The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17666   Message #172971
Posted By: M. Ted (inactive)
03-Feb-00 - 03:05 PM
Thread Name: Help: Chord Theory/Questions
Subject: RE: Help: Chord Theory/Questions
Frank Hamilton--you did a wonderful job both explaining, and of putting a human face on this sticky chord naming issue--I have a couple comments, and I hope I don't muddy things up again--

First, when you name chords, it is important to understand that before you can find the chords name, you must know what key you are playing in so you know what the fundamental is and what the relation of all the other notes are to it(this point has been alluded to, but I wanted to spell it out--

Secondly,(another point that has been alluded to before) you have to be clear on what you mean by a chord-- you have to remember that when you play the guitar,you may be playing any one of three parts, melody, bass, and chord accompaniment, or a combination of those things--Techincally, you can consider all the notes that sound simultanously as a chord, but you may avoid a lot of confusion if you think about a descending bass line as a second part that you are playing, rather than as part of the chord--the same is true of melody lines--

Thirdly, know whether the chord you are dealing with is part of the tonic or the dominant harmony--

Fourth--don't get confused trying to give names to note configurations that aren't exactly chords, think of them in terms of the notes and the intervals that are actually played--guitarists tend think of musical pieces as basically chord progressions--This is a habit that relates to the fact that guitar parts are often just shown as a set of chords that are played behind the melody or solo-

Fifth--You must understand that sometimes passing and chromatic tones have been harmonized in the key and sometimes by changing to another key--Sometimes what sounds like a really twisted C-sharp chord in the Key of C is really just an A7 in the key of D.

Grey Wolf said something that seems simple--that you should just play what sounds good--The problem is that you (assuming that you are the typical, contemporary self taught, with a little help from friends,folk/rock/blues/pop musician) have assimilated information on all kinds of harmony and melody that you can re-create"intuitively", without being able to explain--lots of technically complex stuff sounds natural and good to you--The problem comes when you have most of something but don't know how to complete it, because, although you can hear it and recreate it, you don't really understand the theory well enough to do a nuts and bolts kind of finish to it--

(Sorry not to be as brief and to the point as Frank)