Music theory questions

silversky

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Thanks for reading this post, I have several questions here and im totally confused-

1. What exactly are chord inversions? Is it when you take any chord, C major chord for example (C, E, G) but created it by fretting any of the other strings below the D string, so avoid playing the Bass strings ( low E string, A string , and D string (D strings a bass string in this case isn't it?)
Is that what a chord inversion is? Just create the chord without using the 3 bass strings??? If so does this apply anywhere up the fretboard?

2. When you construct chords, for example an F major chord you take the 1,3,5 from the F major scale and F,A,C are the notes in it, so would that mean you would have to be fretting the F note 1st,the A note 2nd on the string above it , and the C note on the next string. Would it have to be in order like that? Or it doesn't matter what string the note is on as long as you fret those notes needed to create the chord, even if you play a F chord on the higher frets and the notes are far apart would it still be a F chord?

3. Chord construction, 1,3,5 is major, 1,b3,5 is minor, 1,3,5# is augmented, 1,b3,b5 is diminished, and what is a 7th?
1,3,5,b7?? would you add the 7th note from the scale and then flat it like that?

4. I was playing this chord the other day and I was told it was a major 7th chord but then when I was watching this lesson on youtube someone say it was a diminished barre chord, which one is it? Or is the major 7th barre chord the same as a diminished barre chord?---

E:-1----
B:-3---- Is this a Major 7th barre chord shape or Diminished? Or both??
G:-2----
D:-3---
A:-1----
E:-X----


And I was also wondering what this chord shape is since I can't seem to find out what it is anywhere?--

E:-1----
B:-2----
G:-3----
D:-2---
A:-1----
E:-X----


Last question, On the circle of fifths I've noticed they have E# and B# On the sharp side for when you look for your key signature - F#-C#-G#-D#-A#-E#-B#
Whats up with that? I thought there where no E sharps or B sharps??

Then on the flat side theres Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Cb-Fb
Same question here, whats up with the Cb and Fb?

Then for finding the F# scale you turn the flat side of the circle to sharps right? so Bb would be A# and so on when you looking at finding the key signature for it? or is that exactly the same as a Gb scale?

:wow:LOL thanks for reading this, I appreciate the replys. Im very noobish when it comes to theory, hopefully one day I'll understand it :D
 

JonR

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Thanks for reading this post, I have several questions here and im totally confused-

1. What exactly are chord inversions?
An inversion is when a chord tone other than the root is the lowest note.
2. When you construct chords, for example an F major chord you take the 1,3,5 from the F major scale and F,A,C are the notes in it, so would that mean you would have to be fretting the F note 1st,the A note 2nd on the string above it , and the C note on the next string. Would it have to be in order like that? Or it doesn't matter what string the note is on as long as you fret those notes needed to create the chord, even if you play a F chord on the higher frets and the notes are far apart would it still be a F chord?
Any combination of those 3 notes is an F major chord.
3. Chord construction, 1,3,5 is major, 1,b3,5 is minor, 1,3,5# is augmented, 1,b3,b5 is diminished, and what is a 7th?
1,3,5,b7?? would you add the 7th note from the scale and then flat it like that?
Depends.
A plain "7" means a note 10 half-steps above the root (or 2 half-steps below an upper root. That's usually known as a "b7", but the "b" doesn't appear in the chord name; that's because it's the most common kind of 7th.
The rarer kind is 11 half-steps above (1 half-step below) the root, known as a "major 7th", indicated as "maj7".
Only two chords in a major key have a maj7, the I and IV - eg C and F in key of C major
C E G B= "Cmaj7"
F A C E = "Fmaj7"
G B D F = "G7"

"C7" would be C E G Bb (in key of F major)
"Gmaj7" would be G B D F# (in keys of G or D major)
4. I was playing this chord the other day and I was told it was a major 7th chord but then when I was watching this lesson on youtube someone say it was a diminished barre chord, which one is it? Or is the major 7th barre chord the same as a diminished barre chord?---

E:-1---- F = 5th
B:-3---- D = 3rd
G:-2---- A = major 7th
D:-3--- F = 5th
A:-1---- Bb = root
E:-X----
That's a Bbmaj7 chord
And I was also wondering what this chord shape is since I can't seem to find out what it is anywhere?--

E:-1---- F
B:-2---- Db
G:-3---- Bb
D:-2--- E
A:-1---- Bb
E:-X----
Wow, that's one ugly chord! I'm not surprised you can't find a name; I'm not sure I can think of one... Bbm(#11)??
Last question, On the circle of fifths I've noticed they have E# and B# On the sharp side for when you look for your key signature - F#-C#-G#-D#-A#-E#-B#
Whats up with that? I thought there where no E sharps or B sharps??

Then on the flat side theres Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Cb-Fb
Same question here, whats up with the Cb and Fb?
Every scale must have one of each note letter.
Then for finding the F# scale you turn the flat side of the circle to sharps right? so Bb would be A# and so on when you looking at finding the key signature for it? or is that exactly the same as a Gb scale?
Yes. F# major = Gb major, they're just written differently.
 

silversky

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:thumb: thanks once again! that was helpful,
so Cb/B# and Fb/E# does exist in music? I always that there were only 12 notes in music and no accidentals between E and F , B and C??

and is an inversion when you construct the notes - C,E,G on the G,B,E strings and play that chord without using the bass strings?

:D last one.. Do you know any major/minor diminished barre chord shapes that are movable up the neck?
 

MissingSomethin

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No, that is not what inversions are. You're talking about partial chords.
A major chord is made up of 1,3,5.
D major chord contains the notes D, F#, and A
Now, do find various combinations of D F# A on the fretboard.
Note the D chord on the 2nd fret. It's made up of 5,R,3.
Note the D chord on the 7th fret. It's made up of 5,R,3.
Note the partial D chord on the 10-11th fret. It's made up of 3,5,R.
Note the partial D chord on the 10-12th fret. It's made up of R,3,5





d-major-arpeggio-fretboard.png
 

MissingSomethin

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The major scale skips W-W-H-W-W-W-H (whole vs half step)
So, F major scale looks like this:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
F G A Bb C D E

So, F major is made up of 1,3,5 or any conbinations of F A C,
 

JonR

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:thumb: thanks once again! that was helpful,
so Cb/B# and Fb/E# does exist in music? I always that there were only 12 notes in music and no accidentals between E and F , B and C??
As I said, it's a matter of preserving the "one of each note" rule - which means each of the 7 notes in a scale has to have its own letter name.

One easy way to think of it is if you are constructing the C# major scale, then everything has to be "sharped". That includes making E into E# and B into B#. Of course, they sound the same as F and C, but the different names help us make theoretical sense of the key and scale.

One pitch (sound) with two different names is known as "enharmonic". Eg, the notes A# and Bb sound the same, but you use A# in some contexts and Bb in others, in order for the theory (structures of scales, chords and keys) to make sense. That's because we count letters when we're talking about things like "3rds", "7ths", etc.

Notation is also an issue. In staff notation, every note has to have its own line or space, to make it easily readable. If the F# major scale had no E#, but F instead, then you'd have no note on the "E" line or space, and two notes appearing on the F line or space - one with a sharp and one without (or with a natural sign). That would look messy and confusing.
and is an inversion when you construct the notes - C,E,G on the G,B,E strings and play that chord without using the bass strings?
Not necessarily.

Ie, that shape (notes G-C-E) would actually be an inversion, but there are many ways of playing inversions using any or all of the strings. It's simply about which note is on the bottom of the chord, ie in the bass. The following shapes are all 1st inversion C major chords (E in the bass), written as "C/E".
Code:
-0---0----------------8-----------
-1---1---1-------5----8-----------
-0---0---0-------5----9-----------
-2---2-------5---5----10---------
-3-----------3---7----10---------
-0-------0---0--------0-----------
And the following are all 2nd inversion (G on the bottom), "C/G".
Code:
-0---0-------3---8-----------
-1---1---1---5---8-----------
-0---0-------5---9-----------
-----2---2---5---10---------
-----3-------3---10---------
-----3---3---3-----------
But to be honest, you really don't need to understand inversions for guitar playing. (You don't need to know that those shapes are called "inversions".)
I was playing guitar (and gigging) happily for at least 20 years before I ever heard the term "inversion"...

Also remember that when you see a symbol like "C/E" ("C over E") , that may mean that the guitarist(s) in the band played a normal C chord, while the bass player played an E note. So the overall sound produced was "C/E".
So you'd only play a C chord with an E bass if you wanted to replicate the original bass note (if you didn't have a bassist with you).

An example of a C/E chord is in the Kings Of Leon's "Use Somebody":

|C - - - |C/E - - - |F - - - |F - - - |

At the beginning of the verse he plays that on one guitar - but in the main part of the song (and the intro) the C-E-F-F bass line is on the bass, and the guitar is probably just playing C and F chords.
:D last one.. Do you know any major/minor diminished barre chord shapes that are movable up the neck?
That's a mixed question!

Full barre shapes are available for major, minor and diminished chords; non-barre movable shapes (muting 2 or 3 strings) are also available for all three types.
It's common (at least in rock) to play major and minor chords with full barres (in "E", "A", "Em" and "Am" forms), but rare for diminished chords; these tend to be played in 4-string shapes, on top 4 strings or middle 4 strings. In fact that's normally how jazz players play most chords, as partial shapes on the top or middle 3 or 4 strings.

There's not enough space here to give you all the options (any good chord dictionary will do that), but here's the two common dim7 shapes (numbers show fingers, non-fretted strings are muted):

|---|---|-4-|---|
|---|-2-|---|---|
|---|---|-3-|---|
|---|-1-|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|

|---|---|---|---|
|---|---|-4-|---|
|-1-|---|---|---|
|---|---|-3-|---|
|---|-2-|---|---|
|---|---|---|---|

With dim7 chords, any note can be the root, because they are a symmetrical stack of minor 3rds. So this chord:

--3--- G
--2--- C# or Db
--3--- A# or Bb
--2--- E or Fb
------
-----

- could be Edim7 (E G Bb Db), A#dim7 (A# C# E G), C#dim7 (C# E G Bb) or Gdim7 (G Bb Db Fb).
Notice the "enharmonic" respelling in each case, required by the 1-b3-b5-bb7 chord structure. In practice this doesn't matter too much, because the chord can be any one of those 4 - so its theoretical derivation is rarely an issue.
 

burke

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Yes, every note can be sharped and flat:wow:. It did help for me to learn intervals, this helped immensely in learning chords. Also a small amount of how other keys work with other keys (dom 7th modulations) will help you put it all together/how chords work to move to the next.
I know its boring, but take a theory course at your local CC, it will do you well. That way you get the complete story. Each of us here learned a different way and trying to combine the whole picture in a post may confuse more.
And for God's sake, don't dabble in jazz...that's theory in a blender with a shot of Scotch! (JK:D)
 

JonR

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Yes, every note can be sharped and flat:wow:. It did help for me to learn intervals, this helped immensely in learning chords. Also a small amount of how other keys work with other keys (dom 7th modulations) will help you put it all together/how chords work to move to the next.
I know its boring, but take a theory course at your local CC, it will do you well. That way you get the complete story. Each of us here learned a different way and trying to combine the whole picture in a post may confuse more.
Agreed.

My advice is always to just study songs.

IOW, as with almost anythng one wants to learn, the best way is to "apprentice" yourself to a master. Listen and copy. It's hard to do that in person these days, but with music we have RECORDINGS. There are your masters, at your command! (OK, you can't get them to talk to you, but you can take their works apart at your leisure.)

As mentioned ad nauseam, the Beatles didn't have the benefit of theory classes. But neither were they born geniuses, or child prodigies. What they did (between 1957 and 1962) was totally immerse themselves in the popular music of the day, learning any song that took their fancy - not just rock'n'roll but the odd cheesy jazz standard too. Nothing was off limits, nothing was too "uncool". That's how they learned the enormous vocabulary that eventually came together in their own compositions.
They did all that with barely any understanding of the theoretical devices they were using. That is, they understood how to use them fine, they just couldn't have told you any of the names.
And for God's sake, don't dabble in jazz...that's theory in a blender with a shot of Scotch! (JK:D)
Agreed!

Of course, if you happen to like jazz.... maybe there's no hope for you... :D
 

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