The Architecture of Music

Chords

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Chord Reference Charts

These chord reference charts can be used to find any root position, 1st and 2nd inversion, and add variation chord based on the notes being played and their pitch order. The bass note is the lowest note played in a chord and the add note variation(s) are always played higher in pitch after the 3-toned chord is formed.

These chord reference charts can be used to find the names of any root position, 1st and 2nd inversion, and add variation based on the notes being played and their pitch order. To find the name of a chord, write down the notes of the chord you are playing in ascending pitch order from the lowest to highest note. First find the bass note on the chart. Then figure out if the chord is in root position or a 2nd inversion. If the chord contains the 5th it is in the root position. If it contains the perfect 4th and not a 5th, the chord is a 2nd inversion. Next locate the third note and find the chord name. If the chord does not contain a perfect 5th or perfect 4th, check to see if the chord is a 1st inversion and find the root and 5th. Finally, if the chord contains a fourth note, locate the add and find its name. If the chord is not on any of these charts the chord is rootless. These charts can also be used to find negative chords as well as indicated by the mirror line. For instance, the negative chord of the min3 (b14) is the maj3/2 (9) as indicated by the arrows on the chart below.

Chart 1 - Root Position and 2nd Inversion Chords

Chart 2 - Root 1st Inversion Chords

Root Position and 2nd Inversion Chord Reference Chart

1st Inversion Chord Reference Chart