Chord theory questions

silversky

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Are chords fretted in order from top to bottom string? the 1st being on the top string (root) and 3, 5 strings below?...
Like for example.. a C major chord- C,E,G The C is on the A string, root note , the E note (3rd) is on the D string.. meaning its the next string right under the C note and the 5th (G note) is on the B string.. being the last note fretted for that chord. Are all chords in order like this? From top to bottom string? Or does it not matter which strings your fretting? example- Lets say the C note is on the B string somewhere and the E note it on the D string, the G note on E string (at the bottom).. Its like the notes are in random order on the strings, wouldn't this make it a chord Inversion? Or would it not matter which strings the notes are on to make chords, even if there mixed up?

The reason I ask this is because when I learned inversions, 1st inversion is E,G,C .. second inversion is G,C,E ,, So if you fret the notes randomly on the strings would it automatically become a chord inversion? Or what if a chord went like this on the strings- C,G,E?...

Another thing.. Can you only use inversions on triads? or if you have more notes in your chord can you use inversions on any type of chord? even 11th chords? Exampe- like a 7th chord? C,E,G,B.. Inversion 1 - E,G,B,C ..Inversion 2- G,B,C,E..Inversion 3- B,C,E,G.. ?


Lastly.. I've been wondering How people make chord progression on the circle of fifths if it only has 4ths and 5ths? I know how to make the 1,4,5 progression on it but how do they make the 2,3,4,7 progressions on the circle if it only goes to the perfect 4, and 5th? :shock: Im extremely confused..
 

huw

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Are chords fretted in order from top to bottom string? the 1st being on the top string (root) and 3, 5 strings below?...
Like for example.. a C major chord- C,E,G The C is on the A string, root note , the E note (3rd) is on the D string.. meaning its the next string right under the C note and the 5th (G note) is on the B string.. being the last note fretted for that chord. Are all chords in order like this?

No.

...Or does it not matter which strings your fretting?

No, it doesn't matter.

...Its like the notes are in random order on the strings, wouldn't this make it a chord Inversion?

A different "voicing". Technically, it's only an inversion if the root note isn't the lowest pitch.

In practice, many people use the words "voicing" and "inversion" interchangeably...

...would it not matter which strings the notes are on to make chords, even if there mixed up?

No, doesn't matter.

The reason I ask this is because when I learned inversions, 1st inversion is E,G,C .. second inversion is G,C,E ,, So if you fret the notes randomly on the strings would it automatically become a chord inversion?

See above. Technically, not automatically -it would depend which note is lowest. In practice, lots of folks would call that an inversion.

...Or what if a chord went like this on the strings- C,G,E?...

Again, technically that's just a different voicing, not an inversion, because C is the lowest note, but lots of folks would call it an inversion.

... Can you only use inversions on triads?

No.

...or if you have more notes in your chord can you use inversions on any type of chord? even 11th chords? Exampe- like a 7th chord? C,E,G,B.. Inversion 1 - E,G,B,C ..Inversion 2- G,B,C,E..Inversion 3- B,C,E,G.. ?

Yes - and with more notes in play, there are more inversions to choose from.

.. I've been wondering How people make chord progression on the circle of fifths if it only has 4ths and 5ths? I know how to make the 1,4,5 progression on it but how do they make the 2,3,4,7 progressions on the circle if it only goes to the perfect 4, and 5th? :shock: Im extremely confused..

The circle of 5ths doesn't "make chord progressions". It just shows (some) relationships. You can connect the chords in a progression in anyway you like.
 

JonR

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The reason I ask this is because when I learned inversions, 1st inversion is E,G,C .. second inversion is G,C,E ,, So if you fret the notes randomly on the strings would it automatically become a chord inversion? Or what if a chord went like this on the strings- C,G,E?...
That's root position, not an inversion.
(huw may be right that some folks would call it an inversion, but they'd be wrong ;))

The difference from C-E-G ("close voicing") is that C-G-E is an "open voicing". What that means is that the chord tones are far apart, with intervening chord tones omitted. Eg:

-0- E
--- (C missing)
-0- G
--- (E missing)
-3- C
---

A "close voicing" is one where the chord tones are as close as possible in a stack (3rds, 4ths or 2nds), with no missing ones.
Another thing.. Can you only use inversions on triads? or if you have more notes in your chord can you use inversions on any type of chord? even 11th chords? Exampe- like a 7th chord? C,E,G,B.. Inversion 1 - E,G,B,C ..Inversion 2- G,B,C,E..Inversion 3- B,C,E,G.. ?
Yes, if the 7th of the chord is on the bottom, that's a "3rd inversion".
However, inversions - AFAIK - don't apply to extended chords (with 9, 11 or 13 on the bottom), because they will tend to sound like other chords.
Eg, a C9 with D on the bottom will sound like some kind of altered D7sus chord, or maybe some kind of Gm13 in 2nd inversion.
You can still call it "C9/D" of course (or "C7/D"), but not "C9 4th inversion".
Lastly.. I've been wondering How people make chord progression on the circle of fifths if it only has 4ths and 5ths? I know how to make the 1,4,5 progression on it but how do they make the 2,3,4,7 progressions on the circle if it only goes to the perfect 4, and 5th? :shock: Im extremely confused..
All the scale degrees can be arranged a perfect 5th or 4th apart, but they won't cycle back. Eg, you can play the C major scale as B E A D G C F. Every note is a perfect 5th below (or P4 above) the previous one.
So you can have a chord sequence of Bdim (Bm7b5) Em Am Dm G C F.
But F back to B is a diminished 5th (down) or augmented 4th (up). So you don't get a complete cycle of perfect intervals.
But F-Bm7b5 will still work in a sequence.

This sequence has been used in a few songs, but they turn the Em into E7 (dominant of Am) to make it a little more interesting, and they start on Dm or Am:
Dm7-G7-Cmaj7-Fmaj7-Bm7b5-E7-Am (and back to Dm7) = Autumn Leaves.
Am7-Dm7-G7-Cmaj7-Fmaj7-Bm7b5-E7 (and back to Am7) = Fly Me to the Moon, I Will Survive.
All three tunes are arguably in the key of A minor (because of that E7), but the opening few chords definitely sound like C major.

Apart from the E7, all those chords are diatonic to C major, but you can turn any of the minor chords into majors - or (more rarely) - turn any of the majors into minors; as long as the 5th/4th root movement stays, the progression will sound OK (although some major-minor combinations will sound odder than others).
And the root notes can go outside the key, although they'll come back in eventually. Eg, you could go to Bb(7) after the Fmaj7 if you want, but probably it would go to Am or C after that (ie breaking the 5th/4ths cycle to return to the key).

Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" has the longest cycle of 5ths I think I've seen:

||: Am7b5 D7 | Gm7 C7 | Cm7 F7 | Bb Eb |
| Abm7 Db7 | Gb Cb(B) | Cm7b5 F7 | Bb :||

That's A-D-G-C-F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Cb(B): 11 out of the 12 possible notes! It would only need an E following the B to lead it back in a 5th move to the opening A, and you'd have the entire circle of 5ths.
But that would have been too obvious or crude for Brubeck: he decided to stabilise the sequence with that last ii-V-I into Bb major. The Bb then leads down a half-step back to Am. (The overall key of the tune is Bb major, btw, confirmed by the final Bb, but also the resolution to Bb in bar 4.)
Also notice the exception to the 2-beats-per-root-note pattern, as he goes from C7 to Cm7, rather than to F or Fm. Those kind of variations keep jazz sequence like this subtle and interesting, less predictable.)
 

fsenseman

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Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" has the longest cycle of 5ths I think I've seen:

||: Am7b5 D7 | Gm7 C7 | Cm7 F7 | Bb Eb |
| Abm7 Db7 | Gb Cb(B) | Cm7b5 F7 | Bb :||

That's A-D-G-C-F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Cb(B): 11 out of the 12 possible notes! It would only need an E following the B to lead it back in a 5th move to the opening A, and you'd have the entire circle of 5ths.
But that would have been too obvious or crude for Brubeck: he decided to stabilise the sequence with that last ii-V-I into Bb major. The Bb then leads down a half-step back to Am. (The overall key of the tune is Bb major, btw, confirmed by the final Bb, but also the resolution to Bb in bar 4.)
Also notice the exception to the 2-beats-per-root-note pattern, as he goes from C7 to Cm7, rather than to F or Fm. Those kind of variations keep jazz sequence like this subtle and interesting, less predictable.)

Hi JonR,

Quick question for you. I'm missing how the above follows the circle of fifths. Would not D be the fourth of A, G the fourth of D, etc. In other words it seems as if, reading left to right, it's moving in 4ths.

Kind Regards,
Fleet
 

huw

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...reading left to right, it's moving in 4ths...

:naughty:

But reading right to left, it's 5ths...

...that's not sacrcasm BTW. It's a circle, so you can travel around it in either direction, whilst still referring to it as "the circle of 5ths".

Look at it like this:

A (the 5th of D) moves to D
D (the fifth of G) moves to G
G (the 5th of C) moves to C
etc

:)
 

fsenseman

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:naughty:

But reading right to left, it's 5ths...

...that's not sacrcasm BTW. It's a circle, so you can travel around it in either direction, whilst still referring to it as "the circle of 5ths".

Look at it like this:

A (the 5th of D) moves to D
D (the fifth of G) moves to G
G (the 5th of C) moves to C
etc

:)

Thanks Huw,

Just wanted to be sure I wasn't missing anything. And apparently I was not. Pretty cool how all this "stuff" (this post and the many others....) makes more and more sense as time rolls on.

Kind Regards,
Fleet
 

JonR

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5th down, 4th up. Depends on your point of view. ;)

Sequences do sometimes move the other way - 5th up or 4th down - but rarely more than 3 or 4 chords. Hey Joe is one exception: C G D A E. There are a couple of others with similar sequences in short sections.
 

LKB3rd

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Inversion is mostly theoretical on the guitar, since due to it's setup, you'll usually be mixing up which strings you play the notes on. You grab the notes where you can find them. On piano, you could play orderly 1 3 5, 3 5 1, or 5 1 3. But even there, there isn't much practical application of thinking that way once you understand that you can mix the notes up in the octaves and order you play them in any way you like.
 

silversky

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:hmm: wait a minute so inversion are only when the root note is no longer on the low bass strings?..
And how do you tell the relationship on the circle of fifths? if you can only go to the 4ths one way and 5ths the other, how could you do progressions that aren't 1,4,5 progressions? like the 2,3,4,7 progressions, how can you get those smaller progressions that aren't a perfect 4th or 5th apart? or you can't do that at all?

...What else is the circle of fifths for besides finding key signatures?:hmm:

Thanks :wave:
You guys are 100 times more helpful than the theory teacher at my school :D
 

LKB3rd

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...What else is the circle of fifths for besides finding key signatures?:hmm:

Thanks :wave:
You guys are 100 times more helpful than the theory teacher at my school :D
The circle of fifths is good for the bridge in "Rhythm Changes", but I don't think about it much besides that.

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Rck21wqYfg]George Gershwin - I got rhythm - YouTube[/ame]
When the lyric start "Old man trouble.." it's D7/// //// G7/// //// C7/// //// F7/// ////
 

AngryHatter

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:hmm: wait a minute so inversion are only when the root note is no longer on the low bass strings?..
And how do you tell the relationship on the circle of fifths? if you can only go to the 4ths one way and 5ths the other, how could you do progressions that aren't 1,4,5 progressions? like the 2,3,4,7 progressions, how can you get those smaller progressions that aren't a perfect 4th or 5th apart? or you can't do that at all?

...What else is the circle of fifths for besides finding key signatures?:hmm:

Thanks :wave:
You guys are 100 times more helpful than the theory teacher at my school :D

No, invert a chord twice and you return to the beginning. Music is basic algebra in theory where the actually use is circles...id est geometry.
[ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpR8vfnrEeY[/ame]
Watch it revolve and resolve.
The riff is never ending...like the name George - Ge or ge or ge or ge or ge or ge

1:36 - the crescendo begins
 

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