 # Keys, Scales, Chords: Name that chord

The most fundamental, simplest rule to apply in naming chords, no matter what else:

"Stack the notes in 3rds,"

#### Example 1

E G C Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C E G So the chord is named

C

(the major is implicit in the naming)

#### Example 2

C E A Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

A C E So the chord is named

A minor

#### Example 3

C E Ab Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

Ab C E So the chord is named

Ab Augmented or Ab(#5)

This chord can also be named

C Augmented or C(#5) or E Augmented or E(#5) #### Example 4

B D G# Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

G# B D So the chord is named

G# diminished or G#mb5

(diminished is the name for the triad or three note chord)

### Suspended Chords

A suspended chord is a triad that has one of the notes missing, usually the third. It is usually replaced with the 4th or the 2nd above the root of the chord

#### Example 5

F G C Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C (e) G (b) (d) F There is no 3rd in this chord which leads to conclusion that it should be considered as a suspended chord of some type.

We lower the Perfect 11th down the octave to get a Perfect 4th. We can conclude that the chord is of the form Sus 4. So the chord is named

CSus4

#### Example 6

D G C Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C (e) G (b) D There is no 3rd in this chord which leads to conclusion that it should be considered as a suspended chord of some type.

We lower the Major 9th down the octave to get a Major 2nd. We can conclude that the chord is of the form Sus 2. So the chord is named

CSus2

The chord could also be rearranged to make a Sus4 chord based on G

GCD ### Extended Chords

An extended chord is any chord that contains notes making more than a triad

#### 6ths

##### Example 7

E G A C Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C E G A Basic tonality is

C Major

A is a major 13th above C so

Bringing the A down the octave so that we have a Major 6th So the chord is named

C6

The quality of the triad is implicit in the naming. The quality of the 6th is implicit in this naming.

##### Example 8

Eb G A C Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C Eb G A Basic tonality is minor, so

C Minor

A is a major 13th above C so

Bringing the A down the octave so that we have a Major 6th So the chord is named

Cmin6

##### Example 9

Eb G Ab C Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C Eb G Ab Basic tonality is

C Minor

A is a minor 13th above C so

Bringing the A down the octave so that we have a minor 6th So the chord is named

Cmin-min6 or Cminb6

We might also consider this chord as a Major 7th chord (AbMaj7) in inversion; context and function will determine how to name the specific use.

#### 7ths

##### Example 10

B C E G Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C E G B Basic tonality is Major

C

B is a major 7th above C

So the chord is named

Cmaj7

we must explicitly name the quality of the 7th

##### Example 11

Bb C E G Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C E G Bb Basic tonality is Major

C

Bb is a minor 7th above C

So the chord is named

C7

the major is implicit in the naming and the minor 7th is also implicit in the naming - this is the form of the dominant 7th chord

##### Example 12

Bb C Eb G Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C Eb G Bb Basic tonality is minor

C min

Bb is a minor 7th above C

So the chord is named

Cmin7

we name the quality of the triad. the quality of the 7th is implicit in the naming

##### Example 13

B C Eb G Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C Eb G B Basic tonality is minor

Cmin

B is a major 7th above C

So the chord is named

Cmin-Maj7

we must explicitly name both qualities of the chord. in jazz circles this is named as CminJ7

##### Example 14

Bb C Eb Gb Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C Eb Gb Bb So the chord is named

Basic tonality is diminished

C dim or Cminb5

Bb is a minor 7th above C

So the chord is named

Cmin7b5

We name the quality of the triad. The quality of the 7th is implicit in the naming. We name the flattened fifth, (b5), rather than naming this Cdim-min7. It could also be named

C half-dim7 or Cø7

##### Example 15

Bbb C Eb Gb Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C Eb Gb Bbb So the chord is named

Basic tonality is diminished

C dim or Co

Bbb is a diminished 7th above C

So the chord is named

Cdim7 or Co7

we name the quality of the triad. the quality of the dim 7th is implicit in the naming

##### Example 16

B C E G# Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C E G# B Basic tonality is Augmented

C Aug or C(#5) or C+

B is a major 7th above C

So the chord is named

Cmaj7#5

we must explicitly name the quality of the 7th

##### Example 17

Bb C E Gb Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C E Gb Bb So the chord is named

Basic tonality is majorb5

C(b5)

Bb is a minor 7th above C

So the chord is named

C7b5

we name the quality of the triad. the quality of the 7th is implicit in the naming. we name the altered 5th.

##### Example 18

B C E Gb Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C E Gb B Basic tonality is majorb5

C(b5)

B is a major 7th above C

So the chord is named

Cmaj7b5

the quality of the triad is implicit in the naming. we must explicitly name the quality of the 7th. we name the altered 5th

##### Example 19

Bb C E G# Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C E G# Bb So the chord is named

Basic tonality is augmented

C Aug or C(#5) or C+

Bb is a minor 7th above C

So the chord is named

CAug7 or C7#5 or C7+

we name the quality of the triad. the quality of the 7th is implicit in the naming. We name the altered 5th.

##### Example 20

Bb C Eb G# Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C Eb G# Bb So the chord is named

Basic tonality is minor#5

C min#5

Bb is a minor 7th above C

So the chord is named

Cmin7#5

we name the quality of the triad. the quality of the 7th is implicit in the naming. We name the altered 5th

##### Example 21

B C Eb Gb Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C Eb Gb B So the chord is named

Basic tonality is minorb5

C minb5

B is a major 7th above C

So the chord is named

Cmin-maj7b5

we name the quality of the triad. we name the quality of the 7th. We name the altered 5th

##### Example 22

B C Eb G# Rearranging the notes so that we have stacked 3rds we get

C Eb G# B Basic tonality is minor#5

C min#5

B is a major 7th above C

So the chord is named

Cmin-maj7#5

we name the quality of the triad. we name the quality of the 7th. We name the altered 5th

#### 9ths and beyond

##### Example 23

D E G C is the chord.

Rearrange the notes so that they make a continuous run through the scale skipping every other note:

C (d) E (f) G (a) (b) (c) D - the 7th is missing So the sequence of notes used for naming is

C E G D

The first three notes give us the basic tonality of the chord,

C Major

There is no 7th in this chord.

The next note is a major 9th above C, so the chord becomes

(there is no 7th in this chord). ##### Example 24

D E G A C is the chord.

Rearrange the notes so that they make a continuous run through the scale skipping every other note:

C (d) E (f) G (a) (b) (c) D (e) (f) (g) A So the sequence of notes used for naming is

C E G D A

The first three notes give us the basic tonality of the chord, major

C

The next note is a major 9th above C, so the chord becomes

The next note is a major 13th above C

There is no 7th or 11th in this chord.

Bringing the A down the octave, we get a Major 6th This chord is named

C6/9

the quality of the triad is implicit in this naming. The absence of the 7th is implicit in this naming.

##### Example 25

Notes are

D E F A C Rearranging into stacked 3rds

D F A C E Basic tonality is minor

D minor

C is a minor 7th above D so

D min7

E is a major 9th above D so

D min9

(the 7th is implicit in this naming)

##### Example 26

Notes are

B C D E G Rearranging into stacked 3rds

C E G B D Basic tonality is major, so

C

B is a major 7th above C so

C Maj7

D is a major 9th above C so

C Maj9

(the 7th must be named because it is not a dominant 7th chord)

##### Example 27

Notes are

D F G A B Rearranging into stacked 3rds

G B D F A Basic tonality is major, so

G

F is a minor 7th above G so

G7

A is a major 9th above G so

G9

(the 7th is implicit in this naming)

#### Altered tones

##### Example 28

Naming altered tones (chromatic notes) is done by using the chromatic symbol affecting the tone and the tone as it appears in stacked 3rds e.g.

Notes are

Db E Gb Bb C Rearranging into stacked 3rds

C E Gb Bb Db Basic tonality is majorb5

Cb5

Bb is a minor 7th above C so

C7b5

Db is a minor 9th above C so

C7b9b5

(each tone is separately named - there is no true convention as to whether the 5th is the last altered tone named, but it seems to be the predominant method in use)

##### Example 29

We can also recast these notes as

C# E F# A# B# Rearranging into stacked 3rds

F# A# C# E B# Basic tonality is major

F#

E is a minor 7th above F# so

F#7

B# is a Augmented 11th above F# so

F#(7#11)

(each tone is separately named - because there is no 9th we name the 7th and #11 separately)