one Saturday night the floor show was an Italian speciality act. They had their own MD with them and when he handed out the dots the bass and guitar parts were written out with chord symbols I didn’t recognise. An example of which appeared thus.
Written on standard manuscript paper, the first to appear was the appropriate clef symbol, bass for me, followed by the key signature – then Doh 6/// Lah m7/// Ray m7b5/// Soh 9/// Doh 6/ Doh 9/ Fah 7/// Fah m7/// Doh 6 /// Soh 7 /// Doh M7 /// etc etc. After a number of choruses a key change, indicated by an appropriate key signature and then Doh 6 /// Lah m7 /// etc. I eventually sussed it out half way through the second act. I’ve never come across parts like this again and I don’t think I want to.

I have come across this a lot as I often used to read off Italian popular songs' sheet music. You get used to it very quickly, assuming the music is not too complicated (i.e. Giant Steps).
Ian Stewart
Frequent Poster
Posts: 659
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 11:00 pm

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby Tony Long » Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:14 pm

Hi,

As a keyboard player, I hate the way chords and bass notes are expressed as the chord first slash the bass note. For example a Gm7 with a C bass is Gm7/C.

I prefer my own system whereby the bass note for my left hand is on the left and the chord in my right hand is on the right. So I would write the above example as c-Gm7. Visually and logically my brain takes these in naturally without having to cross them over. This has always worked for me but I am sure those guitarist out there would disagree, especially as most of them leave out the other notes. They will probably want the Gm7 to be their first thought and then as an after thought think about the possibility of playing the C bass - only kidding. Seriously from a keyboard point of view I have found this is far easier.

Tony Long
tonylongmusic.co.uk
Tony Long
New here
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 11:00 pm

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby David Etheridge » Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:15 am

Hi Tony,
I actually disagree with you on this. Mind you, I can understand C7+9+11 13 quite happily, but the slash chord system is very useful for those folks who can't get their head around upper structure tones of a more complex chord.
take your example, which might ordinarily be written C11.
Now to the beginner, that works out as C-E-G-Bb-D-F -in theory at least.
In practice you won't use the 3rd E because it will clash with the 11th F -unless you like 'orrible clashes! When dealing with 13th and 11th chords you can leave out the lower tones to get the full smooth voicing. So you have in your left hand C and in the right G-Bb-D-F = Gm7.
Likewise if you used C11 13 you could write that as Gm9/C or (if you leave out both the E and G) Bbmaj7/C
Which seems a lot simpler and quite logical to me.
With C13 you can leave out tones and get an effective voicing as C-Bb-E-A (you can add G if you like) although as far as I know there's no slash equivalent!

Hope this helps,
Best wishes,
Dave
:lol:
David Etheridge
Regular
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2002 11:00 pm
Lots of Ataris which keep on going, 12 Kurzweil 1000 modules, a bunch of hardware synths. Still recording to tape -the old ways are best.....

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby GaryM » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:19 pm

I've got some sheet music (While My Guitar Gently Weeps) which has a chord notated as a D with a superscript 9 and a subscript 7 next to it. What's this called?
GaryM
Regular
Posts: 339
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:00 am
Location: Dundee, UK

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby koolbass » Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:08 am

[/quote]As a rule it's considered poor form (by those Bach fans among us) to mix and match sharps and flats within a chord.
The consistancy of this approach alows for all dim 7 chords to be correctly recorded without ever mixing #s and bs, so, for instance, F#dim is F# A C (and i'd always write c natural), D#. Gbdim is, rather horribly Gb Bbb Dbb Fbb. Yuk!

Yours, pretensiously,


EmGee ;) [/quote]

Dear EmGee,
You may wish to re-examine your spelling of F#dim7. A "dim7 is built on stacked minor 3rds, as you stated with Gb. So your "D#" really should be "Eb" for two reasons:
1. C to D# is a "#2" not a "b3"
2. The seventh scale degree of an F# is some sort of "E"; in this case "Eb"
I understand some people's aversion for mixing sharps and flats, but a "dim7" chord is not a diatonic chord, so it will necessarily contain an accidental not common to the key.

Respectfully,

Lance "koolbass" Martin
User avatar
koolbass
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon May 03, 2004 11:00 pm
Location: Nashville, TN USA
Lance "koolbass" Martin BoogieHouseMusic.com

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby David Etheridge » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:47 am

Actually Emgee,
Bach never had to play jazz or show material. You'll find that sharps and flats are mixed in chords with gay abandon -particularly diminished 7ths and extensions. In fact this last weekend I was on a band call for a presentation of 'Crazy for you' which features lots of tap dancing and jazz standards and we were trying to work out the chords for the guitarist from the piano part. Many of them made no sense at all until you start thinking enharmonically (F#s to Gbs etc) and at one point in the score the piano parts were flat chords, but the vocal parts above were printed in sharp keys :shock: :roll:
I suppose it all helps in the rehearsing.......

Best wishes,
Dave.
David Etheridge
Regular
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Apr 09, 2002 11:00 pm
Lots of Ataris which keep on going, 12 Kurzweil 1000 modules, a bunch of hardware synths. Still recording to tape -the old ways are best.....

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby Billum » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:40 am

Sorry, raking over old ground here, but I'd like to pick up on the C2 notation mentioned earlier... I find this notation ambiguous, as it could mean 'replace the third with the second', as in the example above: CDG, or it could mean 'add the second to the complete triad', which would be: CDEG - cf: C6 which adds the 6th to the complete triad.

Is it better to write CDG as Csus2, because you are suspending the third and replacing it with the 2nd, and CDEG as Cadd2 (or maybe C2 if you ask really nicely)?
Billum
Regular
Posts: 287
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: London

 


Re: Standard chord notation

Postby Daniel Davis » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:06 pm

Knut Skaarberg wrote:
Daniel Davis wrote:Just to clarify - inversions are decided by the lowest sounding note - and any other repositioning of notes are referred to as voicings.
If you play in a group with say a guitar and a bass guitar then any "inversion" the guitarist plays is just a voicing. the real inversion is decided by the bass player.
Equally the guitarist can play simpler(or just other) chords where required. e.g if the guitarist plays Em and the bass plays a C# it is a C#m7. Assuming there are other part to cover the gaps you can often get away (or even improve) your voicings by leaving out notes. The power chord is just one example of this.
An Em with C# bass would be a C#m7(b5), wouldn't it?

Anyway, does anyone here know what's the standard notation for open voicings (no 3rd) such as C-D-G, C-G, C-G-Bb, C-D-F-G etc? What about quarter chords (4th, but no 3rd or 5th) such as C-F-Bb?

BTW, it's a great pleasure to meet all of you! ;)

bugger, I meant E with C# bass! thanks for the correction.
Daniel Davis
Regular
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:00 am

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby oggyb » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:54 pm

I find the conversation on grammar of sharps and flats quite interesting. As a composer and engraver of choral music I get to make that sort of decision all the time, and the two "grammars" of harmony and voice leading are often at odds.

The only way to really know how a singer will read (or misread) the part is to mentally sing it yourself, and I find that most of my engravings contain enharmonic chromatic lines that are simple to sing but more difficult to interpret vertically.

The point about having flats in the keyboard part and sharps in the chorus parts is well made. Also, consider the needs of transposing instruments. Sometimes it's best to notate for these poor players in a different key entirely!

Another anecdotal fact: complex harmony may lead you to notate chords that don't actually exist. F flat minor, for instance. :smirk:
User avatar
oggyb
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1088
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:00 am
Location: Leeds, UK
Composer;
http://www.ogonline.org

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby dougzi » Sun Jul 24, 2011 2:15 pm

Chord structure 101 boys... Years ago, when I first starting playing guitar and piano, it was seriously confusing, but if you use a midi/digital piano in your production, then sitting down with a chord chart get can you a long way in short time. Take your [ ****** ] to the next level
User avatar
dougzi
New here
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:00 pm

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby Gritter » Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:07 pm

I'm finding Progression for the ipad very useful for notation. In the past I've only used tabs and chord charts but now I'm learning to read notation for the first time! I soon will be able to jam with my daughter the violinist. I also recommend Notion for the ipad...a powerful composing app for the whole orchestra. amazing!
Gritter
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:00 am

Re: Standard chord notation

Postby Aurongroove » Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:06 am

In tonal music the idea is you write harmony with correct "grammer" no matter how out of the way things end up

i.e., bviidim7 in Cmajor is Bb, Db, Fb, Abb and so fourth, with all you're weird notes you'd never 'spell' in everyday playing.
Or a chord containing C, Gb (a Diminished 5th) theoretically wants to resolve inward; the Gb wants to fall to F. (with perhaps the C, going up to D)
where as C, F# (an Augmented 4th) wants to resolve outward: the F# wants to rise to G (with perhaps the C falling to B)


Anyway once you're not dealing with "traditional" harmony, for example in the instance of serialist music, atonal writing or other things, the preferred grammar changes. You no longer bend over backward to name intervals according to their function but instead you just designate a name to each semitone from the offset be it "whites and sharps only" or "whites and flats only" and either don't flop from one to the other at all, or if you must and have a very good reason to, not willy-nil-lily or illogically.

The other complication is microtonality, (notes in-between semi tones) in which case the same rules apply only on a finer scale. Unless you're indicating special fingering on particular instruments, you ought to select four terms in a row from the following array of seven and stick to them for the whole piece: [3/4 flat], [flat], ([1/4] [flat], [natural], [1/4 sharp], [sharp]), [3/4 sharp]. The four in the red bracket would be what I'd use. You'd also need to sort out the definite names given to the micro tones between semi tone whites i.e. if you call the microtone between B&C "C1/4b" don't then call it "B1/4#" elsewhere in the same piece (again, unless you have a good logical reason too).
User avatar
Aurongroove
Regular
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:00 pm
Location: West Ireland
I'm hope I'm alive to see the 70's

PreviousNext

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users