Re: [Harp-L] Numbers Game
I'm getting concerned... I actually understood some of this. All joking
aside, thanks Winston. This made some things much clearer in my normally
Steve Webb in Minn.
On Sun, Dec 5, 2010 at 2:33 PM, Winslow Yerxa wrote:
Chords are built starting with 1, 3, and 5 - the notes of a triad.
Historically, the next extension was to add the 7th. Then 9, 11 and
13, after which you've used all the notes in a 7-note major or minor
Extending the uneven numbers up like that is just a way of being
logically orderly in how you construct, or arrive at, a particular
How you *voice* a chord is another matter. You can put the 9th in a
lower octave where it may form the interval of a second with the root,
for instance. That's sort of what the guitar teacher was getting at,
but he didn't understand (or chose to ignore) the distinction between
construction and voicing.
Now if you just add a 2nd to a chord (as opposed to a 9th), the
distinction is that it feels like an added tone that may set up
tension because it's dissonant with the root and the third, and may
required resolution to a consonant note to relieve the tension.But if
it's part of a 9th chord, even though it's technically dissonant, it's
supported by the 7th (which is also technically dissonant) but now it
feels like an integrated part of the chord. It may resolve to
something consonant when you change to the following chord, but while
that chord is playing, it's a full member of the family.
The existence of something like an 11th chord presupposes that you got
there by the ladder of thirds and that the same chord has a 7th and a
9th. But in practice, players may omit the "ladder" steps so that you
have a chord that may have, for instance, C, E G, D F# A - a #11/13
chord (F# being the #11) even though what it sounds like is a D Major
triad plonked on top of a C major triad.
Then you get added color notes as with the so-called major 6th chord
such as C E G A. In music school I had theory teachers who insisted
that there was no such thing as a C major 6th chord and that it was
just an inversion of an A minor 7th chord (A C E G). But the practical
fact is that it functions like a C chord with an added 6th. You can
give it a structural rationale (f you feel you need one) by saying
that its origin is in building up in thirds from an A root, and then
Author, Harmonica For Dummies ISBN 978-0-470-33729-5
Harmonica instructor, The Jazzschool for Music Study and Performance
Resident expert, bluesharmonica.com
From: Elizabeth Hess <TrackHarpL@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Harp-L <Harp-L@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Fri, December 3, 2010 10:12:20 AM
Subject: [Harp-L] Numbers Game
Why are they called 9th chords and 11th chords and not 2nd chords and
4th chords? Is the difference between a Maj6 chord and a 13th chord
that in the 13th chord the 7th, 9th, and 11th are in there, too? Or
is the difference the octave in which the note-in-question (6th/13th)
A major 6th chord and a minor 7th chord seem to have an awful lot in
common: Am7 vs C6, for example. Is one not an inversion of the
other? Is there any value in thinking of these as "enharmonic
chords"? Is the decision of what to write on the chord sheet
dependent on context? Something else?
When can you play a chord in any inversion that's convenient, and when
is the inversion played (or written) significant?
These are not burning questions... Just stuff that's rattling around
in my brain that won't go away.
Thanks in advance.
Elizabeth (aka "Tin Lizzie")
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