View Full Version : figuring out

John Bertotti
Feb-05-2006, 7:29am
Ok I really am horrid at this> My question is when listening to a chord is the dominate sound generally the root of the chord? I understand that in some chords the root isn't even played but to out ears it is implied isn't it? Thanks John

Feb-05-2006, 8:09am
I would say, generally the 'dominating sound' is the root of the chord. #But don't ever count on it. #Usually you can listen to what the bass is playing for clues, but the bass will also commonly play the third or fifth of the chord, too. #And to make matters worse, when you only have 4 strings to work with, you often don't have enough notes to fully identify the chord, and you have to go by the context of the chord in the tune to get the name. #

The context of a chord will pretty much dictate what the legitimate name is.

If you haven't already, I would (1) learn the component chords of a major scale; and then (2) learn to recognize chord relationships in songs, like the II-V, the V-I, I-IV-V. #At that point you will have some tools to eliminate most of the ambiguity in the things you hear, and you'll recognize the difference between, for example, a iii chord and a I chord with the third in the bottom.

John Flynn
Feb-05-2006, 8:32am
Sometimes in a piece of music, a part of a chord may be played that implies the whole chord. So the root might get left out and audience will tend to "hear" the whole chord or enough of it to have the effect you want. It's a little like "slight of hand" in magic. You can leave any note out of any chord and it will work to some degree, although it may or may not give you the sound you want.

But if you are talking theory: If play a chord by itself, outside the context of a piece of music, and you don't have the root, you technically don't have the chord. The root defines the note that the chord is built on, the other notes define what kind of chord it is.

A lot of times, so-called "power chords" get played with just a root and a fifth. The major chord is implied, but those two notes will work when the chord should be minor. So if I had to make a choice based just on your explination, I would say the "dominate sound" is the root and the fifth. If you have to leave one out, it would be the third.

John Bertotti
Feb-05-2006, 8:34am
I'm working through the Music theory for modern mandolin book a the moment. Currently the exercise is to work through all the harmonized 7th chord scales. So I guess I'm on my way. I still find chording on the guitar easier although my transitions on both seem t always need work. I suppose that is a whole other can of worms. Thanks John

John Bertotti
Feb-05-2006, 11:41pm
After doing some chord exercises I've realized I really don't like the sound of a lot of mando chords. I do prefer double stops. I haven't heard one I really don't like. Is this normal? I'm sure this is part of why this chord process is so arduous. Thanks John

Feb-06-2006, 7:18am
For dom 7 chords, try keeping the 3rd and 7th in the bottom of the chord - like this (3 at the bottom)
or this (7 at the bottom)
There's seems to be pretty good agreement that the 3/7 on the bottom sounds good. Also, there's no rule that says you have to play the E string - Some folks avoid it in chording. A lot of it is subject to taste and context.

Feb-06-2006, 9:35am
Groveland- yes! That 3rd and 7th on the bottom is how jazz arrangers and pianists think. The basic sound of the chord is considered to be the 3rd and 7th when playing 7th chords (maj7, min7, m7b5, dom7, dim7). A lot of great voicings don't need the root.

This is very counterintuitive for players rooted in bluegrass and other triadic based music, where the root and 5th are the important notes much of the time...but the 3rd of the chord is the 'defining' note that tells you whether you are major or minor.

I can't stand the 3rd and 7th in the top ocatve on a dom 7 shape- it just sounds twinkly-dinkly to me, and no jazz pianist would be caught dead playing it! When the 3 and 7 are on the bottom, you still have half of the mandolin available for "color notes". On a dom 7 there are 2 places to the the 3rd and 7th on the bottom strings. You can then get any combination of these on top:


You'll find one string gives you the 9's and the other string gives you the #11-5-#5-13 string of notes.

Once you get that, you can figure out the other chord types and what they can do. Then, you can seek famine and misfortune, umm, fame and fortune, as a jazz musician!http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Jazzmando.com has more on this and I have a little clarification here. (http://www.johnmcgann.com/mando.html)

John Bertotti
Feb-06-2006, 10:52pm
Now that is some cool info! I have got to go check the chords I have written down. Thanks John

Feb-07-2006, 8:23am
The link below has been helpful to some on how to build the aforementioned chords and all their inversions.

John Bertotti
Feb-07-2006, 9:00am
I have a understanding of the basic chord construction but none of the books I have talk about where the notes should be. This was the first I had read of the 3 and 7. I'll check out the link. Thanks John

Looks like that program has tuns of stuff I have no clue of. Unfortunately I run a mac. Anything available for it. I won't install a windows simulator so I need it mac native. Ultimately though I like stuff in hard copy. I like books. Is this in print in some form?

Feb-08-2006, 8:48am
This was the first I had read of the 3 and 7.

The quick tutorial page on chord building that I referenced demonstrates how you can get the inversions with the 3 and 7 on the bottom like we described. #In a nutshell, taking a basic chord form and applying the steps you can get the next inversion of any chord. #The first and third inversions have the 3 and 7 in the bottom.

No software required. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif