A simple chord construction thread.

Phil47uk

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We all know it's easy to get a chord dictionary and look up a chord shape in a diagram, but it's also very handy to know how these chords are constructed should you wish to find some shapes and inversions of your own.

Ok to keep things simple, let's work with chords in C, although the formula below will work for every other key too.

Scale of C major. (Two octaves )

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


C .......= 1...3...5 ( In other words C1 E 3 and G5.). If you stack these notes around another way you then get the inversions.

So C....E....G would equal the primary chord of C . Now take the bottom note off and put it on top, so your root note is now E which gives you E....G....C.. and that is called a 1st inversion ( Written C/E ).
Now once again remove the bottom note and put it on top and you have G....C....E. That is called a second inversion and is written C/G.
You can now relate that formula for all the other eleven keys.



* Note that numbers in brackets are optional and you can omit them.( Sometimes we just don't have enough fingers.)

Sorry about how things are laid out, but it's hard to line text up in this forum.

Some major family chords.​

C...................... 1..3..5
Cmaj7.............. 1...3..5..7
C6.................... 1...3..5..6
Cmaj9.............. 1...3..5..7..9
C6/9................ 1...3..(5)..6...9
Cadd9.............. 1...3...5...9
Cmaj7b5.......... 1..3...b5..7
Cmaj7#5.......... .1..3..#5..7
Cmaj13............ 1..3..5..7..(9)..13
Csus2............... 1...2...5
Csus4............... 1...4...5

Some minor family chords.​

Cm..................1...b3...5
Cm7................1...b3...5...b7
Cm6................1...b3...5...6
Cm/maj7.........1..b3...5...7
Cm9................1...b3...5...b7...9
Cm13..............1...b3...5...b7...(9)...(11) ...13
Cm7b5............1...b3...b5...b7


Some dominant family chords.​

C7...................1...3...5...b7
C7b9...............1...3...5...b7...b9
C7#9...............1...3...5...b7...#9
C7sus4.............1...4...5..b7
C9....................1...3...5...b7...9
C11..................1...(3)...5...b7...(9)...11
C13..................1...3...5...b7...(9)...(11)...13
C7b5................1...3...b5....b7
C7#5................1...3..#5...b7


Some half diminished chords.​

Cm7b5.............1...b3...b5...b7
Cm9b5.............1...b3...b5...b7...9

Diminshed chord​

Cdim................1...b3..b5..bb7 ( Note bb7 =the 7th note of the scale ie B down to A )


Augmented chord.​

Caug................1...3...#5


Just a bit of fun stuff to get on with, so hopefully you can work out a few chord shapes of your own..
I did this in a rush so I'll check it for any mistakes later..Got to go as a guitar lesson is coming round in five mins..

Here are the scales of all twelve major keys should you wish to find some chords in another key.

C D E F G A B C

Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db

D E F# G A B C# D

Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb

E F# G# A B C# D# E

F G A Bb C D E F

F# G A# B C# D# E# F#

G A B C D E F# G

Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab

A B C# D E F# G# A

Bb C D Eb F G A Bb

B C# D# E F# G# A# B
 

Gyroman

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Cheers Phil, I've been over this before with my teacher but it never hurts to have a refresher; or to see it explained in a different way.
 

JonR

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Great stuff, Phil. A couple of typos have slipped through (which I'm sure you'll pick up, maybe before I post this...;)) and I have a few comments too.

Cm9b5 - you forgot the 9!

You spelled diminished as "Dimished" (yeah, I do that all the time...)
- and the symbol would be better as "Cdim7". I know "Cdim" is common shorthand, but strictly it only means the triad.


How about adding some of the following:

Cmaj7#11, Cmaj9#11
(I've always been a bit dubious about the "maj7b5" symbol, I think it's misleading - but maybe that's just me.;))

Cm(add9)

C7#11, C9#11, C13#11

(you could also add altered dominants to be complete of course. I realise you only said "some".)

C11 - should probably be omitted, as it's usually shorthand for C9sus4 (ie doesn't include the 3rd)

C13 - likewise, shouldn't include the 11th as an option - unless it's C13sus4 of course, in which case the 3rd is omitted.

(I realise this 11th business is debatable and needs explaining, so it may be beyond the point of what you're doing.)
 

Phil47uk

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Great stuff, Phil. A couple of typos have slipped through (which I'm sure you'll pick up, maybe before I post this...;)) and I have a few comments too.

Cm9b5 - you forgot the 9!

You spelled diminished as "Dimished" (yeah, I do that all the time...)
- and the symbol would be better as "Cdim7". I know "Cdim" is common shorthand, but strictly it only means the triad.


How about adding some of the following:

Cmaj7#11, Cmaj9#11
(I've always been a bit dubious about the "maj7b5" symbol, I think it's misleading - but maybe that's just me.;))

Cm(add9)

C7#11, C9#11, C13#11

(you could also add altered dominants to be complete of course. I realise you only said "some".)

C11 - should probably be omitted, as it's usually shorthand for C9sus4 (ie doesn't include the 3rd)

C13 - likewise, shouldn't include the 11th as an option - unless it's C13sus4 of course, in which case the 3rd is omitted.

(I realise this 11th business is debatable and needs explaining, so it may be beyond the point of what you're doing.)

See I told everyone I'd miss something out.:laugh2:
I was coming back to it anyway to see what I'd buggered up. Yep I left the 9 out of the chord and got one diminished right and the other I missed out an n.. ( One out of two aint bad though ) All corrected now I hope.
The problem when writing down some of these things is that when you go to check it, it's so easy to miss glaringly obvious mistakes... Duhhh!

Cdim or C with a small 0 ( Can't do that on here ) is the usual way we write it in the UK. The Americans often have a different way of writing out chord symbols such as C triangle7 ( Can't type a triangle either ) or say C-7 instead of Cm7, so most of the others are written in a way you tend to see them in the UK and Brits are more familiar with.

Again I haven't set out to make this too complicated, as I feel thirty one chords just in C is probably enough to keep most people occupied for some time.:laugh2:

Feel free too add any more if you wish though.
:)
 

JonR

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Cdim or C with a small 0 ( Can't do that on here ) is the usual way we write it in the UK.
Well, I'm "we" too. :)
I agree Cdim (or Co) is the common shorthand - I would always assume Cdim7 if I saw Cdim written - but IMO Cdim7 (Co7) is better. It's hardly more time-consuming to write, and saves any (small) risk of confusion.
No big deal either way.

To be honest, I'm not really aware of UK/US differences in chord symbols. I suppose most of the jazz charts (and theory texts) I read are US in origin, so that tends to be my source for what I regard as "standard".

As for the triangle, I can get one from the CharMap program on my PC - it seems to work OK when I preview it, but we'll see...

Δ

Hey it works! :) (Well, I can see it on my screen anyway - I know special characters don't always display on all systems.)

I can get the superscript o for diminished too: ° (a little small maybe) - and two sizes for the half-dim sign: Ø ø

Some are available using the Alt key and the number keypad, with NumLock on:

Alt+0216 = Ø
Alt+0248 = ø
Alt +248 = °

no triangle that way though. One text alternative to the triangle I've seen is ^, as in "C^7" for Cmaj7.
 

Lampens

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I just use the cowboy chords as a basis and rearange the notes according to taste. :D
 

Phil47uk

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Well, I'm "we" too. :)
I agree Cdim (or Co) is the common shorthand - I would always assume Cdim7 if I saw Cdim written - but IMO Cdim7 (Co7) is better. It's hardly more time-consuming to write, and saves any (small) risk of confusion.
No big deal either way.

To be honest, I'm not really aware of UK/US differences in chord symbols. I suppose most of the jazz charts (and theory texts) I read are US in origin, so that tends to be my source for what I regard as "standard".

As for the triangle, I can get one from the CharMap program on my PC - it seems to work OK when I preview it, but we'll see...

Δ

Hey it works! :) (Well, I can see it on my screen anyway - I know special characters don't always display on all systems.)

I can get the superscript o for diminished too: ° (a little small maybe) - and two sizes for the half-dim sign: Ø ø

Some are available using the Alt key and the number keypad, with NumLock on:

Alt+0216 = Ø
Alt+0248 = ø
Alt +248 = °

no triangle that way though. One text alternative to the triangle I've seen is ^, as in "C^7" for Cmaj7.

You have to remember that on UK keyboards you can just about get ordinary text ..:rolleyes:
I'll try what you said and see if it works.

:laugh2: Buggered if I can get a small 0 like you did.
Oh well, computers aren't my forte it seems. I'll just have to stick with Cdim.:laugh2:
 

Phil47uk

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I just use the cowboy chords as a basis and rearange the notes according to taste. :D

Well, in the final analysis just use what sounds good to your ear, or compliments the song.
I posted up that chart above as an alternative to people simply looking for a shape in a book or on line of a chord box shape to play.
If they know the formula for the chord, then they can work out some inversions of their own and see the notes used, rather than just seeing it as a shape. That way it will also give them some ideas of scales/modes that will work against that particular chord.
 

DrewG

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Buggered if I can get a small 0 like you did.

Hey :) Hold the [ALT] key down all the time when you type the 248 on the numeric keypad. When you release the [ALT] key, the symbol will appear :thumb:

You can get a triangle with ALT 30... ▲

I'm off to find a life now :)
 

Phil47uk

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Hey :) Hold the [ALT] key down all the time when you type the 248 on the numeric keypad. When you release the [ALT] key, the symbol will appear :thumb:

You can get a triangle with ALT 30... ▲

I'm off to find a life now :)

OK here goes...°...........Ah..I was pressing the numbers keys on the top of the keyboard..I've never used those numbers on the right of the keyboard before. Duhhh
OK kets try a triangle.. ▲...
Got ya..:dude:

I wonder what else it does?:hmm:

§ = ALT +789 ( Whatever that sign means ).

╚ = ALT 456

├ = ALT 963

± = ALT 753.


:hmm: But what the bloody hell are they and where would you use one?:shock:
 

Lampens

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Well, in the final analysis just use what sounds good to your ear, or compliments the song.
I posted up that chart above as an alternative to people simply looking for a shape in a book or on line of a chord box shape to play.
If they know the formula for the chord, then they can work out some inversions of their own and see the notes used, rather than just seeing it as a shape. That way it will also give them some ideas of scales/modes that will work against that particular chord.

Yeah that's what I meant. By using the basic versions of chords, cowboy, barre or whatever. you can figure out what notes make up those chords, then re-arrange those notes. Easier then trying to remember for all the chords what those notes are. you know more chords then you think. And with what you already know, you can do more then you think you can.
 

Phil47uk

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Yeah that's what I meant. By using the basic versions of chords, cowboy, barre or whatever. you can figure out what notes make up those chords, then re-arrange those notes. Easier then trying to remember for all the chords what those notes are. you know more chords then you think. And with what you already know, you can do more then you think you can.

It's surprising just how many guitar players there are out there who have only heard of C5, C , C7, and Cm.:laugh2:
And when you say 'how about the other twenty seven or so', look at you as if you are insane,:shock:
 

Lampens

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Indeed, laugh2: However. I would like to add that most of the best songs revolve around the simple chords. the 5's 7'and m's. Although most add a finger here and there making more out of those chords adding 2 and 4's and other assorted variations without even knowing it. :D
 

JonR

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OK here goes...°...........Ah..I was pressing the numbers keys on the top of the keyboard..I've never used those numbers on the right of the keyboard before. Duhhh
OK kets try a triangle.. ▲...
Got ya..:dude:

I wonder what else it does?:hmm:

§ = ALT +789 ( Whatever that sign means ).

╚ = ALT 456

├ = ALT 963

± = ALT 753.


:hmm: But what the bloody hell are they and where would you use one?:shock:
I think they're something to do with - [quick, make the sign of the cross then run away] -... mathematics! :eek:
 

Phil47uk

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I think they're something to do with - [quick, make the sign of the cross then run away] -... mathematics! :eek:

Me do mathematics on a computer? I can just about send an e-mail.:laugh2:
 

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