music theory online : chords lesson 17C
Dr. Brian Blood

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Opinions are to the vast apparatus of social existence what oil is to machines: one does not go up to a turbine and pour machine oil over it; one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know.
Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) German Marxist critic and essayist

1000 + Scales (including scale transposer) :: return to lesson 17


Chords described and transposed
When a root note and a chord have been selected, the table below will display all the notes that are usually considered part of that particular chord, both where the root is C, and when transposed to the selected root note. It should be remembered that it is not uncommon for some notes to be omitted (that is, unvoiced) in chords with many members in order to clarify the harmony.
The augmented sixth family of chords exhibits certain peculiarities. Since they are not triad-based, as are seventh chords and other sixth chords, they are not generally regarded as having roots (nor, therefore, inversions). In this table they are defined in terms of the fundamental note of a particular key. Similarly, chord built on degrees of a mode or scale are also defined here in relation to the first degree of that particular mode or scale.
The numbers placed within square brackets (for example, [2]) are the indices which identify the octave in which each note lies relative to the octave in which the root lies. By default, and when the chord is in root position, the latter is always [1]. Of course the chord is unaltered if all the indices in the notes of a chord are increased or decreased by the same integer. Each octave runs from C to the note B seven notes above. Inflected notes are defined as lying in the octave of the note to which the inflection has been applied. Thus, Cb [2] is the inflected note enharmonically equivalent to B [1].
We have given also the inversions of some chords. Those not given can be easily constructed. Remember that the number of inversions that a chord may have is one less than the number of chord members it contains. Also remember that for all chords the arrangement of the notes above the note in the bass is generally unimportant. In this table we have given usually only one of many possible arrangements. A popular way of indicating inversions is through the use of slash notation. Place the chord name, for example Amin7, over the new bass note (that is, the note that lies at the bottom of the chord), for example E, separated by a slash /, that is in the form Amin7/E: this indicates the second inversion of Amin7.
chord root or key notechord description