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Chord identification
June 9, 2011 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Music theory quickie: How would you name these chords?

C E G♯ B
F A C E G
F A♭ C E G
C E G B♭ A♭
G B D♯ F A

These are all in the context of a chromatic progression in C major.
posted by Khalad to Media & Arts (17 answers total)
 
I can't read the symbols. Could you please write them out using "b" and "#"?
posted by John Cohen at 8:49 AM on June 9, 2011


C E G# B
F A C E G
F Ab C E G
C E G Bb Ab
G B D# F A
posted by burnmp3s at 8:54 AM on June 9, 2011


This is what my Reverse Chord Finder iphone app comes up with:


Cmaj#5 -C augmented Major 7th

Fmaj7/#11-FMajor 7th, add sharpened 11th

Fmin(maj9) -F Minor Major 9th

G#maj9#5/C -G# Augmented Major 9th with added C bass note (or C7 flat 13)

G9#5 -G Augmented 9th
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:59 AM on June 9, 2011


Ooh! Let's see if I can remember my music theory... :D

I 7 aug
IV 9
iv 9
C E G Bb is V 7 of IV, not sure about the addition of the Ab?
V 9 aug

How'd I do?
posted by foxjacket at 8:59 AM on June 9, 2011


The 4th chord looks like an inversion of a A flat 9th chord.
posted by free pie at 9:03 AM on June 9, 2011


1. C augmented major-7th.

2. F major 9th.

3. F-minor major-9th.

4. C 7th minor-13th, without the 9th or 11th?

5. G augmented 9th.
posted by John Cohen at 9:06 AM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


John Cohen's answers look the best to me.
posted by dfan at 9:09 AM on June 9, 2011


The 4th chord looks like an inversion of a A flat 9th chord.

When you've got chords stacked to the 9th and beyond, the meaning of an inversion really starts to get diluted, because replacing the root with the third and putting it in an upper voice can just as easily be read as an added 6th. The choice really comes down to voice leading considerations.

I think John Cohen's got it, though I would call the fourth chord, in the absence of that voice leading information, a C7 add b13, because the C13 usually implies the addition of a 9th, but that's not really a hard and fast rule.
posted by invitapriore at 9:13 AM on June 9, 2011


To add to #4, which seems to be the strangest chord:

My naming is somewhat ad hoc. Isn't "7th" already implied by "13th"? Well, yes, except I wouldn't want to call it "C minor 13th." That would imply that it's based on "C minor," i.e. that the 3rd would be Eb instead of E. So I started with "C 7th" to clarify that the first 4 notes are the well-known C 7th chord (C E G Bb); then, you add minor 13th onto that.

It might seem awkward to need to specify that even though it's a "13th" chord, there's no 9th or 11th. (See invitapriore's comment.) But a full 13th chord would involve so many notes that it's common to omit some of them. (If you bang on every white key on a piano, you've technically played a "C major 13th" chord!) If you'd rather say "add minor 13th" or "add flat 13th," that makes sense too.

I can't say I've ever encountered a "C 7th minor-13th" chord before (if that's even the proper name), but I suppose it could sound nice if used tastefully in a jazz context. (I have no instrument in front of me -- this is all from my head -- but I'll try it out later.)
posted by John Cohen at 9:25 AM on June 9, 2011


Pretty much in agreement with John Cohen's answer, I'd say for #3, the major 7 is more important, so C minor major seventh chord (wikipedia) is a more useful label. So, C minor major seventh with added nine.
posted by Busoni at 11:13 AM on June 9, 2011


And #4 looks like a G7 flat 6, basically a dominant chord based on the C melodic minor scale. Or I guess flat 13? I'm not a jazz musician. But I think what Cohen originally said works.
posted by Busoni at 11:16 AM on June 9, 2011


Dur, C7 flat 6.
posted by Busoni at 11:16 AM on June 9, 2011


Pretty much in agreement with John Cohen's answer, I'd say for #3, the major 7 is more important, so C minor major seventh chord (wikipedia) is a more useful label. So, C minor major seventh with added nine.

I think you mean "F minor major seventh."

Anyway, my label of "F-minor major-9th" is not meant to refer to the actual 9th note being major. "Major" refers to the 7th. The 9th note (G) is just the default, so it's the same whether you call it "major" or not. (If it were Gb instead, then it would require explanation.) I think referring to a 7th and then saying "add 9" is awkward/redunant, since a 9th chord includes a 7th by convention. (In general, the way to construct a 7th or 9th or 11th or 13th chord is: you stack up 3rds like building blocks, then you name the chord after the top note.)

And #4 looks like a G7 flat 6

I think you mean C7 flat 6.
posted by John Cohen at 11:27 AM on June 9, 2011


Right, what you said, F minor major seventh. You could be right, although a F9 by itself would imply a flat 7 (E flat). I think (I'm guessing) if you were reading or a writing chart notation it would probably just say C min/maj 7, and if you wanted to write it out fully it would be F minor major 7th add 9. But you could be right.
posted by Busoni at 1:40 PM on June 9, 2011


Note that your Wikipedia link says nothing about 9th chords. The more relevant Wikipedia entry would be the one for major 9th chords (which gives the example of C-E-G-B-D).

There's also this PDF (from Googling ["minor major 9th" chord]):
Minor-Major Seventh : A minor triad + a Major seventh.
(ex: C-Eb-G-B)....

Major Ninth : A major seventh chord + an added major ninth.
(ex: C-E-G-B-D) ...

Minor-Major Ninth : a minor-major seventh chord + an added major ninth. (ex. C-Eb-G-B-D).
(Of course, that last example is just the C equivalent of the OP's #3 chord, F Ab C E G.)
posted by John Cohen at 3:00 PM on June 9, 2011


From the original, it feels like a short modulation.

Assuming the chord before your first is C (or CM7), if I want to transition easily to FM7, one easy way is to raise the fifth of the CM7 chord. C+ pulls the ear to F. Where to go from F? Might as well drop the 3rd and 7th a half step, now we have Fm7. After that Fm7, the weird C7 looking thing is an alt chord, so at this point, we're in F melodic minor (chords built on F G Ab Bb C D E F.). The augmented G7 (G7#5) pulls our ear strongly back to CM7, so to recap:

0. Assuming CM7 or ii V cadency in C (Dm7 G7) leading into:
1. CM7#5 (the G# here pulls us to the third of the following chord...)
2. FM9
3. FmM9 (shifted from FM9 to a chord built on F melodic minor).
4. C7alt
5. G7#5 (the D# is a half step lower than the third of CM7).
6. CM7 (implied)

Mmm... Jazz Theory. Love it. (Further reading: The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine.)

What's the tune?
posted by phoebus at 12:14 AM on June 10, 2011


sheet musiclisten

It's the intro to a song I'm working on. I'm a guitarist who's started taking piano lessons so it's also a piano exercise for myself.
posted by Khalad at 6:01 AM on June 10, 2011


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