(22 replies, posted in Music theory)

It's correct that the harmonic minor scale raises the 7th, so in A min it gives G#.
That's for the purpose of harmonies when playing the chords associated with A min.
You can use either E major or E minor (for the chord on the 5th) when playing in A minor, depending on whether your melody uses the sharpened 7th (G#) or not. Many, many tunes in A minor use the sharpened 7th as leading note, and consequently E (maj) or E7 to harmonise. The non-sharp 7th gives a "modal" sound and can also be harmonised with a G major chord.
In traditional music theory the melodic minor scale sharpens both the 6th and 7th of the scale when rising (giving F# and G# in A minor), but returns them to straight G and F when descending. This gives the possibility of chords of D maj and E maj for harmonising a melody rising to A via the notes F# and G#.
The key of A minor is always the relative minor of C maj, irrespective of whether or not you use the harmonic, melodic or any other version of the scale to get from A to A, so long as C and not C# is used for the 3rd.
What makes the key A minor is the root (or home) note of A, and the root chord of A minor. A leading note of G# (harmonised with an E chord) does not make the key any different.


(8 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

It must be sure proof that the USA and UK are different planets, because I have absolutely no idea what the above two posters are talking about. smile

Anyone for cricket?
Who'll win the Ashes...


(11 replies, posted in Acoustic)

Another possible tip is to make sure your left elbow is not in contact with your body, but to push it out a few inches. (Maybe 6 to 9) This causes your lower arm and wrist to be straighter, and your fingers will have a better angle to the fret board.
Whether this works or not will have a lot to do with how you hold your guitar; the angle etc.

This site will give you the shape of F13 and any other chord you want.
Here's F13 on the piano


(5 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

It's just 12 miles down the road from where I live. I've never seen so many "visitors" to this area. The city of Newport has been planning for this for many years. The only thing you can't plan for is the weather.
Celtic Manor has a wonderful golf course situated in some beautiful countryside. I'm not a great golf fan, but there is plenty of excitement around here at the moment.

Yes Russell.
I just had a listen and you are right.
In the key PapaTom is playing it, that would be Bb for 4 beats and C for 4 beats and back to D
There are only those chords in the harmony. The counter melody sings over them.

It's a while since I last heard that song but I seem to remember that, in this key, it's just Bb (4 beats) G (4 beats) back to D
There is an 8 note counter melody sliding down and sung by one of the other Beatles over Ringo's held top note, but it goes with the chords I've suggested. No need for 8 different chords. How does it sound?


(5 replies, posted in Music theory)

The Eva Cassidy version I found on YouTube just cycles through the the chords Am, G, F, E7 (each one for two beats)- you can hear them clearly in the intro. It is also a half tone higher meaning the capo is on the 1st fret.
The tab you found is incorrect.
What I think it refers to is that the E7 chord is played twice but with a G in the bass on the 2nd beat. The E chord is a bit "blue", being a a bit Emajor/Eminor. The tab is wrong - it should be E7  E7/G (E7 with G bass)
I suggest playing the E7/G as either 320100 (if you want it E major "blue") or 320000 if you want it more Em
The chord sounds a bit strange on its own but is fine in context.

It's the consequence of the way chords are named.
There are major and minor chords in the same way as there are major and minor keys. In the key of C minor the root chord is the chord of C minor. C Eb G C. In C major it is C E G C.
Normally, the major chord is just written C, whereas the minor chord is written Cm.
If I add a 7th to the chord of C major, I have 2 choices, either the normal (leading note) 7th, which is a B; or the flattened 7th which is a Bb.
In music theory, the B forms a major 7th and the Bb forms what is called a "minor" 7th. Both these are in the key of C major.
Minor 7th here refers to the interval between the tonic C and the 7th. It doesn't mean that the chord is C minor. This is where it gets confusing.
So C E G B is C major, with added major 7th, to give its full title
C E G Bb is C major, with added minor 7th
The 1st usually gets shortened to C7 and the second usually to Cmaj7
Both of these short forms leave out a lot of information and are used because it's convenient and we all understand what they mean.

If you are in the key of C minor it gets even more complicated
If you add a 7th you can get
C Eb G B which is C minor with added major 7th **
C Eb G Bb which is C minor with added minor 7th
You can see the potential for confusion now!
If I say "C minor 7th" do I mean C minor with a major 7th or C minor with a minor 7th or C major with a minor 7th?
The answer is that this naming system for chords is not an exact science and has been simplified to make it easier to use.
There are conventions which guitarists follow where we all usually agree what, for example, C7 actually means.
The use of tabs makes things clearer. Then we know exactly what chord is intended.

To answer your question, the author is sort of right. It is what is usually meant by people when they use the expression.
A "minor" 7th can, strictly speaking, refer to the fact that the chord is minor, and also that the 7th is flattened.
To get around this, the term dominant 7th is used to indicate the case where the chord is major and the 7th is flattened.
As I said, in a major key, it's only the 7th chord on the 5th note of the scale (the dominant) that is naturally major with a flattened 7th.
This is why major chords with a flattened (=minor) 7th have come to be called dominant 7ths.
However, the 7th in this chord, because it is flattened, is called a minor 7th. This distinguishes it from the case where the 7th is not flattened, and is called a major 7th.
So, 7ths can be major or minor, and chords can be major or minor.
The author is, I assume, attempting to simplify this. When he says minor 7th, he is referring to a minor chord with a 7th. When he means major chord with a seventh, he uses the term dominant 7th.
It is confusing. Guitar chord names, in order to be useable, don't tell the whole story; and that's where the confusion lies.

I spent years studying music theory (piano) before I picked up a guitar. I found the naming of guitar chords very confusing initially because of just this way of simplifying the names of the chords.
I hope I've explained this reasonably well, but I may well have just made it more confusing!

** C minor with an added major 7th [C Eb G B] or any similar chord in another key sounds very strange. I can't say I know of any song which has this chord.

Astronomikal wrote:
Stonebridge wrote:

The minor 7th is also often called a dominant 7th . . .

Part of the reason I think I would have failed music theory is because I'm a (left-brained) engineer.  Let's examine this:

  > Some synonyms for "Minor":  small, miniscule, unimportant.

  > Some synonyms for "Dominant":  powerful, overbearing, important.

My point is that a thesaurus could very well show that "Minor" and "Dominant" are antonyms.

So when Stonebridge points out that "minor ... is also often called dominant ...", my tekkie brain wants to explode.

I get, but to me it's just not logical.

There is a logical reason for this. Sit tight, it may take a while...

The notes of the 8 note scale we all know (CDEFGAB and back to C) have been given names that express where they are in relation to the "tonic". These are
1. Tonic
2. Supertonic (above the tonic)
3. Mediant (middle note of the triad 1.3.5)
4. Subdominant (below, or lower,  dominant)
5. Dominant (most important note of the scale after the tonic)
6. Submediant (lower mediant)
7. Leading note (leads back to the tonic)
8. Tonic (or octave)

The 7th chord built on the 5th note of the scale, called the dominant note, is called a dominant 7th.
(It would be GBDF in the key of C.)
In other words, it's "dominant" not because it's a 7th, but because it's built on the dominant note of the scale.
Strictly speaking, a 7th should only be called a "dominant" 7th when it is, for example, G7 in the key of C. [G being the 5th note in the key of C]
This dominant 7th is important because it is the chord that often leads back to the tonic (base) key.
Over the years, any "minor" 7th has come to be called a dominant 7th because it has the same structure.
So, minor refers to the actual notes in the chord, the structure; but dominant refers to the original idea of this chord being based on the 5th (dominant) note of the scale, and being the most important 7th chord in that key.

I hope it has put your mind at rest smile


(7 replies, posted in Music theory)

Yes it really is as simple as that. smile
If you play an Em shape with a capo on the 5th fret you are playing Am (but with the Em shape). The same for all the other open shapes.
There's a very interesting trick if you are playing as a duo with two acoustic guitars both strumming the same chords. For a bit of variety and to create a much richer and more interesting sound, one guitar plays, lets say, Am in the standard position, and the other plays the Em shape with capo on 5th. (So also plays in Am).
So if your song has chords, say, Am, G, C, player 1 plays those as usual and player two capos the 5th fret and plays the shapes Em, D, G.

You've got it.
What you wrote is just fine.

steve441 wrote:

I have a question. Has to do with a 7th chord.
In a D chord you would add C, it being the 7th.
In a C chord you would add a Bb, not a B to get a 7th, even though the C is natural.


There are 2 common "7th" chords - major and minor. When you see "7th" without reference to major or minor it usually means minor 7th.
C with a B is Cmaj7. C with a Bb is C (minor7th) or just C7.
D with a C# is Dmaj7. D with a C is usually just written D7.
The minor 7th is also often called a dominant 7th because it leads back to the basic key.
e.g. D7 (D chord with a C in it) is often the chord that leads back to the key of G.
Hope that helps.

My interpretation is that a sus 2 is where the 2nd is sounded instead of the 3rd, and then usually "resolves" up to it. Same idea as a sus4 where the 4th is sounded instead of the 3rd. [which I'm sure is what Jerome meant!]
An add2 is where you add the second and sound it at the same time as the 3rd. (and root).
It's not always so clear cut and people have a habit of expressing these chords in different ways.

I've often wondered that too!
It's because it follows the following pattern:
Start at the root and by adding 3 and 5 you get the main triad.
Next add 7 to get your 7th (major or diminished)
Next comes 9.
It's just the sequence of adding 3rds above root note.
It indicates (reminds) that the 9th is usually played above the 7th (if present) and in a higher octave as you guessed correctly.
More here


(5 replies, posted in Chordie's Chat Corner)

There most certainly is a relationship.
Notes an octave apart have frequencies in the ratio exactly 2 to 1
Notes that are considered harmonious and combine together in chords (triads) have frequencies related by simple mathematical ratios.
The "harmonics" you can play on your guitar strings are related by the very same ratios.
Even Pythagoras recognised the importance of mathematics in music.
And the great thing is, you can still enjoy and play music without knowing anything about the maths.

Zurf wrote:

Elizabeth Cotton played that way.  Here's a picture of the guitar she wrote Freight Train on - encased in a display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.  Notice how it's worn near the sound hole opposite the pick guard.

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_N8639F1FxC0/S9Y9P … GP1692.JPG

And here she is playing it - upside down and left handed.



(4 replies, posted in Music theory)

To transpose down one step (semitone) using the chordie feature is great but you often end up playing in some potentially quite difficult keys.
For example, if the song was in G, chordie will transpose it into F#, which could prove tricky for some.
The solution (which is echoing what Russell said) is to use chordie to transpose down, and then the capo to get back up to where you want to be.
Example: transpose down 5 on chordie and then capo up 4 frets. Down 5 and up 4 means overall you are down 1.
Why down 5 you ask?
If the original is in C, for example, this puts it into G and keeps the chord shapes fairly simple and open.
The trick is to use chordie to transpose down till you get a key with chord shapes you are happy with. Then, note how many steps down that was, and capo back up one step less.


(13 replies, posted in Acoustic)

mekidsmom wrote:

Stonebridge... thank you!  I think I can work with that... maybe change a little to suit what I am looking for.  I REALLY appreciate you figuring this out for me!  I especially appreciate that you found chords I can do and add the capo!  smile 

BTW... I found my sheet music and it does have chords listed above the staff of...

Eflat, Cm, F7, Bflat,
Gm, Eflat,
Dm, Gm, Cm, Gm,
EflatMaj7, Cm7

with Bflat and Eflat throughout the melody

I am assuming those are piano chords, since this is a solo voice and piano arrangement... but I don't know if that helps at all.  I think I'll try what you've written out here for me Stonebridge... no worries trying to figure it out further, this works!  Thank you again!

Oh... I found some doing it on youtube based on my version I have here... It's by John Jacob Niles if anyone wants to look up the piano (Americanized) version that I learned.

There were typos on mine, and those two first A chords in the last line should have been Am not A. I've changed them now.


(13 replies, posted in Acoustic)

Hi there mekidsmom.
I've worked out the chords in the Youtube version. This is what they play on that;
The chordie chords are not quite what I'm hearing on YouTube
it's in Bm on Youtube. Play it in Am with capo on 2 if you want it in the same key.
/ / means 2 slow beats
Am// Am/G //  G // G // Am //
Am// G// F// G//
Am// F// Am// F/ E/ Am//

The second chord Am/G is Am with a G in the bass.


(10 replies, posted in Guitars and accessories)

I had a similar question some time ago and here is the thread - and the outcome.
Lots of helpful people on here.


(14 replies, posted in Acoustic)

Hi Amethyst, and a Celtic "croeso" from Wales.


(1 replies, posted in Song requests)

kentojea wrote:

Hej. Någon som vet hur man spelar den urgamla (1942) melodi "Vårat gäng" på gittar, speciellt sticket? Textet börjar "Var i stan här finns det än..." finns också med e värre text som "Vi är grabbarna som kan .... ..... med vänster hand...

/ Kent N

Here's a translation for those who don't understand Swedish.

Does anyone know how to play the old (1942) tune "Vårat gäng" (Our Gang) on the guitar? It starts "Var i stan här finns det än.." and  "Vi är grabbarna som kan .... ..... med vänster hand..."

Var så god.

Any Leonard Cohen song, especially those from the early days like Suzanne, Hej That's No Way, Bird on a Wire, So Long Marianne, Who by Fire, etc.
All the songbooks have chords, tabs with fingering and piano. (At least the ones I bought do!)


(14 replies, posted in Music theory)

I can't really add anything to these excellent answers, other than to say that the 145 progression (in whatever key) has been around in music for a couple of hundred years. Part of the significance is that you can harmonise any note in the key with one of those chords. In other words, you could get by (just) without knowing more than those 3 chords!
(So long as you don't want to modulate to another key)