The Architecture of Music

Chords

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Documenting Common Chords Using Interval Diagrams and Chord Formulas

Interval Diagrams of Common Chords

When common chords were drawn using interval diagrams, a logical ascending order began to form. Notice how all the chords above are similar. They all contain a root note and the note seven semitones higher in pitch (indicated by the X) known as the perfect 5th. Only one note, the third note (represented by the triangle) changes position and its interval names the chord. The chords above are 3-tone chords because they contain exactly three different notes. Any combination of any number of notes played simultaneously is considered a chord. Chords can have upwards of 5, 6, and even 7 different notes and more. Though the book only covers 4-tone chords, the design of the chord encyclopedia allows for deeper exploration of more polytonal chords.