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Recognizing chords


chigson
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I still feel new to the forum and am not sure if these kind of topics are appropriate here, so correct me if i'm wrong.

 

So, how do you guys train yourselves to quickly figure out which chord is which?

For example, see the linked image:

I had to spend some time looking and playing different alterations of chords at an image, to know for sure what are they (that's especially hard when the root is omitted).

So, the question is, how to train/exercise to recognize chords faster? How do you practice to improve in that direction? Maybe someone can point me to a good book or article describing that problem.

 

if you can't tell the difference, does it matter?
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It comes from playing progressions/sequences a lot and knowing these really common voicings by heart.

 

At the same time, It's unusual to see them notated without chord symbols in transcriptions. Where did this particular example come from?

 

You can begin studying different voicing techniques - left, right, two hands. The more you play the more makes sense.

 

There's been lots of books on the topic over the years, and of course a good teacher would offer insight that's difficult to get from a book. But google is free and a good place to start.

 

https://www.thejazzresource.com/two_handed_voicings.html

 

https://www.learnjazzstandards.com/blog/learning-jazz/piano/encyclopedia-two-hand-jazz-piano-voicings/

 

http://www.khabdha.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/piano-chapter-chords.pdf

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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I still feel new to the forum and am not sure if these kind of topics are appropriate here, so correct me if i'm wrong.

 

This is a great question for the forum. Welcome!

 

It comes from playing sequences a lot and knowing these really common voicing by heart. It's unusual to see them notated without chord symbols - you can begin studying different voicing techniques - left, right, two hands. The more you play the more makes sense.

 

Yep. You just have to have done a bleep ton of reading and jazz playing. The muscle develops slowly but surely.

 

One practical way to do it is to play a couple standards in the same key to focus on one particular set of voicings. If you took some time with a tune like 'Alone Together' or 'Nature Boy' (both in Dm) and worked up some voicings of your own using Mark Levine's Left hand voicings from the Jazz Piano Book, you might see those exact voicings several times. See them thousands of times over the course of years and it becomes instant recognition.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

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This is the book I'm talking about. This is a great guide to those kinds of voicings. Spend some time with this book and you'll have a much quicker intuition about them!

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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Yeah, that's definitely a good book, thanks! I already started reading it few days ago, along with "Joe Mulholland & Tom Hojnacki - The Berklee Book of Jazz Harmony"

 

Great stuff!

 

Here's a humble suggestion from something I've learned the hard way over the years. When you're reading books about all this stuff, sometimes it's better to just focus on one single book for a month or so (or even year!) rather than reading several books about it. Why? It can overwhelming when there are so many books to read and you can end up spinning in circles. Not everybody maybe, but I know I used to. I would strongly focus on one book or the other for awhile just so you can narrow your scope and make greater headway with the way it is presented. Then when you have thoroughly grasped a lot of the info and chapters and seen real fruit in your playing, try out another book.

 

That's worked for me anyway but of course do what you want.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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This is the book I'm talking about. This is a great guide to those kinds of voicings. Spend some time with this book and you'll have a much quicker intuition about them!

 

When I got that book, it rocked my world so hard that I literally slept in the living room for a few days so I could keep waking up and trying stuff immediately on the piano.

"
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I once talked to a pianist who had made a career of being a sight-reading guru; like, he's the guy they call in when the pianist has blown it and not learned the piece, and they need someone who can read it down on the spot. This was his simple explanation for how he does it:

 

How fluent are you at reading the English language? And, how many minutes per day do you spend reading the English language? Now, how many minutes a day do you spend sight-reading music? That's the answer. There is literally nothing more to it than that.

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Problem for me reading classical music I never learned to read chord symbols and being older it's a bitch to understand it. The style is tough if your used to the gospel, rock or pop world.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

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sometimes it's better to just focus on one single book for a month or so (or even year!) rather than reading several books about it

I totally agree. The only reason I started reading both at the same time is that I didn't know if they any of them was considered 'good' amongst players

if you can't tell the difference, does it matter?
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Read whatever "gets you there" and don't spend another second worrying about what anyone else might say about it. I've never been on a gig where either musicians or audience members discussed what books might be on someone's shelf. All that matters is how you play. If "Jazz Voicings for Dummies" is your secret sauce, go for it.

 

There is definitely a "membrane" between wherever someone is, and the "understanding" that busts open a concept for them. But not everyone gets through the membrane the same way. For some it's listening to recordings over and over until something clicks. For some it's reading something and realizing what you've been hearing. For some it's mentorship/private lessons. In all cases, that understanding is sealed via playing over and over, and is personal to the individual involved.

 

So go with whatever "key" might suit your learning style, and never worry again about what others might think. They are not going to play your chords for you or take your solos for you or comprehend your ideas for you, so ignore that little bit of destructive internal narration and power ahead whatever way works best for you.

 

Best of luck,

"
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I still feel new to the forum and am not sure if these kind of topics are appropriate here, so correct me if i'm wrong.

 

So, how do you guys train yourselves to quickly figure out which chord is which?

For example, see the linked image:

I had to spend some time looking and playing different alterations of chords at an image, to know for sure what are they (that's especially hard when the root is omitted).

So, the question is, how to train/exercise to recognize chords faster? How do you practice to improve in that direction? Maybe someone can point me to a good book or article describing that problem.

 

I come at this question of chords from a fundamentals pov.

In the beginning I learned on my own. So I necessarily dealt with triads.

 

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Read whatever "gets you there" and don't spend another second worrying about what anyone else might say about it. I've never been on a gig where either musicians or audience members discussed what books might be on someone's shelf. All that matters is how you play. If "Jazz Voicings for Dummies" is your secret sauce, go for it.

 

There is definitely a "membrane" between wherever someone is, and the "understanding" that busts open a concept for them. But not everyone gets through the membrane the same way. For some it's listening to recordings over and over until something clicks. For some it's reading something and realizing what you've been hearing. For some it's mentorship/private lessons. In all cases, that understanding is sealed via playing over and over, and is personal to the individual involved.

 

So go with whatever "key" might suit your learning style, and never worry again about what others might think. They are not going to play your chords for you or take your solos for you or comprehend your ideas for you, so ignore that little bit of destructive internal narration and power ahead whatever way works best for you.

 

Best of luck,

 

Thank you for this!

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If "Jazz Voicings for Dummies" is your secret sauce, go for it.
What, there's a "Jazz Voicings for Dummies"??? Why didn't anyone tell me? I've been spending all this time trying to figure out "Jazz Voicings for the Omniscient" and "Jazz Voicings for Bastards" and this could have saved me all that time and effort. :taz::mad:

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I don't want to be disrespectful, MathOfInsects, but that advice doesn't really say anything. 'Just do whatever suits you' doesn't get you anywhere - if I knew what is the best way of learning for me - I wouldn't be here asking for advices.
if you can't tell the difference, does it matter?
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I though about getting lessons, but I don't know any teachers in my city, or even people who study music with teachers, and I can't force myself to go to some college or conservatory, looking for teachers (the ones that will probably ask me for half a month salary for a lesson)
if you can't tell the difference, does it matter?
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I don't want to be disrespectful, MathOfInsects, but that advice doesn't really say anything. 'Just do whatever suits you' doesn't get you anywhere - if I knew what is the best way of learning for me - I wouldn't be here asking for advices.

 

Glad you posted here, and I hope you find the help you're looking for.

 

I was referring specifically to this comment of yours:

 

The only reason I started reading both at the same time is that I didn't know if they any of them was considered 'good' amongst players

 

I was simply encouraging you not to worry too much about what "players" think, just find whatever way in makes it "click" for you. It's possible I misunderstood that comment though, and if so, apologies for the hijack.

 

Best of luck to you.

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Oh, then it makes more sense to me. Well, there are already some good advices here, definitely enough to start working :)

There's been lots of books on the topic over the years, and of course a good teacher would offer insight that's difficult to get from a book. But google is free and a good place to start.

 

https://www.thejazzresource.com/two_handed_voicings.html

 

https://www.learnjazzstandards.com/blog/learning-jazz/piano/encyclopedia-two-hand-jazz-piano-voicings/

 

http://www.khabdha.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/piano-chapter-chords.pdf

I just noticed you posted a link to LJS website - I've listened to their podcast for a while now, and I think there are some really good advices for jazz musicians there

if you can't tell the difference, does it matter?
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These thoughts are not organized ideally.

 

Before I go on: You ask how to recognize chords.. There are at least three or four ways.

written notes

aurally

mentally

hands on keyboard

 

It is important to utilize all approaches to recognizing chords.

 

the three chords in your image are below.

 

E

D

Bb

G Possible Roots or bass tones C Db (D) (E) (G) F# A (Bb)

 

 

F

C#

Bb

G Possible roots or bass tones C (Db) Eb E ( F ) ( G ) (Ab) A (Bb)

 

E

B

A

F Possible roots or bass tones C Db D ( E) (F) G (A) (B)

 

There is a difference between a root and a bass tone. In a C triad, the E in bass is not

a root... but it could be the lowest tone, aka a bass tone.

 

 

Jazz is taught in a way that is good ( Mark Levine... Berkeley ) in the sense, it shows you sound combinations that fit a modern jazz style.

But limiting because that view point excludes earlier note combinations found in music just prior to the currently hip jazz style.

 

If you start your understanding of harmony from the simplest ( over looked or minimized in modern jazz academia ) point, the triad,

you will less likely be overwhelmed.

 

Eg I do not entirely appreciate the notion that a chord symbol for C means not only C triad but C with various combination of B , A, F#, D, In other words Cmajor 7 C 6/9 etc

I think of C as root position triad. I am conscious of the two inversions as well, and as distinct from the root position C chord

 

Same idea when you add the next logical note, the seventh. Not only are there seventh chords, but there are three inversions of each of them.

And there are seven seventh chords in a major key center or tonality.

 

Always remember chords and scales are highly associated.

 

Modern jazz teaching focuses too much on only chords and progressions that are stylish. And style means the times mandated as cool by the powers that be in jazz academia.

 

My view is more open ended.

Jazz academia also over emphasizes harmony over melody.

 

My approach is perhaps slower... but I say start from the triad.

I assume you know about diatonic ( Roman numeral Euro tradition is associated with Diatonic , which means pertaining to the key )

harmony and how it is intimately associated with the scale of that key

eg C scale Key of C and the seven ( often in Roman numeral form eg I ii iii IV V vi vii ) chords derived from the major scale?

 

Mark Levine shows this in one of his books on theory. But it is commonly found in any number books that are much older.

 

Regarding starting from simplicity, the triad: the so called upper structure triads.. were discovered by me by the time I was a teen.

I had been having fun with triads for a long time as a boy... and little by little I noticed through exploration that this or that triad sounded cool over this seventh structure.

Eventually I had made a collection of combinations that I much later found out, that jazz academia labeled upper structure triads.

 

Regarding learning as much on your own versus having the Levine book hand you everything on a platter:

It was the incomparably great Bill Evans who spoke of not giving the student too much information , taking away from him the opportunity to make these many many discoveries on their own.

 

This has been posted before, but is so valuable that place it here again.

You can ignore the Steve Allen part,, and Bill's beloved brother Harry Evans is not the point of this either.

 

[video:youtube]

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Problem for me reading classical music I never learned to read chord symbols and being older it's a bitch to understand it. The style is tough if your used to the gospel, rock or pop world.

 

Are you serious? To me, reading classical music is far more difficult then mere chord symbols.

 

Just start with simpler chord symbols.

 

So interesting how we get involved with making music in different ways.

Again the OP said something revealing. He said how to recognize chords, as if he were speaking of chord symbols or chords on a staff... in both cases, recognizing chords with the eye versus the hand or the ear or the brain.

We all learned differently...

so cool to see this reaffirmed.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I think you should find a teacher to guide you in a systematic fashion, otherwise, you may go off into too many directions at once, maybe someone who can Facetime with you.
Hammond SK1, Casio PX5s, Motif ES rack, Kawai MP5, Kawai ESS110, Yamaha S03, iPad, and a bunch of stuff in the closet.
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I think you should find a teacher to guide you in a systematic fashion, otherwise, you may go off into too many directions at once.

 

We do not know enough about his circumstance. But we do know a teacher is not in his immediate plans.

 

That is why I say expand from the known and explore... not on youtube, but as Bill Evans suggests.. explore at the piano.

Build from what you know.

 

Then post progress and or questions here.

 

An analogy

 

If I asked you your instinct in a fight situation

would it be punching blocking, bring him to ground , kicking etc

Sounds crazy, but it is not

Follow me

You have an existing unique relationship to the piano... a blend of ideas about music ( some call it music theory, but just a formation in your mind about harmony in particular )

and a kind of hand intelligence

I know how to play simple triad in many positions, it is instinctual for me. just like a sudden physical threat would elicit an ingrained response.

 

I am saying START from that instinct.. the combination of you knowledge of music that is secure within you, and those things you can play blind folded.

 

That ( WHERE YOU ARE AT ) is a basis for my proposal of your exploration.

Just try it... then after a short period post a specific question about what you are encountering.

 

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Headphone therapy is my savior. I can study books, sheet music, etc. Nothing matters more than playing through a piece over and over, trying different things, finding what works, etc. Pure joy.

 

I know of one killer player who did precisely what cphollis wisely suggests. it is a different route than I chose, but it will work.

Any method requires time spent where you are not even concerned about passage of time. ( Watching the clock ).

 

This player was guided by his Dad, not too far from Ukraine, btw, to listen to vinyl recordings and to painstakingly transcribe directly from his ear to the piano. No writing down the music.

This guy is one of the best players on this coast.

 

Dwelling on this issue It strikes me this way

I was told iq is partly a function of speed in apprehension of data.

The higher the iq, the faster the speed. Speed related to time dimension.

 

Ok, now I think about a story about the genius Erroll Garner

I recently read that as a boy, he attended a concert, and on returning home ( imagine his retention, his powerful musical memory!) he would play excepts of what he retained!!

That is a super iq... meaning you and I would take how many ( a function of time ) listenings, to do what he did all at once?

 

So all aspects of music are just repeated exposure to the material

My aforementioned friend exposed his ears to untold amounts of music.. no doubt playing the recordings endlessly until they were a PART OF HIM.

 

When I say "A part of him" that points to the instinctual part I mentioned..

To that point... you would never want to take a lesson just before a concert... a bad bad idea, as a rule. You do not want things in your being, half-digested . On the contrary you want as much instinct as possible. Your hands almost on automatic. if your head is encumbered by harmonic ideas... you lose.

 

Some disagree with my friends endless transcribing to the piano approach but hearing him play, will impress you.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I think you should find a teacher to guide you in a systematic fashion, otherwise, you may go off into too many directions at once.

 

We do not know enough about his circumstance. But we do know a teacher is not in his immediate plans.

 

I missed that part earlier in the thread. There's just so much information here that it is bewildering for a harmonic novice.

Hammond SK1, Casio PX5s, Motif ES rack, Kawai MP5, Kawai ESS110, Yamaha S03, iPad, and a bunch of stuff in the closet.
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I think you should find a teacher to guide you in a systematic fashion, otherwise, you may go off into too many directions at once.

 

We do not know enough about his circumstance. But we do know a teacher is not in his immediate plans.

 

I missed that part earlier in the thread. There's just so much information here that it is bewildering for a harmonic novice.

 

Both my own journey with piano and my overall intuition suggest

keep it simple

start from where you brain and hands are... and expand from that solid footing

 

For me it was boogie woogie in F# as a boy... no one showed me.. so it is instinctual.

Blues is instinctual as well for me.

For the more complex side of music listen to Bill evans.

Evans studied Chopin Debussy Ravel three perfect giants to help develop jazz harmony.

I am saying do not get out of balance with too much intellect with the harmony side.

if OP is able ( I am not willing ) to play Chopin he can extrapolate new harmony from a genius like Chopin.

 

If that is not your bag,, transcribe

or Levine, as mentioned.. but Levine can be overwhelming, so do not lose yourSELF

in this worthy but difficult climb. Try to keep the feeling of exploration high.

Youtube searching tend to DILUTE this.

Friend, there are no short cuts, so belt yourself in for the long haul.

 

One of the intellectuals here, like Math probably knows the specific number

but there are thousands of chords

then there are further number of voicings for those thousands of chords'

but guess what, there is voice leading of one chord to another to another

That is three levels of accomplishment and we have not talked jazz rhythm nor the contrapuntal yet!

 

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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This has been posted before, but is so valuable that place it here again.

You can ignore the Steve Allen part,, and Bill's beloved brother Harry Evans is not the point of this either.

 

[video:youtube]

 

Great documentary, I've already seen it! I love Bill's attitude about teaching and learning in general. I remember him saying that the most important thing to know is the 'basics', although I never understood what does he mean by that. Like, what is included in 'basics' and what is not?

 

I went to a music school for 7 years when I was a kid, and got some basic understanding of music theory, but just started to acknowledge myself with jazz harmony (I hated solfeggio classes when I was a kid, and now I'm regretting that, haha)

 

The chords I posted are actually transcribed from his solo :) He's my jazz-hero in a sense.

 

He said how to recognize chords, as if he were speaking of chord symbols or chords on a staff

I was talking more about hearing chords instead of reading them on a sheet of music. For example, while transcribing a solo, I try to not only hear the notes played, but also to understand the "why"s that lie underneath, like, why did the player play 6/9 over the top, what flavour those sounds added and things like that. These are the ones I find particularly difficult to understand, I guess people need more practice to be better at those, there is no easy way in.

 

But we do know a teacher is not in his immediate plans.

I'd like to have a teacher, but I'm also having a full time job, and am also getting my masters in the university. So there is hardly any time for me to have lessons right now, I usually start playing around 10 pm and go to bad around 1 or 2. I though about learning on my own for a couple of months, and get a teacher in autumn, to show me the things I missed in my so called self-education.

Also, the thing that disturbs me is the fact that I can think of good harmony changes over some song, but it takes minutes and minutes to do so, and usually I just play some chords with additions, and only after hearing the chords, I decide if I want to add or remove some note. It's too hard to do that in my head right away.. I thought about the way to do that faster, so it would be possible to play the song without interruptions, but it seems too hard at the moment. I'm curious if practice is all that's required to do so.

 

to listen to vinyl recordings and to painstakingly transcribe directly from his ear to the piano. No writing down the music.

Yeah I try to do so with the tunes I like, but it is very hard for me, at least for now. For example, I tried to transcribe Bill Evans's "Danny Boy" from 1962 album, but I quickly gave up: his harmonies in this piece are too overwhelming for me, at least for now. I'd spend weeks transcribing it.

 

p.s. After writing that answer I figured it is huge, sorry for that :)

if you can't tell the difference, does it matter?
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the thing that disturbs me is the fact that I can think of good harmony changes over some song, but it takes minutes and minutes to do so, and usually I just play some chords with additions, and only after hearing the chords, I decide if I want to add or remove some note.

 

Bill Evans often played extremely similar intros and head arrangements, they were not really improvised, more through composed. These are often the bits with the most dense harmony. The improvised sections are more based around single lines with basic left hand shapes. Even masters like Bill had to work in advance on their various ideas until they could produce them at will seemingly effortlessly.

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I haven't read through all the replies or linked material, so I apologize if my comments rehash what someone else already said or linked to. And I'm certainly no musicologist (and truth be told, barely a musician as far as my ability to read and play music), so if I'm way off then just ignore me. :)

 

But my understanding is that chords are always built on the basic 1-3-5 intervals, and if there are additional notes added then we always skip the even intervals and use only the odd intervals-- i.e., 1-3-5-7-9-11-13. If we were to add another interval after that, it would be the 15th, which is two octaves above the 1st/fundamental, so we stop at 13.

 

Of course, nothing is ever that simple-- it seems like humans come up with rules just so they can start listing all of the exceptions to those rules. Or more properly, we make rules to try to simplify things which are complicated, then try to list the cases that don't fit our simplifications, then construct a system of reasons to try to explain why those exceptions exist.

 

In this case our simple rule of 1-3-5-7-9-11-13 is complicated by the fact that the 3rd, 7th, 9th, and 13th can be major or minor. Note that these intervals span two octaves, and the intervals after the 7th are in the second octave, so we could reduce them to even intervals in the first octave by subtracting 7 from them (i.e., 9 - 7 = 2, 11 - 7 = 4, and 13 - 7 = 6). But we refer to them as 9, 11, and 13 so we can maintain the rule of always skipping an interval-- that is, we always skip the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, and 14th. But in truth the 9th is the octave of the 2nd, so it can be major or minor; and the 13th is the octave of the 6th, so it can also be major or minor.

 

As if that doesn't complicate things enough, the two perfect intervals-- i.e., the 5th and the 11th (which is the octave of the 4th)-- might be diminished or augmented rather than perfect.

 

Another issue which can complicate things is that chords can be inverted-- e.g., rather than 1-3-5 we could have 3-5-1 or 5-1-3. And if we add more intervals then we get additional inversions-- e.g., instead of 1-3-5-7 we could have 3-5-7-1, or 5-7-1-3, or 7-1-3-5.

 

Actually, any of the notes could be shifted up or down by one or more octaves, so the 9th could be played as the 2nd, or the 1st could be played as the 8th, or the 11th could be played as the 4th, etc. And we might also decide to omit one or more of the intervals when playing the chord, or all of the notes might not be played at the same time, or might be split between different voices or parts, etc.

 

So the 1-3-5-7-9-11-13 rule is really just a way to organize the seven notes or intervals of the scale (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th) to simplify what could otherwise be a big mess, by giving us a clear framework for identifying a chord. Thus, if we stick to the 1-3-5-7-9-11-13 framework then we have a basis for determining which note is the fundamental-- at least, as long as there are enough notes in the chord, since for example if C-E were played by themselves then in theory they could be 1-3, or 3-5, or 5-7, or 7-9, or 9-11, or 11-13, depending on the overall key of the piece or other conditions (e.g., chord progressions).

 

Anyway, the 1-3-5-7-9-11-13 framework means that all of the notes of a chord will be written on either the lines of a staff (including ledger lines if necessary) or in the spaces between the lines, but never both. So if we see a chord where some notes are on lines and some are in spaces, we go with the majority-- lines or spaces-- and shift the oddball notes up or down an octave as needed so they fit the 1-3-5-7-9-11-13 rule.

 

E-G-B-C would be one such example. Depending on whether the chord is in the treble clef or bass clef, as well as which octave it's in within that clef, most of the notes might be either on the lines or in the spaces. But in any case, the C is clearly the oddball note because it follows the B rather than skipping an interval. So we shift the C down an octave to get C-E-G-B, or 1-3-5-7. Thus, E-G-B-C is an inversion of C-E-G-B.

Michael Rideout
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we could reduce them to even intervals in the first octave by subtracting 7 from them (i.e., 9 - 7 = 2, 11 - 7 = 4, and 13 - 7 = 6). But we refer to them as 9, 11, and 13 so we can maintain the rule of always skipping an interval-- that is, we always skip the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, and 14th.
My understanding has always been that saying a chord is 9th, 11th, etc., implies the 7th. If you say a chord is or has the 2nd, it right just be a 1-3-5 triad with the 2nd (probably replacing the 3rd), not a 7th chord.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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