1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Finding two-note "chords"

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by KOOSEE, Sep 20, 2008.



    Jul 15, 2008
    southern CA
    Ahords are defined as usually consisting of three or more notes, however I enjoy the sound of a two-note "chord".

    Anyway how would I go about trying to find what the chord is based on the notes it consists of.

    Just curious, because I'm currently writing a song with two-note chords and I want to know what chords they are in order to continue writing the song.

  2. Having the notes would really help us. If you don't know your notes, a tuner will tell you.


    Jul 15, 2008
    southern CA
    I think I know my notes, I've been playing for three years.

    C and A

    C and Ab

    D and G

    D and Gb
  4. Mesmerize-16


    Aug 31, 2007
    I think a two-tone chord is called a "dyad", but i could be wrong. These are usually written out like "A5" (A root-fifth), I believe.
    So your first dyad is Amin3. Second is (Ab)maj3. Third is G5. And fourth is (Gb)min6.

    I think those are right but I haven't done chord notation since I was playing jazz on the trumpet three and a half years ago. Feel free to correct me.
  5. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    What you are talking about is just an interval or a double-stop. Typically when reducing a chord down to two note the two notes that define a chord are the 3rd and 7th. People do use other intervals as double-stops like 3rds or 5ths. 5ths are ambiguous because lack of identify note of a 3rd. 10th's are nice sound on bass.

    Your notes are just intervals to me. C and A a 6th or invert it a mi3rd. C and Ab a mi6 or invert and you have a maj3rd. D and G is a perfect 4th or invert and perfect 5th. D and Gb lets make it D and F# that is another maj3rd invert mi6th.
  6. they are intervals you are playing, the two note "chord" is called a double stop. it would be hard to name what chord they are a part of because the notes you arent playing could differ and change the quality of the chord, for example in your D and G interval the next note to make up the basic triad would be a third, it could be a B natural and then the chord would be a G maj or it could be a Bflat and the it would be a G minor. the best way to work this out is to make the chords diatonic and jsut follow the key signature to work it out, im not great at explaining this stuff but i hope that helped!
  7. GianGian


    May 16, 2008
    Usually, the lower note is stronger, so use the lower note to name the chord.
  8. kb9wyz


    Sep 8, 2008
    I have only ever seen the term "double stop" in reference to URB. I thought it was just to describe the fact that you are playing two strings, and not in reference to chord voicings. Does that term still apply to bass guitar, or are you an upright player just useing the terms for your instrument? I like to know these things, if I can.

    My two cents otherwise:

    According to my reading on the subject, the word "voicing" applies most accurately. Whether you use inversions or leave out notes is covered my this term. If I'm not getting this right, someone please correct me. I'm trying to learn all this stuff, too.

    Oh, and another post mentioned the site www.musictheory.net, check it out. It has good stuff for the student of music theory. Plus trainers.:hyper:
  9. im an electric player but i picked up the term double stop from my tutor so i guess its a slighlty wrong application of the term!
  10. Mesmerize-16


    Aug 31, 2007
    Double stop? Huh...until now I had never heard of a double stop. Not sure how they differ from dyads. Are they just two notes from a chord with the rest removed?
  11. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    I'm assuming that you need to know a chord name to go with these intervals so that you can communicate to other musicians the harmony that you are using. Most chords are made with Root, some kind of third, and fifth (usually perfect). Of course there are other sounds used in chords, for instance 6th, 7th, 9th and suspended 4ths etc etc. Not knowing the music context your intervals are used with it is somewhat difficult to say exactly what is going on, but let me have a go at it.

    C and A. I'd invert this (mentally) to think of it as A and C, and in that case calling it an "A minor" chord will work. If that doesn't make it in your music, try a C6.

    C and Ab. Again inverting this menally to Ab and C, I'd call it an "Ab" chord. If that doesn't make it you might think of the Ab as a G# and consider this a "C augmented" chord. Again, it depends on what comes before and after.

    D and G. This ones a little tougher. As a D and G, it could be a Dsus4 chord. Or you might invert mentally and think of it as a G chord, no 3rd (typical power chord).

    D and Gb. If you call the Gb an F# then this is a D chord. And...if it follows the "D and G" chord musically then that would make sense as it would be the resolution of the Dsus4 chord. If you mentally invert this chord then you might have a Gb augmented. But my money goes on the "D" chord.

    I hope that helps. Getting with a good music theory book could be a help to you. Really something clear and basic. I'd be surprised if there isn't something out there like "music theory for dummys". You aren't a dummy, you just have some specific questions.

    Good luck with your music.
  12. KOOSEE


    Jul 15, 2008
    southern CA
    A double stop from what I now know is when two separate strings are depressed ("stopped") by the fingers, and bowed or plucked simultaneously

    While a dyad is a set of two notes or pitches usually with the fifth.

    I will now simply call my two-note "chords" dyads

    I'm now going to try both mesmerize-16's chords and BassChuck's

    thanks for the input guys.
  13. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    Personally I am of the school that there is no such thing as a two note chord. I think that dyads imply chords but are not chords themselves, for example a harmonic interval of a b5 resolving up a semitone from the lowest note of the interval can imply a dominant 7th chord but on its own it's just a tritone.

    The way I look at it it's not about the number of notes you have that makes a chord, it's about the number of harmonic relationships. To have multiple harmonic relationships you need three tones or more.

    Also the term "double stop" refers to a technical issue. The correct term for two notes played harmonically is a harmonic interval. Any two notes played simultaneously is a harmonic interval.
  14. :) I love the sound of a root-tenth double stop.
  15. brivello


    Jun 27, 2008
    Don't hesitate to call them chords. your bass chords are no less chords then 10 key voicings on a piano. Also, it would be a really good idea to learn some basic music theory. Not even just for creating/identifying chords. but you will find that it makes writing bass lines a whole lot easier. In my experience a bass player should be just as knowledgeable about chords/harmonic structure, as a piano or guitar player.
  16. robisbass


    Sep 14, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    This is a great reference for Music Theory:

    According to their dictionary definition a chord is:
    "a group of notes, normally *two* or more, played simultaneously. Some theorists restrict the term so that it may refer only to three notes (triad) or more, played simultaneously..."

    The bottom line for me is that if I'm playing more than one note, to me it's a chord, albeit a partial chord.

    You can learn basic theory from online resources. I've always thought ears were the most important thing, but theory is great when needing to talk or communicate to other musicians.

    Basic construction of the chord is the root (bass note or the "1" the 3rd, the 5th) That's the triad. Without of the 3rd you don't know if it's major or minor. It's also called a power chord in rock. This is why some don’t consider a dyad a chord— it’s really not finished and you really have no idea what to call it. It could be a lot of different things!

    For example:
    Could be part of the following chords (and this is a partial list):
    Am, F, C6, D7, Eb-sus, F#dim, Bb-9maj7, B-b9-7,

    The most likely suspects are really the Am, F and D7 chord. The two notes you use are strong, obvious components. (The C and A are either the 1, 3 or 5). The B chord with the flattened 9th is highly unlikely, but try throwing a B and an F# and you never know— it’s a chord and it sounds awesome in certain circumstances. This will be a little dense on a bass, but on piano or guitar you can hear sing.

    I would strongly suggest learning how to build basic chords using triads and the 7th. The 7th is used most of the time in more sophisticated music. (Jazz is written with chords with 7ths and usually even more notes like the 6th and b9 mentioned above). A lot of rock and pop omit the 7th entirely.

    Basic chords include: Major, Minor, Diminished, Augmented. These are all base on the 1-3-5 mentioned above. The exact interval between each note determine the “quality” of the chord.” Here’s the basics:
    C-E-G = C major (The 3rd decides the major— the interval between the 1 (c) and the 3 (e) is a major 3rd or 4 half steps.
    C-Eb-G = C minor (the interval between the C and the Eb is a minor third or 3 half steps.
    C-Eb-Gb = C diminished (or C minor with a flat 5 in jazz— I won’t go into that here)
    C-E-G# = C augmented

    Finally, you can call two identical chords different names depending on the key. As one poster mention, Gb and F# are the same note, so depending on the context (most likely the key of the song or section) that would determine which to use and therefore what to call the chord.

    Hope this is helpful and serves a springboard to chordal theory for you.
  17. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    Well that's all fine to say, but it's only a partial chord when it is implying an actual chord. Two notes without any other context is only a harmonic interval, as far as I am concerned.

    It really comes down to what you think a chord is as opposed to what a chord isn't. You logically have to decipher why a chord is a chord and why a harmonic interval is a harmonic interval and what the difference is.

    Once you make that distinction you have to look at what something is as opposed to what context can imply it to be.

    My opinion is that what two notes is, is not a chord or even a partial chord. It's only context that implies a chord.
  18. Turock


    Apr 30, 2000
    Two notes is not enough information to define a chord.
  19. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    You might enjoy this:

    Level 42's "Dune Tune"
  20. mutedeity


    Aug 27, 2007
    At the risk of sounding contrary, I would have to say that this isn't really true either. Two notes can define a chord, when given a context. There is a difference between two notes being a chord and two notes defining a chord, though.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.