# Basic Music Theory Questions

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Johnny L, Oct 6, 2003.

1. ### Johnny L

Feb 14, 2002
New Jersey
Simple music theory questions with which to impose (thanks in advance for your kindness):

Do 9th and 11th chords assume b7 as part of the chord?
Sus4 chords - does only the second note get raised a half step, or do both the second and third note get raised a half step? If the latter is false does one say, for example, Asus #5 to cover it or would this construction be covered by changing the root and doing the A/whatever?
Dim chords - do min b5 chords always get called dim chords instead?

I never thought much about this music theory stuff before, but I just recently picked up a Hal Leonard fake book and was running though tunes on the piano and enjoying the sound of some chords where the melody helped to spell them out. Its really cool to finally see that kind of stuff.

2. ### Johnny L

Feb 14, 2002
New Jersey
Well, I know now that you can stack another minor 3rd on a dim chord, and that wouldn't let it be a min b5 chord...could it be a min b5 bb7 chord then?

3. ### Josh McNuttGuest

Mar 10, 2003
Denton, Texas (UNT)
Dim chords are 1, b3, b5, bb7(6). They are symmetrical at the minor third. Min b5 would be a half-diminished chord.

4. ### Perplexer

Sep 2, 2003
9th and 11th chords are dominant chords with a b7.

In some places you may see a maj9 chord which implies a major 7 chord with a 9 above it. take further to the 13.

in a sus chord, only the second note is raised.
1 4 5 b7.
I tink they call it a sus4 chord because the major 3rd is raised to a 4th.

I can't say I've ever seen a sus#5 chord, maybe because it would be easier to call it a minor 11 chord with a 5th in the bass or something like that.
think of taking the D, making that the root and writing it D-11/A

5. ### PacmanLayin' Down TimeStaff MemberGold Supporting Member

Apr 1, 2000
Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
Wouldn't it just be a minor chord inverted? In C, you'd have C F and G# (Ab), which would be a 2nd inversion Fm triad...

6. ### Johnny L

Feb 14, 2002
New Jersey
So do I have it correct if I say a C half-diminished chord would be spelled C,Eb, F, Bb, and a C dim chord would be spelled C,Eb,F,A?

How does one indicate a half-dim chord in a fake book? Would it be an o with a slash, C 1/2dim or something?

With inverted chords - does that get indicated too, or is it a matter of spelling it out somehow with an added note and it's up to the reader to deduce that?

Thanks very much,
Johnny

7. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting MemberIn Memoriam

Often the latter, but sometimes composers will specify a particular inversion by notating it as a slash chord.

8. ### Chris FitzgeraldStudent of LifeStaff MemberAdministratorGold Supporting Member

Oct 19, 2000
Louisville, KY
Sometimes either or both, depending on who wrote the chart. If an inversion is really intended, it's usually drawn as a "slash chord" i.e. - Cma7/G or whatever. Sometimes, the chord is simply named as if it were built up from the desired root note.

Hope this helps.

9. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting MemberIn Memoriam

Chris - are you ignoring my posts now?

10. ### Johnny L

Feb 14, 2002
New Jersey
Thanks for the extremely helpful clarifications. Sorry, I did mean to say C, Eb, Gb and not fall short.

11. ### Chris FitzgeraldStudent of LifeStaff MemberAdministratorGold Supporting Member

Oct 19, 2000
Louisville, KY

Now there's a trick question if I ever heard one...isn't that kind of like asking, "Are you asleep?".

The answer is no - I started by answering the spelling question and just got carried away. DOH!

OK - thanks!

13. ### moley

Sep 5, 2002
Hampshire, UK
No, a dim chord isn't really the same as a min 5b chord. A diminished triad is the same as a minor triad with a b5, but when you add a 7th they differ because a dim chord will have a bb7 (or 6th) and the min5b chord will have a b7.

dim = 1 b3 b5 bb7
min7b5 a.k.a half-dim = 1 b3 b5 b7

14. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting MemberIn Memoriam

Hi Moley - nice to see you back and straight into the fray on the harmonic battlefield!!

I haven't seen you around for over a week!

15. ### Johnny L

Feb 14, 2002
New Jersey
I realized when I went back to the piano yesterday that the chord progressions for the songs I ended up singling out for memorization in the Hal Leonard book(A Train and Funny Valentine) don't have any dim or half-dim chords listed. I'm going to have to find some progressions that have augmented and diminished chords in them. #9 chords are awesome.

Now that I know how a diminished, half-diminished, and suspended chord is spelled, and that sus #5 chords pretty much get written as something else, I would like to impose further and ask about augmented chords.

I know augmented chords stack maj 3rds instead of min 3rds, but can it be stacked like a full dim chord and get spelled B, Eb, G, Bb without any additional info, or would this be something like Baug maj7 instead?

16. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting MemberIn Memoriam

Bossa Novas use half-diminished chords a lot...or maybe it's just Jobim who does?

17. ### moley

Sep 5, 2002
Hampshire, UK
Hi there Bruce! I haven't been around much, I've been sorta busy lately, Uni's just started back up and I've been doing quite a few shifts at work too.

18. ### moley

Sep 5, 2002
Hampshire, UK
Firstly, G to Bb is a minor 3rd not a major 3rd. If you're gonna stack major 3rds, you only get 3 before you repeat yourself, whereas you get 4 with dim chords. So a full diminished chord is 4 notes, whereas a full augmented chord is just 3.

The B Eb G Bb example, I would call Bmaj7(#5) and it'd be spelled B D# Fx A# (x = double sharp).

19. ### PacmanLayin' Down TimeStaff MemberGold Supporting Member

Apr 1, 2000
Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
Any tunes in a minor tonality should use a lot of half-diminished chords - it's the ii chord in minor.

20. ### Bruce LindfieldUnprofessional TalkBass ContributorGold Supporting MemberIn Memoriam

Of course - but I was just suggesting an obvious/easy place to look for some....

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