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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957356
09/11/12 08:50 AM
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Virginia, you can find out the half-steps between each pair of notes in a type of chord by counting them for the C chords at the top of the chart. Then check with some other keys to see that the half-step count is the same for other chords of the same type (i.e. in the same column).

Another way to understand chords is by interval. For example:
  • major chord has root, note a major third from the root, and note a perfect fifth from the root.
    .
  • minor chord has root, note a minor third from the root, and note a perfect fifth from the root. Move middle note in major chord down a half-step.
    .
  • augmented chord has root, note a major third from the root, and note an augmented fifth from the root. Move top note in major chord up a half-step.

There are lots of patterns and relations between the types of chords; let me know if this information here makes sense and I'll go on about the 6 and 7 chords.


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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957357
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(And if it doesn't make sense, please ask questions!)

Also, try this out at the keyboard: pick a root, construct the major triad (three-note chord, stacked like a snowman) with that root. Toggle the middle and top fingers to form the minor and augmented triads. Listen to the sound of these. Check the notes you've found against the chart. Check the half-step counts. Repeat with another root. Etc.


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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957408
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I left out one more little bit: on the chart of chords,

The first column is the root: the note the chord is built on

The second column, labeled "Major", is the major triad.

The third column, labeled "m", is the minor triad.

The fourth column, labeled "+", is the augmented triad.


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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957449
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Virginia,

I’m sure there are a million or more basic introductions to chords and using them in “popular” music – but one I have found to be clear, concise, and fun is a pdf book available at the Music With Ease site –

The link is:

http://www.musicwithease.com/play-popular-music.html

It is a good beginning for me and gives a basic set of musical knowledge on which to build, including a short section s embellishing – using the chords in a different way.


How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Jeff Clef] #1957457
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
Maybe this chord chart will be of help. . . [Linked Image]


Jeff, and everyone who might be printing it,

It is a small detail, but since we are learning here, we may as well be correct. The chords in the tenth column are not diminished triads, as the º symbol indicates, but are in fact diminished seventh chords, and most (all?) are spelled incorrectly.
While, as diminished SEVENTH chords, these enharmonic spellings will sound right, if one attempts to use PianoStudent88's perfectly correct start to building these, the chart will not make sense.

Virginia,

Now that you are armed with some information, and some terminology, I would encourage you to visit a good music store, and let them know the sort of reference book you are looking for. There you will be able to browse a wide variety of stuff, and select intelligently.

Ed


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957459
09/11/12 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Tech 5
So, is the concept the same for the minor cords, also, what about the 7-key chord structure. Is there an equally logical pattern to those? I love logic.!
Yes, theoretically you could build minor chords with a formula too, but I think it wastes time. Like PS88 suggested, if you get used to altering a major chord to the other 3 chord types, you really only need to be able to build the 12 major chords from scratch. Major and minor account for 95% of what you'll see in pop music (except for jazz). So once you can get to the major chords quickly, just make the minor by dropping the third down a half step.

For some more logic, once you know your major and minor chords, you can figure out how they fit into the 12 keys. Each chord will naturally exist in 3 keys. If you can play a major scale, the chords built on the first, fourth and fifth note of the scale are major, and the chords built on the second, third and sixth note are minor. So for a C scale:

C Dm Em F G Am

Don't worry about the seventh note, it's technically a diminished chord, but rarely seen. So if you know what an F chord is, it would be the 4 chord in the key of C. But it can also be the 1 chord in the key of F and the 5 chord in the key of Bb. Same F chord in all 3 keys.

If you want to take chord recognition a little further, I teach chord categories, which are chord shapes. Most people know that C, F and G are all the same shape (all white keys). D, E and A are also the same shape (I call it tent shape). When you get to the point where you are inverting your chords, it helps to group these chords together, since physically they will feel similar. You'll be able to apply 1 concept to all the chords in that category quickly.

Enough logic for you? wink


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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: LoPresti] #1957468
09/11/12 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by LoPresti
It is a small detail, but since we are learning here, we may as well be correct. The chords in the tenth column are not diminished triads, as the º symbol indicates, but are in fact diminished seventh chords, and many are spelled incorrectly. While, as diminished SEVENTH chords, these will sound right, if one attempts to use PianoStudent88's perfectly correct start to building these, the chart will not make sense.

As far as spelling, I was going to identify dim7 chords as keys on the keyboard first, and think about spelling later. And then indicate why different spellings might be chosen for the same say Cdim7 that one might see on a lead sheet.

As I understand it, lead sheet convention often uses plain Cdim to mean the diminished seventh chord, or perhaps to mean that the player should choose which sounds better, the triad or the seventh chord. If that's the case, I can imagine that a similar convention has arisen around the diminished notation that uses ° instead of "dim": C° and C°7.

I am not a lead sheet player, but what I have been told about lead sheets is that the conventions for letter-naming chords are not identical to the roman numeral conventions that I learned in strict academic music theory. Different arenas, different purposes, different scopes, different conventions. Doesn't bother me.

Quote
Now that you are armed with some information, and some terminology, I would encourage you to visit a good music store, and let them know the sort of reference book you are looking for. There you will be able to browse a wide variety of stuff, and select intelligently.

This, I agree with. I'll put in a plug for Edly's Music Theory For Practical People, by Ed Roseman. I don't think it covers how to realize a lead sheet (or if it does, I was so not ready for that that I totally don't even remember it), but it does cover all the music theory basics for chords, and I enjoyed reading it.


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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: PianoStudent88] #1957473
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
As I understand it, lead sheet convention often uses plain Cdim to mean the diminished seventh chord, or perhaps to mean that the player should choose which sounds better, the triad or the seventh chord. If that's the case, I can imagine that a similar convention has arisen around the diminished notation that uses ° instead of "dim": C° and C°7.

PS88,

Since I am no longer allowed to post on this Forum, and happened to "sneak one in" here, I will simply say this: Following that liberal logic about extemporaneous chord construction, I see not a single augmented seventh chord in the Chart's column marked "+", yet every single diminished triad ( º ) in the column sports a diminished seventh (or major sixth) also. Could be wrong - looks like a MISTAKE.



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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957506
09/11/12 02:57 PM
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I will start by being in agreement with BrianLucas. Chords should begin with an understanding of how chords work, not with chord charts. These charts may have their uses, but they can become a crutch like constantly using a dictionary to look up every word because the principals of spelling aren't known. If you understand how chords work and can construct your own, then the charts become unnecessary.

I suggest that when understanding how chords work, even with a good reference book, that you spend a lot of time on the keyboard understanding them as sound and how sound and spelling go hand in hand. The spelling part is tricky because music has its "grammar". For major, minor, ordinary seventh chords (the kind commonly known as "dominant 7"), the spelling is standard. When you get to things like augmented and diminished sevenths the "grammar" kicks in for real music. But the SOUND will always be there. It's too much to explain here. You'll get it through proper study.

Ed, I understand that in some places they use the "dim" symbol to mean "dim7" and that it will be found in music, but I disagree with it when that happens because it leads to confusion. There is a difference between a diminished triad and a diminished seven.

Btw, if you were not allowed to post in the forum, we wouldn't be seeing your post because then admin. would have blocked your access.

Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: PianoStudent88] #1957507
09/11/12 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
(And if it doesn't make sense, please ask questions!)

Also, try this out at the keyboard: pick a root, construct the major triad (three-note chord, stacked like a snowman) with that root. Toggle the middle and top fingers to form the minor and augmented triads. Listen to the sound of these. Check the notes you've found against the chart. Check the half-step counts. Repeat with another root. Etc.


This procedure of counting half steps doesn't seem to work with B Major or I'm I just confused? Isn't B Major (B,D#, and F#)? If so, this gives 5 half steps if B is counted as the 1st...so you don't count the root, right? What are augmented triads? Also, are the chords the same when played with either hand?

Thanks so much for your help!


Virginia

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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957528
09/11/12 03:52 PM
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When counting half-steps, it's like counting steps walking: you count each step you take. Don't count your starting point as a step.

So, to figure out B major chord.
Start at B.
Take 1 half-step, arrive at C
Take 2nd half-step, arrive at C#
Take 3rd half-step, arrive at D
Take 4th half-step, arrive at D#

OK, we just found D# as the second note of the B chord.
Start at D#.
Take 1 half-step, arrive at E
Take 2nd half-step, arrive at F
Take 3rd half-step, arrive at F#

So from B to D# is 4 half-steps, and from D# to F# is 3 half-steps. So B major chord is B D# F#. So you were right that it is B D# F#.

Does that make sense? Check it on some other major chords.

~~~~~~
Augmented triads are the three note chords illustrated in the fourth column of the chart. They are indicated with either "aug" (as in Caug) or "+" (as in C+). I think major and minor are much much much more common than augmented chords, so you could easily ignore augmented chords for now. But I could be wrong.

~~~~~~
As to whether the chords are the same in either hand: yes and no, depending on what you meant by your question.

Yes, when you're simply playing the simple forms of the chords shown in the chart, play the same notes with either hand, or both hands.

No, when you start to find more creative ways to play from a lead sheet you probably won't play the same thing in the RH as in the LH, and you probably won't play the chord in the basic position shown here. For example, Cm, would you play C Eb G all squashed together? Probably not. Maybe you'll play C and C an octave higher in the LH, and Eb and G high up in the RH. Maybe you'll play C and G in the LH, and Eb and Eb an octave higher in the RH. Maybe you'll play C in the LH, and C Eb G spread out in the RH. Or any of many other possibilities. Those would all count as Cm, even though the notes have been scrambled up and spread around from the plain presentation of C Eb G on the chart all squashed together.


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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: PianoStudent88] #1957556
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Woe!! This way beyond my ability to comprehend ( the last two paragraphs), but maybe someday. I understand the first part. Thanks for clarifying the counting of 1/2 steps. I really appreciate all the info. I will print it and refer back to it a little at a time.

So, am I to understand that all this chord activity is for popular music only. Chords are not played the same in classical music, right?

You never have "lead" sheets in classical music?

Thanks again!


Virginia

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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957560
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Sorry for the last two paragraphs being incomprehensible. Said more succinctly: Yes, while learning these just play them the same in RH and LH. This is a basic simple outline. Later on, as with everything in music, things will look more complex. But I'm trying to stay simple.

Answering your other question: These chords appear in both popular and classical music.

Normally classical music is not labeled with the chord names. As part of analysing the music, someone learning the music might very well write in the chord names implied by the music.

Classical music is sort of the reverse of a lead sheet. On a lead sheet, you get the chord names and have to make up an accompaniment. In classical music, you get all the notes and have to figure out the chord names if you want them.

Last week I saw a Bach Fake Book (Bach in lead sheet format), so anything's possible! grin


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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957564
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Originally Posted by Tech 5
You never have "lead" sheets in classical music?

In the Baroque era they had a version of lead sheets, called "figured bass." Just like lead sheets, this was a system which told the accompanist what harmonies to play in the accompaniment, but didn't specify exactly how to play the accompaniment.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose! (The more things change, the more they're the same thing.)


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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: keystring] #1957584
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Hey, KeyString, this is a Red Letter Day! I agree with absolutely EVERYTHING you wrote here!!

Originally Posted by keystring
. . . These charts may have their uses, but they can become a crutch like constantly using a dictionary to look up every word because the principals of spelling aren't known.

A perfect simile!

Originally Posted by keystring
Ed, I understand that in some places they use the "dim" symbol to mean "dim7" and that it will be found in music, but I disagree with it when that happens because it leads to confusion. There is a difference between a diminished triad and a diminished seven.

Absolutely. I am not the one who brought up this notion - it was our esteemed colleague who has a username too long for me to write. I chose not to dispute the idea in this thread because of the detailed explanation it requires. I did point out, for those who might understand it, that the augmented triads were not similarly bastardized.

Originally Posted by keystring
Btw, if you were not allowed to post in the forum, we wouldn't be seeing your post because then admin. would have blocked your access.

I believe exclusion was by acclamation, or popular vote, or something like that.

O.K. I'm ready for your rebuttal . . .
Ed


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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: PianoStudent88] #1957590
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
When counting half-steps, it's like counting steps walking: you count each step you take. Don't count your starting point as a step.

So, to figure out B major chord.
Start at B.
Take 1 half-step, arrive at C
Take 2nd half-step, arrive at C#
Take 3rd half-step, arrive at D
Take 4th half-step, arrive at D#

Does that make sense?

It absolutely makes sense, UNTIL the semantics get sticky: Virginia will eventually read somewhere that the interval from B to C is a second.

Ed


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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957593
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Ed, there is only one thing I'd like to explore - namely augmented chords. In music itself I see varying spelling choices. The aug chord happens along with whole tone passages (among others), and writing a whole tone scale in and of itself is a tricky business. I've run into augmented chords where it was a toss up between G# and Ab for a given note, and there were reasons why the composer made this or that choice. That is the bottom line for diminished seven chords as well: what else is going on in the music.


Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957594
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Quote
It absolutely makes sense, UNTIL the semantics get sticky: Virginia will eventually read somewhere that the interval from B to C is a second.

Yes, and when that comes up I'll point out that there is a different way to wrap one's head around that terminology.

You have to be able to count two ways in music: cardinal (as in 4 half-steps) and ordinal (as in major third). But I'm only explaining one of those ways at a time.


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Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957596
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To Virginia:
I have found in teaching that the most effective way is to go from the known and familiar. So with that in mind I'd like to go over some of the ideas already presented and what I think is crucial for a start.

1. You are familiar with the C major scale. On the piano we can see and hear the notes of C major without worrying about black keys, and those notes are also there in written music the same way. We can use the C major scale and white keys as a model.

2. Concept of "steps". Consider these to be a unit of measurement in the same way that inches are a small unit of measure. An interval is a distance between two notes (pitches), and if so, we want to be able to measure the distance.

Print this out and go to the piano. Play C. If you go to the closest piano key touching C, you'll have moved up to the black key (C# or Db). THAT is a step. If you have moved over one key, then you have moved one step (also known as semitone).

Now consider D, which is the next note in the C major scale. If you were an ant that had to crawl from C to D, you would climb up the C# piano key, and back down to the white D key. You have moved two half steps. This is how we use that unit of measure.

Why do we bother with this? Consider the adjacent black key. If we play those two notes one after the other, then we might say we went from C to C# or from C to Db. For the way notes are spelled (written down), the NAME of the interval would be called something different. But the SOUND is the same. The DISTANCE between them is the same.

It is handy to have some kind of measuring unit. I don't use "half step" very often, but it is absolutely useful to understand.

(to be continued)

Re: How to read chords on sheet music? [Re: Tech 5] #1957598
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(continuation)
Go back to your C major scale. Starting on C, which is the "tonic" or starting note, we can call D, E, F etc. note number 1, note number 2, note number 3. These are the "degrees" of the scale. E is the 3rd degree of C major, F is the 4th degree, etc. always counting from the bottom.

Explore C to D - there are those two half steps. D to E - you're climbing over a black note again - two half steps - E to F, you only travel one half step.

You will find the same pattern in B major: B to C# = two half steps - C# to D# = two have steps, D # to E = one half step. every major scale will have the same pattern.
A half step = H; two half steps are a whole tone = H. The pattern in any major scale is WWHWWWH.
C(W)D(W)E(H)F(W)G(W)A(W)B(H)C

If for any reason you need to find such patterns, go back to C major on the piano, knowing that your white notes give all the notes of the scale, and explore the patterns.

If people talk about half steps, go back to a visual model.

Also use SOUND: A half step has a very unique (and jarring) sound. Play a bunch of half step intervals together all over the piano. Then try two-step (whole tone) and notice the unique sound of that.

(continued)

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Cutting down the sides of a Keyboard
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Finally Posted Photos of New AA
by DDobs. 01/18/19 11:23 PM
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