A quick guide to difficult chords for duet concertina players
There's no need to be frightened by a symbol that says something like Cm13, A7sus 4 or even D/C. Working these things out is just a matter of arithmetic - sometimes tiresome, but arithmetic just the same.
But here's something that might help. The deal is this - if you have the type of chord you are looking for (maj 7, dim, add9 etc) written out on the keynote of C, you should be able to work out the notes in the chord you want by transposing - just as you do when you writeout a tune in a key that is comfortable for your instrument.
So, if I give you the chord of C7 (C, E, G, Bb), you should be able to transpose the notes to the key of D to make D7, to the key of A to make A7 or to Bb to make Bb7 - and so it goes. (By the way, the answers are: D7 = D, F#, A, C; A7 = A, C#, E, G; Bb7 = Bb, D, F, Ab.)
You'll find a short appendix explaining very briefly how this
arithmetic works. I have tried keep it simple and practical!
Swots who are into composing might like to know that there is
also a body of knowledge about how chords follow on from each
other - but people go to college full time to learn that stuff!
C minor, written Cm, has minor or flattened third, making it C, Eb and G. Again try it in different inversions.
You will also see a thing called C augmented or C+ - it's made up of C, E and G#.
Seventh heaven - or hell?
Like many of the rest of the chords we are going to look at, the dominant seventh is great for adding tension - that is, making you feel you want the harmony to change in some way, often to something sweeter such as a major or minor.
The minor seventh chords are similar to the dominant seventh, but are based on the minor chord we've just seen.
Cm7 includes C, Eb, G, Bb.
What's usually meant by the major seventh or Cmaj7 includes C, E, G, B. Compare it with C7, and be aware of the important difference!
The augmented and diminished 5ths turn up a lot in tin pan alley songs.
C dominant 7th augmented 5th, or C7+5 includes C, E, G#, Bb.
C dominant 7th diminished 5th or C7-5 includes C, E, F# (equivalent to Gb), Bb.
C major seventh augmented fifth, written Cmaj7+5, contains C, E, G#, B.
There's also C major seventh diminished fifth, or Cmaj7-5, which includes C, E, Gb, B.
Next, C diminished is written Cdim, and includes C, Eb, F#, A.
C half-diminished (I'm sure you could also call it C minor 7th diminished 5th) is written either Cm7-5 or with a another little degree sign but with a slash through it. It includes C, Eb, F#, Bb.
And the curious C minor/major seventh, written Cmin/maj7
includes C, Eb, G, B. I've never seen
it anywhere, but you never know where it might turn up. Additions and suspensions
Additions and suspensions
This is in contrast to the addition situation, where quite often you typically you play the first, third and the addition (see below.)
Perhaps a more important piece of information that C added ninth or Cadd9 is C, E, G, D.
C minor added ninth or Cm add9 or Cm/9 is C, Eb, G, D.
C suspended 4th, or Csus4, is C, F, G.
C6 is C, E, G, A.
Cm6 is C, Eb, G, A.
The solution is to leave bits out, and it's sometimes said that the first note (C), the second (E or Eb), and the top note are all that you need. Try that, certainly, but experiment - you might wish to include the fifth and/or the seventh!
I have included most of the 'numbers' chords you are likely to see - if you need any more, it might be wise to buy a book - or hire an interpreter. However, If you're like me, you will be pleased to know that a seventh or a ninth will often stand in place of one of the elevenths or thirteenths.
Also, a small word of warning: if you find sheet music or books of 'chords to the hits' where 13ths outnumber any thing else, I suggest it is likely that the sevenths and ninths may be easier to get your head around and may work well on their own - and you might not meed any higher numbers at all.
There are three main ninths:
C9 is C, E, G, Bb, D.
Cm9 is C, Eb, G, Bb, D.
Cmaj9 is C, E, G, B, D.
There are three main elevenths:
C11 is C, E, G, Bb, D, F. The D and G are often left out.
Cm11 is C, Eb, G, Bb, D, F.
Cmaj9+11 is C, E, G, B, D, F#.
And there are three main thirteenths.
C13 is C, E, G, Bb, D, F, A.
Cm13 is C, Eb, G, Bb, D, F, A.
And Cmaj13 is C, E, G, B, D,
C/B would be B, C, E, G
And C/G# would be G#, C, E, G
In the key of C:
This site is intended primarily for duet concertina players, but may also be useful to other people whose muscial knowledge is self-taught or in the process of being built up. It is not intended for experts! However, if you find anything wrong or have any comments, please address them to me, Gavin Atkin at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are interested in killer dancebands or designing and building boats, jump to my homepage at http://home.clara.net/gmatkin/homepage.htm.