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Nashville Chart

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Mike Barrow, Dec 23, 2018.

  1. Mike Barrow

    Mike Barrow

    Dec 14, 2018
    Anyone heard of the Nashville Chart?
    We've used it in church. It's a way to play using numbers . Example ; in the key of C C being the tonic = 1 then F =4
    and G=5. (C F G ).
    Has anyone used the chart before?
  2. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    Nashville Number System. Widely used and there are a ton of articles on the web. It's also great for guitar players that can just use a capo and know a few chords. If you know ~8 chords, can play them well and handle the rhythms, you can be proficient in any key with NNS. This should probably should be in a different section.
    mviker and BassAndReeds like this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    it's a long-standing style of chart-making: "the nashville number system."
  4. donk


    Nov 5, 2006
    MalcolmAmos and RichSnyder like this.
  5. Mike Barrow

    Mike Barrow

    Dec 14, 2018
    What section should that be?
  6. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    Probably Tablature and Notation, but I don't really care. Not trying to be a forum nazi.
    Mike Barrow likes this.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Oh yeah! If you know your scales you can follow along hundreds and hundreds of songs with an NNS chart.

    Will you play the bass line from the album? Nope.

    But, with a good ear and paying attention to those around you, you sure can play something that fits.
    Mike Barrow likes this.
  8. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    We use it in church services for impromptu things - vamping during baptisms, etc. Music director calls numbers into our IEM’s, and we follow.
  9. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I like using Roman numerals. In C:

    I = C
    ii = Dm
    iii = Em
    IV = F
    V = G
    vi = Am
    vii° = Bdim.

    In any major key, notice that:

    I, IV, and V are major.
    ii, iii, and vi are minor.
    vii° is diminished.

    That's how building chords in thirds works based on the major scale.
    JFlick, craigie and Mike Barrow like this.
  10. Most all of my church sheet music is in NN. Have used NN for years.

    Praise music can and will use 6 of the 7 chords in a progression and the changes come quickly. So you do not have a lot of time with each chord, therefore roots or R-5 is about all the time you will have for each chord.

    Again the NN System lends itself to this and should be in your bag of tricks. Donk in post #4 mentioned Chas Williams book and gave you a link.

    Here is another video link you may like to review. video, chas williams, nashville system - Bing video

    I like to have the lyrics shown to help me with the chord changes so I just take the fake chord sheet music and mark over the chord name with NN 1 2, 3, etc.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
  11. jpmcbride


    Aug 31, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    This system is used almost universally in the blues world. Rarely charted, but used on the bandstand as an easy way for musicians to communicate, particularly in jam situations. For example, the band leader might say things like:

    "From the 5"

    "This has a fast 4"

    "Its a 1-4-5 with a 2-5-1 turnaround"

    Watch for the sharp 5 at the turnaround"
    5StringBlues likes this.
  12. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    All the time. Fastest way for me to learn large amounts of new material for a given gig.
  13. I hate when they call it the "Nashville Number System," this has been around since the middle ages but Okay.
    craigie, spencer096 and BassAndReeds like this.
  14. BassAndReeds

    BassAndReeds SUSPENDED

    Oct 7, 2016
    I do use NNS a lot. There are some concepts related to changing keys and fermatas that I believe are unique. And I believe it is a standard of musicians playing country (though I’m not the ruler of knowledge in the area).

    Not sure if you’re looking for anything particular on the subject. Or just pointing out a concept. It is useful. I do believe it should be taught more than I see it taught. Myself being from the northeast, I had to learn it on my own, without any knowledge it existed until late in my music career.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2019
    Mike Barrow likes this.
  15. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Every single gig. Once you understand scale intervals it becomes second nature. Been with a band for 10 years, and the BL still throws stuff at us we've never done before (we don't rehearse). The guys are all experienced so the BL only has to say "Country shuffle in A. One, six, two, five. Goes to the 4 on the bridge" ... and we're off! He could have called that same tune in Eb, and we'd have all been on it just the same. In fact, depending on who is singing what, we might do the same song in different keys on different nights.

    I personally prefer chords over lyrics because NNS doesn't always fill in the details without using more arcane designators (few guys actually use and know these) ... I can transpose on the fly when I need to. But either works.
    QweziRider and mviker like this.
  16. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I used to see it that way, too. Nashville Numbers share a lot with the older "Roman numeral" functional harmony, but as a system of notation NN has enough unique peculiarities to indicate harmonic rhythm and song structure that I now think it merits its own name. If you look into it ( especially the book mentioned) you'll find it goes a bit beyond simply swapping 1 4 5 with I IV V.
    TomB and BassAndReeds like this.
  17. It's the same except you can use a triangle to represent a maj 7 interval in a chord, or a degree sign to represent a b5 in a chord. I think maybe theres a difference higher up but this basic theory is the same any musician learns.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
  18. BassAndReeds

    BassAndReeds SUSPENDED

    Oct 7, 2016
    Im with mambo on this. There are unique notations for holds and key changes and such that merit its own style and name.

    The principles have been around for ages. And I think we all agree with that.

    I can’t imagine NNS would be good for Jazz. Too many tonal changes and extended chord structures. But for pop/vocal/simple music (Top 40 cover bands), NNS is my go-to for “I need this ready tonight”.
  19. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Yep...the old Nashville Number System. It was developed by the the Jordanaires back in the 1950's.

    It's all you'll find around these parts. I have around 4000 or so number charts.

    Nashville number system - Wikipedia
  20. Actually NNS works perfectly for jazz standards, but you have to remember where the key modulates in the song and when non standard chord flavors are used like #5's.

    Some of us have to transpose instantly and learning NNS makes that possible. Girl From Ipanema in Bb anyone?
    Russell L and BassAndReeds like this.

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