The Architecture of Music

Chords

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Chord Reference Charts

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 2nd inversion. If the chord contains a P5 above the bass note it is in root position. If it contains a P4 and not a P5 above the bass note, the chord is in 2nd inversion. Next, locate the 3rd note and find the chord name. If the chord does not contain a P5 or P4 above the bass note, check to see if the chord is a 1st inversion and find the root and 5th. Finally, if the chord contains a 4th note, locate the add and find its name. If the chord is not on any of these charts the chord is fifth-less and can be found on the figures on the previous page. 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 maj3 M14 is the min3/2 m9 as indicated by the arrows on the chart below.

Root Position and 2nd Inversion Chord Reference Chart

1st Inversion Chord Reference Chart