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Thread: Chord Questions

  1. #1
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Chord Questions

    I printed a piece of music from MuseScore that has a couple of chords I don't understand:

    C(triangle symbol)7
    A-

    What are these?

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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    C Major 7th

    A minor
    Steve

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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Sherry, this link has been very useful for me:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_n...popular_music)
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    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    So, what does a notation such as "D/C" or "G/B" mean? I asked this of someone once but the answer didn't stick.

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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    So, what does a notation such as "D/C" or "G/B" mean? I asked this of someone once but the answer didn't stick.
    Usually that means D chord with a C bass, and G chord with a B bass.

    If I saw that in a song, I would try playing the D like this: 545x, which ends up being a D7 chord. That notation means: 5th fret on G string, 4th fret on D string, 5th fret on A string, and mute the E string.

    A G/B could look like this: 4523. It works but how it sounds within the context would be the deal maker or breaker.

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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by James Vwaal View Post
    Usually that means D chord with a C bass, and G chord with a B bass.
    So the mandolin plays D and G?

  10. #7

    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    So the mandolin plays D and G?
    Yeah, if you are playing with others, have the guitarists play the bass note, or a bass player, and you play the normal D or G chord.

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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    These bass notes generally indicate some sort of motion from chord to chord in a string of chords. Arguably the most common of such motions is the "walk down." Think of what is going on in songs like "Mr. Bojangles" or Jackson Browne's "These Days," though there are hundreds and hundreds of examples. Do they matter? Yes. A lot? Depends ... For mandolins, high-pitched instruments that they are, it's hard to say. If you are playing solo, where such motions would be more audible, probably yes. Even in a duo as well. If more instruments are involved, these bass notes become less noticeable. It doesn't hurt to play them, as they will be reinforced by similar notes played on guitar and/or bass. And it's cool. But since these notes are played an octave lower on a guitar than a mandolin, they are more prominent on that instrument.
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    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    To someone new to making music this can all be confusing and into the weeds. The note after the / is mainly there for information's sake and refers to the root used at that point. I like what Journeybear says and would only add to a relative beginner "don't worry about it". What I've always recommended to beginning musicians is to take a basic music theory corse. So much will be made clear once the rudiments are learned. Like night and day!!

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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Packard View Post
    To someone new to making music this can all be confusing and into the weeds. The note after the / is mainly there for information's sake and refers to the root used at that point. I like what Journeybear says and would only add to a relative beginner "don't worry about it". What I've always recommended to beginning musicians is to take a basic music theory corse. So much will be made clear once the rudiments are learned. Like night and day!!

    Billy
    Not to quibble, especially as a newcomer here, but the letter after the / indicates the bass note, not the root. So if a C chord in 'root' position is C E G a C/E chord is E C G (or similar 1st inversion voicing). If its C/A, as an example, you'd have an A minor 7 chord A C E G (or similar). More simply put: left of the / indicates a chord, right of the / indicates a single bass note.

    Just semantics, of course, but these things can be confusing for people trying to wrap their heads around all the markings, terms, etc.

    Mike

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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by diggida View Post
    Not to quibble, especially as a newcomer here, but the letter after the / indicates the bass note, not the root. So if a C chord in 'root' position is C E G a C/E chord is E C G (or similar 1st inversion voicing). If its C/A, as an example, you'd have an A minor 7 chord A C E G (or similar). More simply put: left of the / indicates a chord, right of the / indicates a single bass note.

    Just semantics, of course, but these things can be confusing for people trying to wrap their heads around all the markings, terms, etc.

    Mike
    Not to quibble, but C/A would suggest C6.

    Hope this helps.
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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    You’re right, it indicates the bass note. Very handy for guitar players with moving bass lines.
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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    Not to quibble, but C/A would suggest C6.

    Hope this helps.
    Same collection of notes, of course, but voicing and context may determine which spelling makes the intention clearer(e.g if its a ii chord in a ii-V). I understand many people prefer to think of it that way.

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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    A lot of chord charts are intended for guitar players. Having only four notes that you can play you have to make decisions about what they are. With extended chords you may not be able to get all the notes. When inversions (specific order of the notes in the chord) are given, you may not be able to use them. The same is true of bass lines under chords. There is no rule to determine what to do. You have to try different ways and decide what works best for you in your playing situation for that specific song.

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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by diggida View Post
    the letter after the / indicates the bass note, not the root ... left of the / indicates a chord, right of the / indicates a single bass note.
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by diggida View Post
    If its C/A, as an example, you'd have an A minor 7 chord A C E G (or similar).
    No.

    I'm simplifying a bit, but generally speaking, these notations indicate transitory chords - that is, chords in a fairly quickly changing chord pattern. For instance, in Jackson Browne's "These Days" (I mention this because it's a pretty clear example), the pattern in the front part of the verse is:

    C C/B C/A C/G | F ..... [I don't know what key he does it in; I'm putting the song in C for consistency and ease of reference in this discussion.]

    I suppose this would be notated most correctly including C/C and F/F, but I don't recall offhand seeing those notations. I'm doing this by memory/imagination, BTW.

    C/A isn't really a C6 or Am7 chord in this context, even though for the duration of that beat the notes in either of those chords are being played. It's a C chord. Indeed, those four chords are C chords, and one could simply play a bar of C and a bar of F and it would be alright. In a sense, this is more of an arrangement than actual composition, and one could just as easily simply play the walk-down instead of the chords, if one has the requisite coordination. Or one could play the chords and let another instrument, be it bass, piano, or guitar, play that figure.
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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Yes.



    No.

    I'm simplifying a bit, but generally speaking, these notations indicate transitory chords - that is, chords in a fairly quickly changing chord pattern. For instance, in Jackson Browne's "These Days" (I mention this because it's a pretty clear example), the pattern in the front part of the verse is:

    C C/B C/A C/G | F ..... [I don't know what key he does it in; I'm putting the song in C for consistency and ease of reference in this discussion.]

    I suppose this would be notated most correctly including C/C and F/F, but I don't recall offhand seeing those notations. I'm doing this by memory/imagination, BTW.

    C/A isn't really a C6 or Am7 chord in this context, even though for the duration of that beat the notes in either of those chords are being played. It's a C chord. Indeed, those four chords are C chords, and one could simply play a bar of C and a bar of F and it would be alright. In a sense, this is more of an arrangement than actual composition, and one could just as easily simply play the walk-down instead of the chords, if one has the requisite coordination. Or one could play the chords and let another instrument, be it bass, piano, or guitar, play that figure.
    Fair enough! ;-) I suppose my random choice of example was a poor one, haha.

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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Not really. It's just a little misleading. The main thing in the X/Y notation is the motion in the bass note.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  28. #18

    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    The main thing in the X/Y notation is the motion in the bass note.
    Yeah, J-Bear, you bring up a good point. I rarely see an X/Y chord in a song unless it is for a moving bass line. The best example that I can think of right away is John Hartford's "Work in Tall Buildings" song.

    I have some sheet music of it in the key of D.

    Chord progression goes: D D/C# D/B D/A G at the start of each verse. My bass player plays the bass line (as does the piano player), but I found the following chord shapes on the mandolin work well for playing this either by myself or with the trio.

    D : 745x
    D/C# : 645x
    D/B : 445x
    D/A : 245x
    G : 0023

    Hearing that moving bass line under my own fingers helps me keep the correct tempo. It would sound weird to play a straight D over the moving part before the G chord.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Vwaal View Post
    It would sound weird to play a straight D over the moving part before the G chord.
    It might not matter too much if you hadn't heard it being played that way, and then, most likely several times or more. That ingrains in your mind an image of the song, so that any rendition without that element is going to set off a little bell in your head.

    I used to sweat playing that stuff, especially if the sheet music were written with the chords like C Cma7 C6 C/G F or some such, until I figured out that was an attempt to replicate a bass line. I might still make the effort, though not necessarily on the G string. I feel the A string is most prominent, so for that I might do something like 5233 5223 5203 5545 2335, with the walk-down in the middle of the chords. Sometimes I'll get even more complicated, and find chords that contain the walk-down notes, creating a whole progression where there may not really be a need for one. Ye Olde I IIIm VIm is just that sort of thing. It all depends.

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    Question Re: Chord Questions

    Chords being, basically 3 notes , there are 3 inversions.. each of the 3 notes being the bass /lowest tone..

    Last edited by mandroid; Jul-02-2021 at 6:51pm. Reason: Relating to "D/C" or "G/B" question..
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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Chords being, basically 3 notes , there are 3 inversions.. each of the 3 notes being the bass /lowest tone..

    But there are 2 locations for each inversion, an octave apart.
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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    But the bass note indicated by the slash does not have to be a chord tone.

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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    What we are discussing here are so-called Slash Chords, which were invented by the erstwhile guitarrist from Guns'n'Roses...

    Levity aside, if you are playing with another chord playing instrument, such as a piano or a guitar, slavishly following chord charts can often produce clashes which are at best interesting, at worst just plain awful. Journeybear's advice to leave out the complications is often the best approach, especially in a jam situation. One trick I often use in the descending bass line that has been used here as an example (C, C/B, C/A, C/G) is to play only 2 notes, the root and the descending bit transposed up a 6th - in C for example, using only the G and D strings it would be 57xx 55xx 54xx 53xx. It adds colour to whats going on and seldom sounds wrong.

    Chords, by the way, are not "basically 3 notes" - that is called a triad. Many chords consist of 4 tones, think G7 (G,B,D,F) or the "Tristan Chord" (F,B,D#,G#), an impossibility on the mandolin.
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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by lowtone2 View Post
    But the bass note indicated by the slash does not have to be a chord tone.
    Right - passing notes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Polecat View Post
    ... the "Tristan Chord" (F,B,D#,G#), an impossibility on the mandolin.
    Eh? Don't know what that is - G#m6, perhaps? - but it's not impossible: 1121 On the mandolin, always inversions. But it won't have the same tonality, or as I see from reading up on it, if the root is F, the same effect.

    Also, chords can have five or more tones, though then it's getting into jazz. And of course those chords can't be played on the mandolin - some tones have to be omitted. The trick is for the notes played to have a similar sound to the full chord indicated, as close as possible. Again, as has been pointed out, in an ensemble situation all the notes are going to be played by someone or other.
    Last edited by journeybear; Jul-03-2021 at 8:36am. Reason: thought of something else
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    Default Re: Chord Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    Chords being, basically 3 notes , there are 3 inversions.. each of the 3 notes being the bass /lowest tone..

    Triads are three notes. Chords can have up to seven notes. Even with three note chords you have three inversions and six different voicings before you even get into octaves. Throw in non chord tones in the bass and you have a lot of popcorn to choose from.

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