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So 6th's 7th's etc is just voicings...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Suckbird, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    So lately i've been started to learn theory about chord progressions and i didn't know why i couldn't find any m7 / or major 6th chord's for example but i've seen them in sheet music, later that day i just started to make inversions of chords, and found out that the 1st inversion of a let's say Am is G6, and that F = Am6...

    this is kinda new for me and fun to play with but i also saw that when i made the second inversion of a F i got a C with a 4th and 6th, what kind of chord is that?
  2. Eli M.

    Eli M. Life's like a movie, write your own ending

    Jul 24, 2004
    New York, NY
    An Am chord in first inversion is not a G6. A G6 includes a G major triad (G-B-D) plus a major sixth (E). An Am chord in first inversion is C-E-A. (maybe you made a typo and meant you thought it was the same as a C6, which I could understand because it has most of the notes).

    Same for your second example. F is not the same as Am6, because in a m6 chord the 6th is major. You would also need an E, the fifth of the Am chord.

    As far as I know, there's no name for "a C with a 4th and a 6th." That chord isn't even a C with a 4th and a 6th. For it to be a C triad it would have to have a 3rd and a 5th also (C-E-G). So that whole chord would be C-E-F-G-A, and I don't know what that is.

    EDIT: I forgot to add... C-F-A would probably be heard in most situations as an F major chord in second inversion.


    Dec 1, 2004
    Asheville NC
    I think you're just misinterpreting what you may be seeing written. As in. You see a C6 and are thinking of it as a 6 chord, but what it's saying is that it's a first inversion, and there's an interval of six between the bass note and top note of the triad. This isn't a 6 chord however. There's no 6th degree of the scale in what you're talking about, just the triad notes in first inversion. I thik that's what you're getting at. If anyone sees this as wrong please correct me.
  4. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    Hmm, now i'm a bit confused.

    Lets say if i would build a C6 chord, then it would look like this:


    Root + 3rd + 6th, right?

    An Am chord would look like this:


    And if i would invert the root of the chord it would look like this:


    And that's the same as the C6 chord?

    And since Am and Cmajor is related to each other why wouldn't i be able to play a C6 over a Am?
  5. Eli M.

    Eli M. Life's like a movie, write your own ending

    Jul 24, 2004
    New York, NY
    That's a 1st inversion Am chord. I'm not sure if I was clear in my first post, but a triad needs a 1st, 3rd, and 5th, then you add on the other notes. Your chord is missing the 5th (G), so it's not really a C6, even though you could definitely use it that way.


    That's the same chord as your first diagram, a 1st inversion Am. You would certainly be able to play a C6 over an Am.
  6. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001
    A minor chord : A C E
    C major chord : C E G

    you will see that no permutation of the above will transform it into each
    other. there's just two common notes (C & E) and one that'll always be
    different (G vs A). so basically and A minor triad can not transform into a C major triad.

    but that changes as soon as you begin adding chord extensions:

    A minor chord with added 7th (Am7) : A C E G
    C major chord with added 6th (C6) : C E G A

    as you can see, the two chords contain exactly the same notes. now when you "move them around" forming different voicings you willl naturally find positions where they "align".
    so sometimes - and especially when you're adding chord extensions - it becomes a matter of perspective.

    another example:

    a slash chord, C with D in the bass -> C/D, also called D11.
    it has the notes: D C E G (simplified!)

    now the chord C major with added 9th (C9) has the notes
    (ok - no surprise): C E G D

    so yes, in a way you are right. different voicings of certain chords actually could be labeled as different chords. but it depends heavily on the context whether the different label is
    really appropriate.

    because a lot of the time (especially in jazz) the harmonic context and labeling will heavily influence the musicians' decisions and note choice. very seldomly you will see someone playing a "simple" C major chord. A Cmaj7/9 is more likely, probably in a very spread out voicing.

    so let's say were in section were the current key center is C major.

    Cmaj7/9 contains C E G B D.

    so what if they pianist played an inversion and thought of it as
    "G major (G B D) with added 6th (E) and 11th (C)".

    then he might say: "well, it's a G major chord, we're in the key of C, so this is the chord on the fifth step (the V) and that's normally a 7th chord, so i'll add an F, making it a cool sounding
    G7 (G B D F) with 6th and 11th."

    unfortunately the note F is not a very good choice in the context of Cmaj7. some call it an "avoid note".

    similarly the improvisor might think of the same chord as
    "e minor (E G B) with added 9th (D) and 6th (C)"
    and may end up having strange lines in his solo, probably again with an F or two!

    so as you can see you're right in a way that sometimes different chord might actually consist of the same notes.

    but since chords also have a function in a certain harmonic context, labeling them differently will create difficulties.

    hope that helps. i think that was the longest post i ever wrote. hopefully it makes some sense.
  7. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    So if i would play a C6 arpeggio, the it would contain 4notes instead of three..
  8. Suckbird

    Suckbird Banned

    May 4, 2004
    That's weird because if i wanna do a extended arpeggio then the next C will be lower then the last note in the first octave... or else it would be C-E-G-B-C-D

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