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Do you know the names of the notes in all chords?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by zr1bill, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. As one of the assignments my teacher has given me, I play the maj7, min7, dom7 and minor b5 around the circle of4/5. I can do this because I know the patterns for the chords and I can find the root.

    I asked him if I should know the note in the chords I am playing other than the root and of course he said yes.

    I found Joe Hubbard's Chord Tone Sudoku as a worksheet, but even with that it seems like a lot of rote memorization. Forty eight chords by my count. I had trouble learning all the state capitals and there were 48 states back when I was trying to learn them.:confused:

    My current method is to sing the name of the notes as I play them, or say them if others are present, but it is not sticking.

    So, two questions, do you know all the notes and if yes,how did you learn them?
  2. Vintagefiend

    Vintagefiend I don't care for 410 cabinets at all.

    Aug 6, 2013
    Columbia, MO
    I knew the names of all the notes in all the chords like, 15 years ago...

    but not anymore.

    I learned them by force; between my Fundamentals of Music Theory and Piano I classes, I was totally immersed in it.
  3. MonkeyBass


    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
    I know the patterns. The notes being played are a result of the pattern. So, yeah, I know the names of the notes because I know the note names on the fingerboard. Some people see chords and scales as note names, some people see them as patterns. It's good to know both ways.
  4. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    I know all the triad chords for min/maj (and m/M7) but not the extended jazz chords. Working on those.

    And yes piano is a big help with this.
  5. SidMau


    Sep 3, 2012
    Unless you ask me about any of those weird hashtag chords, then yeah.
  6. Hapa


    Apr 21, 2011
    Tustin, CA
    Yes, I do. I know the sound and shape much better. I see everything as degree's or numbers of the relative major.
  7. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    I know my fingerboard well, not perfect but very well. I also know what is imply by the chord sufix so when you know a maj7 chord will have root-M3-5-M7 it is quite easy to put names instead of number.

    As I type this an exercice popped in my head ... I'll put a jazz standart in BIAB and I'll play each arpeggio with let's say the root in first octave, the 3rd in the second octave, the 5th in first octave and the 7th in the second octave. Should be interesting.
  8. One thing that may make it easier is to remember that chords are always spelled in thirds, i.e. every other letter of the alphabet. Depending on the root note and the chord type, there will be some sharps and flats (maybe even the dreaded double sharp or double flat).

    For example, what are the notes in an Ab minor 7 chord? The letter names are going to be A-something, C-something, E-something, and G-something (every other letter starting with the root). The actual notes are Ab, Cb, Eb, Gb. The extensions (9th, 11th, and 13th) keep going the same way: Bb, Db, Fb.

    It is a lot of work to learn this stuff, but it's one of the differences between great players and merely good players - who did the work and who didn't.
  9. bw66


    Jan 28, 2012
    Uxbridge, ON
    Certainly for the major chords and most of the minor chords in the "sharp" keys. The rest I can figure out fairly quickly.

    The root is easy. From there I learned the fifth of each chord, then thirds. I mostly learned from playing arpeggios and knowing my fretboard.
  10. DrayMiles


    Feb 24, 2007
    East Coast
    Yes, I know them all...

    It's not that hard.. Really, but I started in 1977 working on the stuff. The basics aren't that bad. Just keep at it and you'll start to recognize things. It's a lot of work, but it's really not a great mountain to climb. Other people have done it.. you can too..
  11. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Understand how the chord is constructed, this takes the form of additional learning to reinforce your knowledge.

    1/Scales construction teaches you to order notes by intervals.
    2/Key sigs tell you whether the notes need sharps or flats to maintain intervals.
    3/Chord construction will use both points 1 & 2 to construct chords......not remember them.

    The basics of chords is the stacking of 3rd intervals, so if I give you 'B' and ask you to make a B Major you would write
    B-D-E-F-G-A-B then fill in the info.
    You do not need to remember any thing just work it out. the more you use this process the faster it becomes, you do retain the memory of the frequent uses and can work out/recall the infrequent uses.

    So the example of B major is it intervals need to be T T ST T T T ST, so it will need 5 sharps to maintain those intervals, 5 sharps then associates with B major,
    B C♯ D♯ E F♯ G♯ A♯ are all part of the B major scale.

    But those 5 sharps also tell us that B major's relative minor has to be G# minor as it has 5 sharps, and its enharmonic equivalent has to be Cb major.

    The notes use for stacking 3rds is every other note so chord tone used have to be B D# F# for the triad, add A# for the 7th, add C# for the 9th, add E for the 11th, add G#sharp for the 13th....and so on. Then you can look at harmonising it, make its parallel minor, look at melody's to be used etc,
    But remembering is not learning it is not the way forward, learn how to construct because then you can learn de-construction, and that reveals other things you can use.

    It saves time and effort to learn rather than remember, then you can apply what you learn rather than just quote it with no real understanding of why things are..Joe's Sudoku's are great by the way great fun and great for making you think.
  12. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    My way was - the chord pattern + Fretboard knowledge.

    Ex.: A diminished seventh chord - 1, ♭3, ♭5, double flat7 or an enharmonic "shortcut" 1, ♭3, ♭5, 6.

    You know the fingering pattern of the dim 7 chord and the root note.

    Let's use C dim 7 as our example
    - 3rd, 6th frets on A string, 4th and 7th frets on D string.
    Or the following frets:
    8, 11 on E,
    9, 12 on A string,
    10, 13 on D string, and
    11 and 14 on G string.

    Can you recognize the notes on those frets?
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    Do you know the names of the notes in all chords?



    All chords and made from those notes ... with a few sharps and flats here and there ... pretty simple actually.
  14. GrumpiusMaximus

    GrumpiusMaximus I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe

    Mar 11, 2013
    Kent, United Kingdom
    I used to from intense music theory classes at University. If I didn't know them, I could work them out and that includes the order of the notes when it came to inversions and the like.

    A few years later and I can't any more. I think the best way of learning the specific notes in a chord is to learn to play the Piano. I used to play and knew them all as a kid (and then forgot, re-learned). It puts the theory into practise very simply and is laid out there visually much better than it is on a guitar or bass.
  15. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    "Do you know the names of the notes in all chords?"

    Yes, I think I do.
  16. GrumpiusMaximus

    GrumpiusMaximus I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe

    Mar 11, 2013
    Kent, United Kingdom
    Janet, Sharon, Sue, Peggy, Steve...
  17. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
  18. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    I don't even know all the chords. 13 9th 11th all major minor diminished and then some
  19. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL

    But like anything else in life it takes some work. For me I had to learn some foundational things first like:

    All key signatures (Cycle of 5ths will help with this)
    Formulas for all chords (memorization - no way around this. but start with the triads then add the 7ths. then the 9ths, 11ths, (6ths) 13ths. once you get the principle it's not too much harder)

    With this information memorized I was then able to figure out the notes in a chord. it wasn't immediate, I had to work thru it like this -

    Example) What are the notes in a Am7 chord?

    The key of A has the following notes in it: A B C♯ D E F♯ G♯

    A is the 1st scale degree (or root)
    B is the 2nd degree
    C♯ is the 3rd degree
    G♯ is the 7th degree

    A minor 7th chord formula is R-♭3-5-♭7

    R = A
    ♭3 = ♭(C♯)
    5 = E
    ♭7 = ♭(G♯)

    Answer: A C E G

    Lots of work at first. I used index cards. One stack had all of the keys and the other stack had all of the chord types. I'd pick a card from each stack and then spell out the notes in the chord. I did this every day for a period of time. Like everything else in life, the more often and regularly I did this, the more natural it came. I haven't done these exercises in many years but can still spell out most chords now.

    Now, you don't need to know all of this to play over the chords. You can definitely get by with fingering patterns for the various chords types and play them without being able to spell out the notes in each chord. But depending on how far you want to go with music, having the extra knowledge of exactly what the notes are can get you farther than patterns.
  20. topo morto

    topo morto

    Mar 22, 2010
    I strongly dislike the piano layout. The way it is 'in C' (Or A Aeolian/Minor, or B locrian, etc) is.... unappealing.

    This isn't to disagree with you by the way. Though I also find that the whole system of calling notes A-G with sharps is unhelpful, if you do like it, the piano layout is your friend.

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