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Help: Figuring out chords

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GUEST,Bill 07 Feb 00 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Neil Lowe 07 Feb 00 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,petr 07 Feb 00 - 04:41 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 07 Feb 00 - 07:04 PM
Mike Robertson 08 Feb 00 - 06:39 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 08 Feb 00 - 11:31 AM
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Subject: Figuring out chords
From: GUEST,Bill
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 01:34 PM

If you are trying to figure out the chords to a song, and you come across some chords new to you, how do figure them out? Bill

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Subject: RE: Help: Figuring out chords
From: GUEST,Neil Lowe
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 02:27 PM

If you have access to software or electronics that slows the music down, then you can record the chord in question, and isolate it so that it plays over and over. Then you can pick it out note for note until you get a precise match for your ear.

If you can't slow it down to do that, then you have to keep replaying the music over and over on the cassette/CD/turntable, and do essentially the same thing. I start with the bass note, or root of the chord first, trying to get a match for the root. That at least tells you what the root chord might be, for example a C-something. Once that's decided then you can try all variations of the C chord that you know (e.g., C7, Cm, Cm7, Cmaj7, C6, etc etc), playing them along with the music, hoping that you come up with a match. Only thing is, you have to be pretty familiar with a lot of chord variations.

Not very scientific I'll admit....but it works for me - most of the time - as long as the chord isn't some weird dissonant jazz chord.

Regards, Neil

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Subject: RE: Help: Figuring out chords
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 04:41 PM

Speaking of software that slows music down. I use cooledit which will record from a cd and slow down to a desired speed without changing the pitch. Its handy for learning fiddle tunes (available from its free shareware, although you need to register to be able to save. cheers Petr

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Subject: RE: Help: Figuring out chords
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 07 Feb 00 - 07:04 PM

I assume that you are talking about figuring out the chords, by ear, to a recording. it can be hard, sometimes, and there are some songs that you won't be able to figure out--given that, here are a couple of tips--

Count out the measures, and write the changes out, count for count, measure for measure, section for section--this way, you'll know which measures you know and which you need to find chords for--(This isn't that hard, since most melodies are no more than twelve or sixteen meaures long)

Learn to play the melody, note for note, at least for the measures that you are not sure of--and try each chord that each melody note is in until you find the right one--There aren't that many chords that any given note occurs in, so this isn't really that hard (remember that chord changes usually happen only on the first or first and third counts of each measure, so if an odd note occurs on the 2nd or 4th count, it should fit with the chord of either the count before it, or the count after it)

Remember that melodies usually start out on the tonic chord, move to the dominant, and then back to the tonic. When in doubt, try the dominant--also, as someone pointed out above, find the bass note--it is generally a pretty fair indicator of the chord--

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Subject: RE: Help: Figuring out chords
From: Mike Robertson
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 06:39 AM

If you do have CoolEdit or equivalent software that can do spectral analysis then you can 'cheat' by isolating the chord that is escaping you and then feeding it into the analysis tool. CoolEdit is more convenient than most for this because you can put your mouse pointer over the peaks in the analysis and get an exact readout of the frequency it found. Then you can look up that frequency in the following table to find out what note you're looking at:

Note Frequency
A 110.0 220.0440.0880.0
Bb116.5 233.1466.2932.3
B 123.5 246.9493.9987.8
C 130.8 261.6523.31046.5
C#138.6 277.2554.41108.7
D 146.8 293.7587.31174.7
D#155.6 311.1622.31244.5
E 164.8 329.6659.31318.5
F 174.6 349.2698.51396.9
F#185.0 370.0740.01480.0
G 196.0 392.0784.01568.0
G#207.7 415.3830.61661.2


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Subject: RE: Help: Figuring out chords
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 08 Feb 00 - 11:31 AM

Or you can just run your fingers up and down the neck til you find the note--

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