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Chart of Note and Rest Signs If the notes are listed in decreasing time value, longest to shortest, each

is half the duration of the one immediately before it. The table of 'denominations' below shows the note with the longest duration at the top and that with the shortest duration at the bottom. Sign numbe r equal to English 1 semibr eve

Amer Italian ican

Frenc German h

Spanish Catalan

breve /2 or brevis

doubl ebreve (f.) whole note

carre (f.) or brevis or doubl eDoppeltakt (m.) ronde (f.) (mean ing squar e) semibrve or ronde ganze Takt (m.) (f.) or (mean Ganze (f.) ing round ) blanc he (f.) Halbe (f.) (mean or ing halbe Takt (m.) white ) noire (f.) (mean Viertel (f.) ing black)

cuadrad a (f.) or breve or doble redond a

quadra da (f.) or breu (f.)

1 semibreve

semibreve whole (f.) note intero (m.)

redond a (f.) rodona or (f.) semibre ve (f.)

2 minim

half note

minima (f.) or met (f.) or bianca (f.)

blanca (f.) blanca or (f.) mnima (f.)

4 crotchet

semiminima (f.) quarte or r note nera (f.) or quarto (m.)

negra (f.)

negra (f.)

8 quaver

croma (f.) eighth or note ottavo (m.)

croch e (f.) (mean Achtel (f.) ing hook) doubl e croch e (f.) (mean Sechzehntel (f.) ing doubl e hook) triple croch e (f.) Zweiunddreissigstel (mean (f.) ing triple hook)

corchea (f.) corxera or (f.) croma (f.)

1 semiquaver 6

semicroma sixtee (f.) nth or note sedicesimo (m.)

semicor semico chea rxera (f.) (f.)

biscroma thirty- (f.) 3 demisemiquaver secon or 2 d note trentaduesi mo (m.)

fusa (f.)

fusa (f.)

quadr uple semibiscro croch sixty- ma (f.) e (f.) 6 hemidemisemiq semifus semifu fourth or (mean Vierundsechzigstel (f.) 4 uaver a (f.) sa (f.) note sessantaquat ing tresimo (m.) quadr uple hook) centone vingthundr semihemidemise huiti garrapa ed 1 miquaver me tea and centoventott Hundertundachtundzw 2 or or or twent avo (nota) anzigstel(note) 8 quasihemidemis quint cuartifu yemiquaver uple sa eighth croch note e Rests, periods of silence, are shown in the table below. Rest number English equal to 1 semibreve

Amer Italian ican

Fren German ch

Spanis Catalan h

/2 breve rest

bto n (m.) or paus doubl e de epausa di brv doppel Pause (f.) whole breve (f.) e (f.) rest or silen ce de brv e (m.)

silencio de cuadra da (m.) or pausa de cuadra da (f.) or silencio de breve (m.) or pausa de breve (f.) silencio de redond a (m.) or pausa de redond a (f.) or silencio de semibr eve (m.) or pausa de semibr eve (f.) media pausa (f.) or silencio de blanca (m.) or

doble pausa (f.) or pausa de quadra da (f.)

1 semibreve rest

pausa di whole paus semibrev ganze Pause (f.) rest e (f.) e (f.)

pausa (f.) or pausa de rodona (f.)

2 minim rest

half rest

pausa di minima (f.)

demi halbe Pause (f.) paus e (f.)

mitja pausa (f.) or pausa de blanca (f.)

pausa de blanca (f.) silencio de negra (m.) or pausa de negra (f.) or silencio de semimi nima (m.) or pausa de semimi nima (f.) silencio de corchea (m.) or pausa de corchea (f.) silencio de semico rchea (m.) or pausa de semico rchea (f.)

o r

4 crotchet rest

pausa di soupi quart semimini r Viertelpause (f.) er rest ma (f.) (m.)

quart de pausa (m.) or pausa de negra (f.)

8 quaver rest

demi eight pausa di soupi Achtelpause (f.) h rest croma (f.) r (m.)

vuit de pausa (m.) or pausa de corxera (f.) setz de pausa (m.) or pausa de semico rxera (f.)

quart sixtee pausa di de 1 semiquaver rest nth semicrom soupi Sechzehntelpause (f.) 6 rest a (f.) r (m.)

trentasilencio huiti dos de de fusa thirty me pausa pausa di (m.) 3 demisemiquaver de Zweiunddreiigstelpau (m.) biscroma or 2 rest secon soupi se (f.) or (f.) pausa d rest r pausa de fusa (m.) de fusa (f.) (f.) seixant silencio ade quatr seizi semifus de me sixty- pausa di a (m.) pausa 6 hemidemisemiq de Vierundsechzigstelpau fourth semibiscr or (m.) 4 uaver rest soupi se (f.) rest oma (f.) pausa or r de pausa (m.) semifus de a (f.) semifu sa (f.) centsilencio one vingt de hundr garrapa ed 1 pausa di huiti tea (m.) semihemidemis and Hundertundachtundzw 2 centovent me or emiquaver rest twent anzigstelpause (f.) 8 ottavo (f.) de pausa ysoupi de eight r garrapa h rest (m.) tea (f.) Each line in the example below is a single bar (we meet bars in the next lesson ), with the same total time value of notes as every other line.

Each line in the example below is a single bar (we meet bars in the next lesson ), with the same total time value of rests as every other line.

Musical Form
Musical Form - a summary :: The term 'musical form' is used in two related ways: (1) a generic type of composition such as the symphony or concerto; (2) the structure of a particular piece, how its parts are put together to make the whole; this too can be generic, such as binary form or sonata form. Musical form (the whole or structure) is contrasted with content (the parts) or with surface (the detail), but there is no clear line between the two. In most cases, the form of a piece should produce a balance between statement and restatement, unity and variety, contrast and connection. There is some overlap between musical form and musical genre. The latter term is more likely to be used when referring to particular styles of music (such as classical music or rock music) as determined by things such as harmonic language, typical rhythms, types of musical instrument used and geographical origin. The phrase 'musical form' is typically used when talking about a particular type or structure within those genres. For example, the twelve bar blues is a specific form often found in the genres of blues and rock and roll music. aleatory music see 'mobile form' (below)


A-form emphasizes continuity and prolongation, flowing, unbroken, from beginning to end, in which the music has a recognizable consistency a form of music that is usually vocal or sung without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. A cappella is Italian for 'of the chapel', a term that notes the restrictions on the use of instruments in medieval churches or allemanda, almain or alman, (from French, literally 'German') a type of dance popular in Baroque music, and a standard element of a suite, generally the first or second movement. In which case the first one is a sort of prelude, whatever its name (prelude, toccata, preambulum, ouverture, etc.) St. Ambrose (c340397), bishop of Milan, is believed to have been the first to introduced the 'antiphonant' method of chanting (also called 'antiphonal chanting'), in which one side of the choir alternately responds to the other a palindromic form, as, for example, three contrasting sections arranged ABCBA a form that is generally longer, non-strophic and with an accent of musical design and expression, than that corresponding to the air, song or Lied a fourteenth- & fifteenth-century verse form consisting of three (sometimes five) stanzas, each with the same metre, rhyme scheme and last line, with a shorter concluding stanza (an envoi). (The ballade should not be confused with the ballad) the name given to a specific dance form and technique. Dance works choreographed using this technique are called ballets and may include: dance, mime, acting and music (orchestral and sung). Ballets can be performed alone or as part of an opera. Ballet is best known for its virtuoso techniques such as pointe work, grand pas de deux and high leg extensions. Many ballet techniques bear a striking similarity to fencing positions and footwork, perhaps due to their development during the same periods of history, but more

a cappella


Ambrosian chant

arch form




probably, because both arts had similar requirements in terms of balance and movement the modern term 'Bar form' derives from a medieval verse form, the 'Bar', consisting of three stanzas, each having the form AAB. The musical term thus refers to the melody of a single stanza, the A sections (called Stollen) having the same melody, and the B section (Abgesang) having a different melody music that cannot be repeated, for example, ordinary wind chimes most strictly, a piece in binary form will be in two halves (AB or AA'), equal in length. The first half will start in a certain key (or on a certain tonic), and end in a different key. The second half of the piece begins in the key that the first half ended in, and ends in the original key of the piece. The second half may also be repeated. If the key at the start was a major one, the key at the end of the first part will generally be the dominant of it (a fifth above), so that a piece beginning in C major will end the first half in G major. If the starting key is minor, the music will generally move to its relative major key, so if a piece starts in C minor, it will end the first half in E flat major. The first half is often repeated. The gavotte, for example, is typically in binary form in music, the strictest of all contrapuntal forms. It consists in the imitation or repetition of a given melody or theme in its exact melodic progression and in the same rhythmical form by one or more voices, not simultaneously, but one after another, at a half, whole, or two, measure distance, on any of its intervals from the middle of the 17th- till late in the eighteenth century, a favourite form of Italian chamber music for one or two solo voices, with accompaniment of harpsichord and perhaps a few other solo instruments. It consisted at first of a declamatory narrative or scene in recitative, held together by a primitive aria repeated at intervals. Fine examples may be found in the church music of Carissimi; and the English vocal solos of Henry Purcell (such

Bar form

non-deterministic generative music

binary form



as Mad Tom and Mad Bess) show the utmost that can be made of this archaic form. With the rise of the da capo aria the cantata became a group of two or three arias joined by recitative. George Frideric Handel's numerous Italian duets and trios are examples on a rather large scale. His Latin motet Silete Venti, for soprano solo, shows the use of this form in church music cantus firmus in music, a cantus firmus is a pre-existing melody forming the basis of a polyphonic composition, often set apart by being played in long notes a 16th- and seventeenth-century instrumental genre in the manner of a French polyphonic chanson, characterized by a sequence of short contrasting sections binary form extended with more sections, for example ABCD, and particularly when including repeated sections, AABBCCDD the word chanson refers to a polyphonic French song of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Early chansons tended to be in one of the formes fixes, ballade, rondeau or virelai, though some composers later set popular poetry in a variety of forms originally a hymn of the Lutheran church sung by the entire congregation. In casual modern usage, the term also includes classical settings of such hymns and works of a similar character. Chorales tend to have simple and singable tunes, because they were originally intended to be sung by the congregation rather than a professional choir. They generally have rhyming words and are in a strophic form (with the same melody being used for different verses). Some chorale melodies were written by Martin Luther himself. Within a verse, most chorales follow the AAB pattern of melody that is known as the German Bar form a piece generally for organ designed to be played before a chorale. A chorale prelude includes the melody of the chorale, and adds other contrapuntal lines a choro composition usually starts in a minor key, followed by a major key bridge, then a


chain form



chorale prelude


minor key finish (similar to a tango): AABBC. It is also common to repeat the first part, in accelerated tempo, to finish, thus AABBCA in classical music, the word concerto is a label for a piece in which a small musical group and a large musical group are given distinct roles, with the smaller group to the fore. The most common kind of concerto pairs a solo instrument with a full orchestra. The term also implies the form of a piece as most concerti follow sonata form, typically found with three movements a technique of musical construction, involving multiple parts or movements, in which a theme, melody, or thematic material occurs in more than one movement as a unifying device. Sometimes a theme may occur at the beginning and end (for example, in the Brahms Symphony No. 3); other times a theme occurs in a different guise in every part (Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique) a da capo aria is in ternary form, meaning it is in three sections. The first section is a complete musical entity, ending in the tonic key, and could in principle be sung alone. The second section contrasts with the first in its musical texture, mood, and sometimes also tempo. The third section was usually not written out by the composer, who rather simply specified the direction da capo (Italian for "from the beginning"), which meant that the first section should be repeated in full while the combination of dance and music is very ancient (for example Ancient Greek vases sometimes show dancers accompanied by musicians) the earliest Western dance music that we can still play with a degree of certainty are the surviving medieval dances such as caroles and the Estampie. The earliest of these surviving dances are almost as old as Western staff-based music notation. In the Baroque period, the major dance styles were noble court dances. Examples of dances include the French courante, sarabande, minuet and gigue. Collections of dances were often collected together as dance suites. In the Classical music era, the minuet was frequently used as a third

concerto form

cyclic form

da capo


movement in four-movement non-vocal works such as sonatas, string quartets, and symphonies, although in this context it would not accompany any dancing. The waltz also arose later in the Classical era, as the minuet evolved into the scherzo (literally, "joke"; a faster-paced minuet) a Cuban song style and dance form derived from the contradanza (brought to Cuba by Haitian immigrants), danza, danza Habanera and interpreted by the charanga orchestras and instrumentation. Miguel Failde has been credited with composing the first danzn, La Altura del Simpson in 1879. Originally an ABAC form (A, paseo (introduction); B, parte de (la) flauta (flute melody); A, repeat of the paseo; C, parte del violn (string trio). Later a D section (the nuevo ritmo) was added, creating an ABACD form. This nuevo ritmo section integrated elements of the Cuban son and generated the mambo as well as the development of the montuno section of arrangements, and later the cha-cha-cha where the musical works are built, as a rule, from smaller bits of material - motifs combined and worked out in different ways, usually balancing between a symmetrical or arch-like supporting structure of the whole, and a progressive development from beginning to end, for example, sonata form a musical composition or piece for two performers, most often used for a vocal or piano duet. For other instruments, the word duo is often used. Two pianists performing together on the same piano is referred to as piano duet or piano four hands. Two pianists performing together on separate pianos is referred to as piano duo see 'through-composed' an example of ternary or ABA form, episodical form consists of three parts: statement of the principal theme, an episode (a theme or subject matter of secondary importance to the principal theme), and finally a repeat of the principal theme as a musical form, it consists of a series of


developmental form





verses, often of different lengths, and two refrains, sometimes called "open" and "closed", which alternate. The various verses can be of different lengths, and are often only faintly related in theme to the preceding and following verses. There can be any number of verses, though there must be at least three etude (from the French word tude meaning 'study') is a short musical composition designed to provide practice in a particular technical skill in the performance of a solo instrument also English fantasy, fancy, German fantasie, French fantaisie, a musical composition with its roots in the art of improvisation. Because of this, it seldom approximates the textbook rules of any strict musical form see 'sonata form' folk music has been used as source material for composers of many eras. Composers of the Viennese classic period were influence by and used folk music in their compositions; for example, Haydn's use of Bohemian folk tunes or Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 which uses a Yugoslavian dance melody as a primary theme. Other composers who used folk material include Chopin, Smetana, Dvork, and Mussorgsky. In Carmen, Bizet borrowed genuine Spanish folksongs, local rhythms, and tunes composed by Spanish composers Sebastin Yradier and Manuel Garcia. The pieces of Spanish origin in Carmen include the famous Habaera; Carmen's aria Sguidille, sguidille, sguidilla, and Choeur des gamins in Act I; Carmen's aria Chanson bohme, and Toreador Song in Act II; and both of the preludes to Act III and IV. The most interesting borrowing is Carmen's leitmotif, the 'Fate' theme, which is used repeatedly throughout the opera in two patterns, one for Carmen, and the other for Don Jos. This theme is derived from an Andalusian saeta (flamenco music). In the twentieth century, composers began to collect or study folk music in an attempt to integrate that music into their style. Three possibilities exist for the use of folk materials in Western art music. A composer can simply compose an


first-movement form

folk music

accompaniment for an existing folk melody, a newly composed melody can take on folk characteristics, or folk music can be integrated into the style of a composer to such an extent that neither folk melodies or imitations of folk melodies are used, but the composer's works are imbued with the style of peasant music (French f. pl., literally 'fixed forms') three standardised musical or poetic forms used in French secular music from the 13th- to the mid 15th-centuries the three, each distinguished by its overall musical structure, are: virelai bergerette AbbaA, where a capital letter designates a repetition of both text and music and lower case designates new text aabX, where a capital letter designates a refrain text and lower case designates new text ABaAabAB, where a capital letter designates a refrain text and lower case designates new text

formes fixes

ballade rondeau rondet rondel rondeau

free form

certain pieces of music, for example, the early sixteenth-century ricercar, the fantasia and the prlude non mesur, which are improvisatory in style, are said to be written in a 'free form'. Free fugues, which break many of the formal rules of fugue writing, and free counterpoint, which relaxes the strict rules of counterpoint, are not. However, just as many have argued that 'abstract ballet' is impossible 'because dancers are human, so no ballet can be entirely abstract', an analogous argument might be advanced about 'free-form music'; because music is the organisation of sound, and organisation implies form, so 'free form' music is an oxymoron as distinct from the sinfonia, the French overture (or ouverture) had always been onemovement preluding pieces, usually in a ABA form, where the A sections had a slow tempo with a stately (double) dotted rhythm, while

French overture

the B middle section was comparatively fluent and fast. By the time this type of overture was adapted from the early eighteenth century on by German composers like Bach and Handel, it could be as well the preluding movement of a (dance) suite, in which case overture was sometimes used as a synonym for the entire suite (e.g. Bach's French Overture, BWV 831) in music, a fugue is a type of piece written in counterpoint for several independent musical voices. A fugue begins with its subject (a brief musical theme) stated by one of the voices playing alone. A second voice then enters and plays the subject, while the first voice continues on with a contrapuntal accompaniment. Then the remaining voices similarly enter one by one. The remainder of the fugue further develops the material using all of the voices. The word 'fugue' comes from the Latin fuga (flight) and fugere (to flee). Variants include fughetta (a small fugue) and fugato (a work or section of a work resembling a fugue but not necessarily adhering to the rules of one) musical compositions in the galliard form appear to have been written and performed long after the dance fell out of popular use. In musical compositions, the galliard often filled the role of an after-dance written in 6, which followed and mimicked another piece (sometimes a pavane) written in 4. The distinctive 6/8 rhythm can still be heard today in songs such as God Save the Queen also known as 'plainchant' or 'plainsong', it is a form of monophonic, unaccompanied singing, based on Eastern models of Byzantine chant, which was developed in the Catholic church, mainly during the period 800-1000. It takes its name from Pope St. Gregory the Great, who was believed to have brought it to the West in music, a ground bass is a bass part or bassline that repeats continually, as an ostinato, while over it the melody and possibly harmony change. It was developed and used frequently in the Baroque era. A well known classical example is the ground bass employed in Pachelbel's Canon



Gregorian chant

ground bass

group form

the successor to 'pointillism', and exemplified by his piece Gruppen, Stockhausen replaced the original idea of isolated points with clusters or "groups" of parameters and events. Zeitmasse and Carre are pieces in this "group form" or giga, a lively baroque dance in a compound metre such as 6/4, 3/8 or 12/16. As a musical form gigues frequently occurs as a movement in larger works such as concertos and sonatas, and it was the most common final movement in the baroque suite one of various musical textures, heterophony is a kind of complex monophony - there is only one melody, but multiple voices each of which play the melody differently, either in a different rhythm or tempo, with different embellishments and figures, or idiomatically different. The term was invented to differentiate this from European polyphonic music of separate melodies; however, it can also be seen as a type of polyphony. The term 'heterophony' was coined by Plato and is used in many areas of the world, for example, Morton (1978) suggests, at least for Thai music, an alternative term 'polyphonic stratification' a free-form musical composition with the character of an improvisation, usually for a solo instrument, such as piano isorhythm (iso or same) consists of an order of durations or rhythms, talea ("cutting", plural taleae), which is repeated within a tenor melody whose pitch content or series, color (repetition), varied in the number of members from the talea. The term was coined in 1900 by Friedrich Ludwig to describe this practice in 14th- and fifteenth-century polyphonic motets but is also used in motets of the middle ages, the music of India, and by modern composers such as Alban Berg, Olivier Messiaen, and John Cage. It may be used in all voices or only a few voices. In motets, it began in the tenor voice but was then extended to higher ones see 'sinfona' (below)





Italian overture

Lied (s.), Lieder (pl.)

(German, literally "song") among English speakers, however, it is used primarily as a term for European classical music song, also known as "art song". Typically, Lieder are arranged for a single singer and piano. Sometimes Lieder are gathered in a Liederkreis or 'song cycle' a series of songs tied by a single narrative or theme. The composers Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann are most closely associated with this genre of classical music a setting for 46 voices of a secular text, often in Italian. The madrigal has its origins in the frottola, and was also influenced by the motet and the French chanson of the Renaissance. It is related mostly by name alone to the Italian trecento-madrigal of the late 13th- and 14thcenturies; those madrigals were settings for 2 or 3 voices without accompaniment, or with instruments possibly doubling the vocal lines. The madrigal was the most important secular form of music of its time. It bloomed especially in the second half of the sixteenth century, losing its importance by the third decade of the seventeenth century, when it vanished through the rise of newer secular forms as the opera and merged with the cantata and the dialogue


(Italian) a madrigal, or madrigal-like piece of music, with a sacred rather than a secular text. Most examples of the form date from the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras, and principally come from Italy and Germany. Madrigali spirituali were almost always intended for an audience of cultivated, often madrigale spirituale (s.), madrigali spirituali (pl.) aristocratic amateurs. They were performed at private houses, academies, and courts of noblemen in Italy and adjacent countries, but almost certainly were not used liturgically. The madrigale spirituale was an a cappella form, though instrumental accompaniment was used on occasion, especially after 1600 a form of musical composition, a choral composition that sets the fixed portions of the Eucharistic liturgy (principally that of the Roman Catholic Church, and also the Anglican Church) to music. Masses can be a cappella, for the human voice alone, or they


can be accompanied by instrumental obbligatos up to and including a full orchestra. Sometimes the music in the Mass format was never really intended to be used as part of a real Mass. The mass as a musical form flourished during the Renaissance, where it served as the principal large-scale form of composition for most composers. Many important masses were composed by Josquin des Prez. At the end of the sixteenth century, a cappella choral counterpoint reached an apogee in masses by the English William Byrd, the Castilian Tomas Luis de Victoria and the Roman Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, whose Mass for Pope Marcellus is credited with saving polyphony from the censure of the Council of Trent. By the time of Palestrina, however, the mass had already been replaced by other forms, principally the motet and the madrigale spirituale, as the most significant outlet for expression in the realm of sacred music; composers such as Lassus wrote relatively few masses, preferring the greater latitude for expression offered by the other forms or menuet, a social dance of French origin for two people, usually in 3/4 time. The word was adapted, under the influence of the Italian minuetto, from the French menuet, meaning small, pretty, delicate, a diminutive of menu (from the Latin minutus; menuetto is a word that occurs only on musical scores. The word refers probably to the short steps, pas menus, taken in 'the dance'). Initially, before its adoption in context outside of social dance, the minuet was usually in binary form, with two sections of usually eight bars each, but the second section eventually expanded, resulting in a kind of ternary form. On a larger scale, two such minuets were often combined, so that the first minuet was followed by a second one, and finally by a repetition of the first. The second (or middle) minuet usually provided some form of contrast, by means of different key and orchestration. The minuet and trio eventually became a standard movement in the four-movement classical symphony, with Johann Stamitz the first to employ it in this


way with regularity. A livelier form of the minuet later developed into the scherzo (which was generally also coupled with a trio). This term came into existence approximately from Beethoven onwards, but the form itself can be traced back to Haydn the term 'mobile form' is used for 'aleatory music' (Latin, alea meaning 'dice') a compositional technique, most closely associated with the American composer John Cage (1912-1992), where, through the use of dice, random-number generators, books such as the I Ching, etc. (called 'chance operations'), the choice of pitch, rhythmic value and order of events is left to chance, the music so produced being called 'aleatoric' or 'chance' music derived from 'group form' and as exemplified by Stockhausen's piece Momente, the 'groups' of 'points' are further organized, by dividing them up into 'moments'. The fundamental characteristic of 'moment form' is that a piece consists of a bunch of brief 'moments' which are larger than individual 'points' or 'groups', for example, each 'moment' has an identity as a gestalt piece-let in itself. But, necessarily, all the 'moments' in a piece in 'moment form' can all be randomly interchanged and reassembled, to be performed in any order the name comes either from the Latin movere, ("to move") or a Latinized version of Old French mot, 'word' or 'verbal utterance'. The Mediaeval Latin for motet is motectum. If from the Latin, the name describes the movement of the different voices against one another. According to Margaret Bent (1997), "'a piece of music in several parts with words' is as precise a definition of the motet as will serve from the 13th- to the late sixteenth century and beyond. This is actually very close to one of the earliest descriptions we have, that of the late thirteenth-century theorist Johannes de Grocheio" see 'mobile form' an art form which originated in Europe, which involves dramatic stage performance set to music. Comparable art forms from various

mobile form

moment form


open form opera

parts of the world are usually prefaced with an adjective indicating the region; for example, Chinese opera and Beijing opera. The drama is presented using the primary elements of theatre such as scenery, costumes, and acting. Although, the words of the opera, or libretto, are sung rather than spoken. The singers are accompanied by a musical ensemble ranging from a small instrumental ensemble to a full symphonic orchestra a large musical composition for orchestra, vocal soloists and chorus, that differs from an opera in that it does not have scenery, costumes, or acting. Oratorio closely mirrored opera in all ages in musical style and form, except that choruses were more prominent in oratorio than in opera. The peak period for composition of oratorios was the 17th- and 18th-centuries a technique of singing developed in the Middle Ages, an early form of polyphonic music. In its earliest stages, organum involved two musical voices: a Gregorian chant melody, and the same melody transposed by a consonant interval, usually a perfect fifth or fourth. In these cases often the composition began and ended on a unison, maintaining the transposition only between the start and finish. Organum was originally improvised; while one singer performed a notated melody (the vox principalis), another singersinging 'by ear', provided the unnotated second melody (the vox organalis). Over time, composers began to write added parts that were more than just simple transpositions, and thus true polyphony was born the 'classical' suite consisted of allemande, courante, sarabande and gigue, in that order, and developed, in France, during the seventeenth century. Although never totally fixed in form, the later addition of an overture produced the 'overture-suite' that was extremely popular with German composers of the eighteenth century until the seventeenth century, a term synonymous with 'a set of variations' from the sixteenth century onwards, a term





synonymous with 'suite' (German, Punktuell was originally coined by WDR studio director Herbert Eimert, in a 1953 lecture), otherwise known as 'total serialism' or 'integral serialism'. In this form (practiced in those early 1950s by Stockhausen & others at WDR, plus by Pierre Boulez in Structures 1a), each and every smallest parameter of the music is to be as independent as possible, from every other one. Their goal as they all described it in a number of articles, for example, in Die Reihe, was to try and break every rule of the various prevaling musical forms, trying, therefore, to deny any possibility of theme, development, melody, repetition, etc. Basically the unstated but obviously recurring motivation is that they associated the horrors of World War II, which had just ended. John Cage showed them up by achieving the same result via 'chance operations' instead of all the painstaking micro-serialist calculations they were using a short piece of music, usually in no particular internal form, which may serve as an introduction, for example, a preludio coming before a succession of dance movements. Since Chopin, the term often denotated a short piano piece, not necessarily an introduction, for example, one might play 24 successive preludes. In Baroque music, the prelude was often paired with the fugue or requiem mass, also known formally (in Latin) as the Missa pro defunctis or Missa defunctorum, is a liturgical service of the Roman Catholic Church and its Eastern Rite. Its theme is a prayer for the salvation of the souls of the departed, and it is used both at services immediately preceding a burial, and on occasions of more general remembrance. It is sometimes observed by other denominations of Christianity such as the Anglican Communion and Eastern Orthodoxy. Requiem is also the title of various musical compositions used in such liturgical services or as concert pieces as settings of the portions of that mass which have been traditionally sung in the Roman Catholic liturgy





a one-movement work that is episodic yet integrated, free-flowing in structure, featuring a range of highly contrasted moods, color and tonality. An air of spontaneous inspiration and a sense of improvisation make it freer in form than a set of variations a short return or repetition; a concluding symphony to an air, often consisting of the burden of the song. Alternatively, a short intermediate symphony, or instrumental passage, in the course of a vocal piece, an interlude. In Baroque music, ritornello was the word for a recurring passage for orchestra in the first or final movement of a solo concerto. There was a passage for a solo instrument, usually the violin, between each ritornello. The most prolific Baroque composer in solo concertos was Antonio Vivaldi. When the Classical era started, the ritornello form was altered to resemble 'sonata form', and the piano replaced the violin as the most frequently used solo instrument rondo, and its French equivalent rondeau, is a word that has been used in music in a number of ways, most often in reference to a musical form, but also in reference to a character-type that is distinct from the form. In rondo form, a principal theme (sometimes called the 'refrain') alternates with one or more contrasting themes, variously called 'digressions', 'couplets', 'episodes', or 'subordinate themes'. The overall form can be represented as ABACADA.... The number of themes can vary from piece to piece, and the recurring element is sometimes embellished or shortened in order to provide for variation or sarabanda, a slow dance in triple meter with the distinctive feature that beats 2 and 3 of the measure are often tied, giving a distinctive rhythm of crotchet (quarter note) and minim (half note) in alternation. The minims (half notes) are said to have corresponded with dragging steps in the dance. Later, it became a traditional movement of the Baroque suite developed from the minuet, the scherzo came to replace it as the third (or sometimes second)


rondo form



movement in symphonies, string quartets, sonatas and similar works. It traditionally retains the 3/4 time signature and ternary form of the minuet, but is considerably quicker. It is often, but not always, of a light-hearted nature. A few examples of scherzi exist which are not in the normal 3/4 time, such as in Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 18. The scherzo is in ABA form, known as ternary form. The B theme is a trio, a lighter passage for fewer instruments sectional form where a piece is built by combining small clear-cut units, for example, strophic form, binary form, chain form, ternary form, arch form, rondo form and song form in the very late Renaissance and early Baroque, a 'sinfonia' was an alternate name for a canzona, fantasia or ricercar. These were almost always instrumental forms, all rooted however in a polyphonic tradition. Later in the Baroque period it was more likely to be a type of sonata, especially a trio sonata or one for larger ensemble. Still later in the Baroque era, the word was used to designate an instrumental prelude or overture. A specific form of such kind of preluding piece, in the early eighteenth century, was the threemovement sinfonia which became the standard type of overture to an Italian opera. Most of the time these pieces were in D major (for maximizing open-string resonance on string instruments), opening and ending with a fast movement, with a slow movement in the middle. Examples of this type of Italian sinfonia are the numerous three-movement opera overtures by Alessandro Scarlatti, all archetypical Italian overtures sonata form refers to both the standard layout of an entire musical composition and more specifically to the standardized form of the first movement. The latter is also referred to as 'sonata-allegro form'. Sonata form is both a way of organizing the composing of a work and a way of analyzing an existing work. While described and named in the early nineteenth century, the models for the form were works of the classical period, most specifically Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, and the form is rooted in the schematics


sonata form or sonata-allegro form or first-movement form

described in the late eighteenth century. The standard description of the sonata form is rooted in the common practice period of harmony, though more modern descriptions of theorists such as Heinrich Schenker and Charles Rosen argue that there is a single tonal background which defines all sonata movements. This is not to be confused with the term 'sonata', which applies both to a genre of works, and to works which exemplify sonata form sonata rondo form was a form of musical organization often used during the Classical music era. As the name implies, it is a blend of sonata form and rondo form. Sonata rondo form is almost exclusively used in the finales of multi-movement works. It is considered a somewhat relaxed and discursive form. Thus, it is unsuited to an opening movement (typically the musically tightest and most intellectually rigorous movement in a Classical work), and too long for a slow movement (where the slow tempo would make the full sonata-rondo formula impossible to realize in a movement of reasonable length) a group of songs performed in an order establishing a musical continuity related to some underlying idea a term used to describe a simple ABA or ternary structure as employed in many slow movements, although it is best avoided as many songs do not have this structure. In popular music, most song forms are in the binary or ternary forms AABB and ABA respectively or, the standard jazz formula, AABA in music stochastic elements are randomly generated elements created by strict mathematical processes. Stochastic processes can be used in music either to compose a fixed piece, or produced in performance. Stochastic music was pioneered by Iannis Xenakis, who used probability, game theory, group theory, set theory, and Boolean algebra, and frequently used computers to produce his scores. Earlier, John Cage and others had composed aleatoric or indeterminate music,

sonata rondo form

song cycle

song form

stochastic processes

which is created by chance processes but does not have the strict mathematical basis (Cage's Music of Changes, for example, uses a system of charts based on the I-Ching) (Greek, from strephein 'to turn', 'to twist') or 'chorus form', commonly associated with folksong and art-songs based on folk-song, a sectional and/or additive way of structuring a piece of music based on the repetition of one formal section or block played repeatedly. It is the musical analogue of 'repeated stanzas' in poetry or lyrics: where the text repeats the same rhyme scheme from one stanza to the next, the accompanying music for each stanza is either the same or very similar from one stanza to the next. It may be considered AAA... or AA'A".... If different music is used for different stanzas, it is said to be throughcomposed or 'theme and variations' form, where a musical melody (the theme) is followed by many altered versions of it (the variations). The variations are all altered forms of the theme; the theme is always present, in some form however disguised, in each of the variations. The theme may be either original or previously written by another composer a term that first appears in the middle of the sixteenth century although the form's origins lie in the late fourteenth century, an organized set of instrumental or orchestral pieces normally performed at a single sitting. In the Baroque era, the pieces are all in the same key, and generally modelled after dance music. In the eighteenth century the suite could bear the title ordre, sonata da camera, partita< or Partie, overture or ouverture. Estienne du Tertre published suyttes de bransles in 1557, giving us the first use of the term, although the usual form of the time was as pairs of dances. The first recognizable suite is Peuerl's Newe Padouan, Intrada, Dantz, and Galliarda of 1611, in which the four dances of the title appear repeatedly in ten suites. The Banchetto musicale by Johann Schein (1617) contains 20 sequences of five different dances. The 'classical' suite consisted of allemande, courante, sarabande, and gigue, in that order,

strophic form

strophic variations


and developed during the seventeenth century in France, the gigue appearing later than the others. However, it was never totally fixed in form or tone poem, a piece of orchestral music, in one movement, in which some extra-musical programme provides a narrative or illustrative element. This programme could come from a poem, a novel, a painting or some other source. Music based on extra-musical sources is often known as program music, while music which has no other associations is known as absolute music. A series of tone poems may be combined in a suite, in the romantic rather than the baroque sense an extended composition usually for orchestra and usually comprising several movements each having its own particular structure or form: first movement symphony second movement third movement fourth movement quick, in a binary form or later sonata form slow minuet and trio (that later developed into the scherzo and trio), in ternary form quick, sometimes also in sonata form or a sonata-rondo

symphonic poem

ternary form

ternary form is a way of organising a piece of music. It is usually found in classical music. Ternary form is a three part structure. The first and third parts are identical, or very nearly identical, while the second part is sharply contrasting. For this reason, ternary form is often represented as ABA. The contrasting second section is often known as a trio or durchkomponiert, music which is relatively continuous, non-sectional, and/or nonrepetitive. A song is said to be throughcomposed if it has different music for each stanza of the lyrics, as opposed to 'strophic form', in which each stanza is set to the same music an Italian musical form of the fourteenth



century (c.13001370). It was a composition for two (and rarely three) voices, typically on a pastoral subject. In its earliest development it was simple construction: Francesco da Barberino in 1300 called it a "raw and chaotic singalong". In its later stages of development the uppermost voice was often highly elaborate, with the lower voice, the tenor, much less so. The form at this time was probably a development of connoisseurs, and sung by small groups of cognoscenti; there is no evidence of its widespread popularity, unlike the later kind of madrigal. By the end of the fourteenth century it had fallen out of favor, with other forms (for example the ballata, the virelai, the rondeau) taking precedence, some of which were even more highly refined and ornamented. The centre of musical activity apparently moved at this time from northern Italy to France, particularly Avignon. The text of the madrigal is divided into three sections: two strophes called terzetti set to the same music and a concluding section called the ritornello usually in a different meter a term used to refer to the middle, contrasting section of a piece in ternary form. This usage gives rise to the 'minuet and trio' (or, later, the 'scherzo and trio') which appears, often as the third movement, in a symphony, sonata or similar work or 'theme and variation', is a musical form of several types. For example, a cantus firmus or 'constant bass' which is repeated may be modified or accompanied in a different manner in successive parts. Passacaglias and chaconnes are forms where a basso ostinato or 'constant bass' is heard through the entire piece. A further type of variation incorporates a 'fixed' harmonic structure, often derived from an ancient source, for example, folia or romanesca. Fantasia variations have repeated elements but incorporate additional material freely variation-forms fall into a number of historical categories and can be characterised as being structured, in which case sections


variation form variational form

and phrases in the theme are preserved in the variations, or free, in which case basic relationships of sections and phrases in the theme are disregarded: 'constant-melody' variation based on Renaissance a popular song, structured and Baroque dance, or some other pre-existing tune cantus firmus variations based on Renaissance structured pre-existing and Baroque plainchant and chorales the basso ostinato variation, as, for structured example, 'ground bass', chaconne or passacaglia the 'fixed harmony' variation, as, for structured example, that on the folia or romanesca the 'ornamental melodic outline' variation, using borrowed themes structured including dance pieces, popular songs and operatic excerpts the 'character' or 'characteristic' variation, where composers used instrumental works structured (such as suites and sonatas) and instrumentally conceived themes from members of their own circle structured the basso ostinato



eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

nineteenth century


century late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

variation the free 'fantasia' variation, which might used borrowed themes, including folk songs


twentieth century

the 'serial' variation, where structured the 'tone-row' provides the thematic material

verse-chorus form

a musical form common in popular music and predominant in rock since the 1960s. In contrast to AABA form, which is focused on the verse (contrasted and prepared by the bridge), in verse-chorus form the chorus is highlighted contrasting melodically, rhythmically and harmonically with greater dynamics and added instrumentation a simple triple time dance derived from the old German lndler; the dance generally has an introduction, a number of different melodies, before finishing with a coda. Harmonically, the dance has one strong chord on the first beat, with two weaker chords on the second and third beat, this pattern repeated from bar to bar. There are a number of variations in the form:

waltz Viennese waltz French waltz 'English' or 'Boston' waltz

features a slight anticipation of the second beat (called the Atempause) which gives a characteristic lilt to its performance places the emphasis on the first beat of the bar (or measure) places even emphasis on all three beats of the bar (or measure)

Seventh Chords ::

Key words: structural functional chord naming seventh chords

Chords: Structure vs. Function In the previous lesson we introduced the nomenclature used to identify different chords. We met terms such as major, minor, augmented, diminished, dominant, dominant seventh, and so forth. These names are part of a system that defines the quality of chords by how various intervals of a third are built one upon another. There is one aspect of chord naming that causes many people considerable problems. Music theory sometimes names chords according to how they are constructed - one might call this the structural approach. However, it can also name chords according to the role they play in a particular harmonic progression - one might call that the functional approach. A student of music theory should be familiar with both approaches so that you can appreciate the benefits of understanding what chords are as well as what they do. This point is particularly important because different publishers work within different naming traditions and can use different naming styles: East Coast, West Coast, Nashville and so on. In this lesson we are going to introduce more 'exotic' chords, show how they may be notated and how they might be used.

2 Seventh Chords
We discussed earlier the chord numbering of each degree of the C major scale harmonised in sevenths. Let us look at these chords again in greater detail. To hear these chords press the play button in the bar below.

C major scale harmonised in sevenths

The first and fourth are major seventh chords (also called 'Delta chords' or chords'), the second, third and sixth are minor seventh chords, the fifth is a dominant seventh chord while the last, the seventh, is called a minor seventh flat five chord. The harmonised natural minor scale in sevenths is shown below. To hear these chords press the play button in the bar below.

C natural minor scale harmonised in sevenths

The four chord types we met with the harmonisation of the major scale in sevenths occur again but in a different order. We summarise below the seventh chords that arise from harmonising major, natural, melodic and harmonic minor scales. chord name triad seventh abbreviation other comments the most common type of 7th chord having the simplest name, just the number 7 added to the root letter. For example: C7, F7, E7 all indicate dominant 7th chords. named with the abbreviation Ma7 or

dominant seventh




major seventh 'major major' chord




Delta chord or chord

For example: CMa7, C, F#Ma7 indicate major 7th chords. The abbreviation M7 may also be used. For example: CM7 named with the addition of mi7 or -7 to the letter name. For example: Cmi7, Gmi7, Dmi7 all indicate minor 7th chords. C-7, D-7, A-7 may also be used. named with the small raised circle and a 7. For example: C7, B7, and D7 all indicate a fully diminished 7th chord. the name relates them to the minor 7th, but with a lowered or flattened 5th. For example: Cmi7(b5), Ami7(b5) indicate half diminished chords. Note: Sometimes half diminished is indicted by a small circle with a slash through it (). This symbol is more common in Roman numeral analysis than chord names.

minor seventh




diminished seventh (also called 'fully diminished seventh')

diminished diminished dd7

half diminished seventh (also called 'minor seventh diminished minor flat five' or 'Tristan chord')


augmented triad, major seventh (also called 'augmented major seventh') augmented triad, minor seventh (also called 'augmented seventh' or 'augmented minor 7th')

augmented major


augmented major


minor triad, major seventh minor minor Delta chord or -



'Delta' notation is often used for chords like this.

chord (also called 'minor major seventh')

C- is a seventh chord with a minor third, in this case the notes C, E flat, G, B

We also summarise the degree of the scale where each type of seventh chord occurs. major scale dominant 7th. major 7th. Delta chord minor 7th. diminished 7th. half diminished 7th. minor 7th flat 5 augmented major 7th augmented triad, major seventh minor triad, major seventh minor Delta chord VII II V I, IV II, III, VI natural harmonic minor scale minor scale VII III, VI I, IV, V V VI IV VII II VI, VII II melodic minor scale IV, V



Dominant Seventh Chord One area of confusion when naming or identifying seventh chords is the use of the term dominant seventh chord. If you look at the table above summarising the degree of the scale where each type of seventh chord occurs, you will see that the dominant seventh need not lie only on the Vth degree of the scale, the degree we call the dominant. Indeed, in the natural minor scale, the dominant seventh chord lies on the VIIth degree not on the Vth degree. The point to remember is that the dominant seventh chord is any chord formed by adding a minor seventh to a major triad. Remember too that the chord's note name is determined by its root note. So the chord G B D F is written G7 because the root note is G. G B D is a major triad and F is the minor seventh above G. This chord, therefore, is a dominant seventh chord. In the key of C major, the notes G B D F form a seventh chord on the Vth degree, i.e. a dominant seventh on the dominant of the scale. This is also true for the C minor natural and

C minor melodic scales. However, the same notes, G B D F, are a G7 chord and a dominant seventh on the fourth (IV) degree of the D melodic minor scale. For completeness, we note finally that the notes G B D F are also a G7 chord and a dominant seventh on the seventh (VII) degree of the A natural minor scale.

Naming Seventh Chords One useful convention for naming any seventh chord is: root pitch letter, then chord tokens representing triad quality and seventh quality For example, an Ab major minor 7 chord: the first term (Ab) tells us the root of the chord; the second term (major) identifies the quality of the triad that forms the lower three notes of the seventh chord; and, the third term (minor) identifies the quality of the interval of the seventh formed between the root and the seventh. long name examples F major major 7 F major minor 7 F minor major 7 F minor minor 7 short or abbreviated name(s) FM7, FMaj7, F Major 7 chord notes (root to seventh) FACE

F7, also called 'dominant F A C Eb 7' FmM7 Fm7, Fmin7, F minor 7 F Ab C E F Ab C Eb F Ab Cb E F Ab Cb Eb F A C# E F A C# Eb F Ab Cb Ebb

F diminished major FdM7 7 F diminished minor F7, Fm7b5 7 F augmented major F+M7, FM7#5 7 F augmented minor F+7, F7#5 7 F diminished 7 Inverted Chords :: Key words: inverted chords voicing F7, Fdim7

1 Inverted Chords
While it is easier to number chords assuming that they are in root position and that the notes

above the root complete a close triad or chord, in practice, musicians arrange their chords in a wide variety of ways and we must consider how these might be described. Even if the chord is in root position, whether the third or the fifth lie lower and which notes are repeated are both important to the chord's sound. The vertical order of the notes in a chord is called its 'voicing'. We looked at this point earlier but now we want to consider how inverted chords are notated in popular music. We give some examples below which you can hear using the play bar below the score.

Inverted Chords

Note that in each line the chord is the same but progresses through a series of inversions. On the first line the chord is C major, in root, first and second inversion. On the second line the chord is a major seventh chord on C in root, first, second and third inversion. It is actually not good practice to place 'ma' after a major chord. A C major chord should be written C with the ma understood; a C minor chord would be written Cmi or Cmin. This allows you to add further major intervals to a major chord as, for example, Cma7 or Cmaj7, which means a C major chord with a major 7th - the 'ma' used as a qualifier for the '7' and not for the 'C' where it is understood. Remember too that C7 is a dominant 7th chord on C. The Roman notation we used for inverted triads may also be used to denote inverted chords. Thus, a small a after the chord name denotes a chord in root position (although this is usually omitted), a small b indicates that the chord is in first position, a small c that the chord is a second inversion, and so on.

Slash Chords :: Key words: slash chords slash notation Roman notation

Slash Chords Chord inversions can be notated also using slash notation. From the example above you will see that inverted chords can be shown using the notation chord type, (named or numbered), then a slash /, then the name (or number) of the bass note, i.e. the note at the bottom of the played chord. This is called slash notation. For example: C/E indicates a C major triad with E in the bass, a first inversion triad - in Roman notation, b indicates first inversion. Dm/A indicates a D minor triad with A in the bass, a second inversion triad - in Roman notation, c indicates second inversion. E7/D indicates E dominant 7th chord with D in the bass, a third inversion seventh chord - in Roman notation, d indicates third inversion seventh chord. Sometimes you might see numerals used to indicate inversion, D6 for example. This usage is borrowed from Roman numeral analysis symbols. In chord names, numbers are usually used to indicate "added tone" chords; i.e. D6 might mean D major triad with the added pitch B. notation: first: named or numbered chord; second: a slash /; third: numbered or named bass note for example: Cmaj7/E = C major 7th with an E in the bass, in other words first inversion C major 7th chord

slash chords

The whole subject of chord notation is covered more fully in lesson 30 References: Dansm's Guitar Chord Theory - Slash Chords Slash Chords for the Guitar Exploring Slash Chords for Pianists Interesting Chords for Pianists

Extended Chords (9th, 11th, 13th) :: Key words: extended chord ninth chord

eleventh chord thirteenth chord

1 Extended Chords (9th, 11th, 13th)

We discussed extended intervals, or extensions, in an earlier lesson. How might we notate the addition of extensions to a chord? The first point to make is that extensions of the tenth and twelve are just thirds and fifths plus an octave. The extensions of real interest are the ninth, eleventh and thirteenth. The chords are named for the extension; so, ninth chords, eleventh chords and thirteenth chords. The extensions are added to seventh chords, the quality and function of which is preserved. Thus, a dominant chord with an added ninth remains a dominant chord. For those who find the naming of extended chords rather baffling, remember that it is assumed that ninths are added to seventh chords to produce ninth chords, that eleventh and ninths are both added to seventh chords to produce eleventh chords and that thirteenths, elevenths and ninths are all added to seventh chords to give thirteenth chords. So if one calls a chord an eleventh it is assumed that the ninth and eleventh are present and that there is a seventh chord present too. The quality of the chord is determined by the seventh and the greatest extension names the chord. Thus, a major thirteenth chord will be a major seventh chord plus a ninth, an eleventh and a thirteenth, while a dominant ninth is a dominant seventh chord plus a ninth. However, as you will see mentioned below, thirteenth chords may have an unvoiced eleventh in order to relieve the otherwise dense harmonic texture. There are a few practical rules about building extended chords. We list these below. ninth chords major ninth is added to all possible seventh chords.

augmented ninth Chopin used the addition of an augmented ninth to a chords dominant seventh in his piano music. We illustrate the four ninth chords on C all in root position; in order they are major ninth (9) minor ninth (9) dominant ninth (9) and minor ninth flat five (9). Use the play bar below to listen to them.

Ninth Chords

eleventh chords eleventh chords

add sharpened eleventh to major ninth and dominant ninth chords: sharp 11 add perfect eleventh to minor ninth and minor ninth flat five chords: natural 11

We illustrate the four eleventh chords on C all in root position; in order they are major eleventh ( 11) minor eleventh (11) dominant eleventh ( 11) and minor eleventh flat five (11). Use the play bar below to listen to them.

Eleventh Chords

eleventh chords

if the third is missing then adding a perfect eleventh produces a 'suspended fourth' chord: sus4 or sus do not confuse the dominant 11th chord (which has a #11th) with the dominant 9th sus4 chord (which has a perfect 4th that can be 'voiced' one octave higher as a perfect 11th) - see graphic below

eleventh chords

thirteenth chords

major thirteenth is added to the eleventh chords given above

if, to relieve the texture, the eleventh is missing the chord remains a 13th; thirteenth chords if, however, the eleventh is present but altered, this must be shown in the name of the chord Special Chords :: Key words: special chords power chord suspended augmented diminished add 2 six/nine polychord

Special Chords We have collected below a number of other chords that feature in modern popular music. power chords where one wants neutrality as to whether a chord is major or minor, you can leave out the third. A chord made up only of the key-note and its fifth (maybe plus octaves up or down) is called a power chord. It is written as the (letter name of the chord) together with the number 5: e.g. G5.

sus2 chords

if the third in a chord is changed to a second the chord feels as though it is waiting for the second to resolve back to the third. Note that there is no third. This feeling of suspension gives the chord its name, a suspended second or sus2 chord. [information corrected by Mark Shelton] also called a sus chord, where the 4 is understood. If the third in a chord is changed to a fourth the chord feels as though it is waiting for the fourth to resolve back to the third. Note that there is no third. This feeling of suspension gives the chord its name, a suspended fourth or sus4 chord. We have already pointed out in the table above that sometimes suspended fourth chords are mistakenly called eleventh chords.

sus4 chords

Summary: a sus chord consists only of root, fifth, and the 'sus' note or notes (2 or 4) - no third or sixth. Notation: sus2, sus4 or just plain 'sus' if you want to give the player the choice of whether to employ 2, 4 or both. You can think of a sus chord as a triad (major or minor) whose 3rd has been replaced by 2 or 4, or just 'no 3rd'. Examples: Dsus2 = D E A; Dsus4 = D G A; Dsus4+2 = D E G A (these are the notes of the chord, not actual voicings). [information taken from Classical Guitar Forum] add2 chords add9 chords if a second is added to a major or minor triad, or to a power chord, the chord is called an add2 chord. A figure 2 is added to the end of the chord name, with a slash in the case of a power chord. This chord may also be called an add9 chord - for example D+9 = D E F# A or D minor+9 = D E F A the fifth is often raised (augmented) or lowered (diminished) in major triads and dominant seventh chords. if a major sixth is added to a major or minor triad the chord is called a sixth chord. The chord name is followed by a figure 6. the German augmented 6th chord is derived from the raised subdominant, whereas the Swiss augmented 6th chord is derived from the raised supertonic chord. Both chords resolve to the key's dominant chord by way of the I 6-4 chord (to avoid parallel 5ths). The progression is: German aug. 6th (or Swiss aug. 6th)-I 6-4 chord-V

augmented fifth & diminished fifth chords sixth chords

augmented sixth chords

chord. the English augmented 6th differs from the German augmented 6th in its 'spelling'. This is why the English augmented 6th is sometimes known as the misspelled German, Swiss or doubly augmented fourth the German augmented 6th chord is 'spelled' (1-3-5-#6), whereas the English augmented 6th chord is 'spelled' (13-x4-#6). The two chords are actually enharmonic because double sharp 4 (x4) and 5 are enharmonically equivalent the perfect fifth of the German augmented 6th chord is preferred in a major key when going to the I 6-4 because the approach to the 3rd of the tonic appears as an ascending minor second and not an ascending augmented unison In the Italian augmented 6th, there is no fifth; in the German 6th, the fifth is perfect; in the French 6th, fifth is flattened. Despite these differences the chords are functionally identical Italian 'augmented' sixth chord formed on the fourth degree of the scale and generally used in first inversion. Its root is raised creating an augmented sixth interval with the bass. Augmented sixth chords function by resolving the dissonance of the augmented sixth outward to the octave formed on the second degree of the scale, it is a seventh chord, generally in its second inversion. Its third is raised in order to build an augmented sixth interval with the bass. (see also above) built on the fourth degree of the scale, it is a seventh chord generally used in its first inversion. Its root is raised in order to create an augmented sixth interval with the bass. (see also two above) when both a major sixth and a major ninth are added to a major or minor triad the chord is called a 6/9 chord. A six/nine chord is shown as the chord name followed by 6/9. a polychord is one triad placed above another, often used by keyboard players where each hand plays a different triad. The standard notation is to place one chord name above a horizontal line with the second chord name below the line.

French 'augmented' sixth chord German 'augmented' sixth chord six/nine chords


Naming Chords ::

Key word: chord naming

Naming Chords legend for chord names in the key of C F C C D D D E E F G G G A A A B B

tonic flattened minor major or supertonic 4 supertonic 3 3 root octave 9 major 9

5 5 + 6 V7 13

major 7

11 11

chord as written root name plus chord tokens two note chord (or dyad) C5, C(no3), C(omit3) three note chord (or triad) Cm 5, Cmi 5, Cmin 5, Co, C dim Cm, Cmi, Cmin C 5 C C+

chord as named chord notes root name plus long in ascending description order

C power chord


C minor flat 5 or C diminished C minor triad C major flat 5 triad C or C major triad C augmented triad




C suspended 2nd chord where the third of the major triad is lowered by a CDG tone (step). Because the third is absent, the chord is neither major nor minor. C suspended 4th chord where the third of the major triad is raised by a CFG

Csus4, Csus

semi-tone (halfstep). Because the third is absent, the chord is neither major nor minor. four note chord Cmi2, Cmin2, Cm(add2), Cmi(add2), Cmin(add2) Cmi4, Cmin4, Cm(add4), Cmin(add4) C2, C(add2) C4, C(add4) Cdim, Co, Co7 Cm7 5, Cmi7 5, Cmin7 5, C Cm6, Cmi6, Cmin6 Cm7, Cmi7, Cmin7 C6 C7, V7 Cmaj7, C C-maj7, C- C7+, C+7 Cmaj7+, C+maj7, C+ five note chord Cm6/9, Cmi6/9, Cmin6/9, Cm69, Cm6(add9), Cm9/6 Cm9, Cmi9, Cmin9 C7 9 C9 C9 5 C minor six ninth C minor ninth C seven flat ninth C ninth C ninth flat fifth CE CE GAD GB D D D D C minor add 2 C minor add 4 C major add 2 C major add 4 C diminished seventh C half diminished seventh C minor sixth C minor seventh C sixth C seventh or dominant seventh C major 7th C minor major 7th C augmented (minor) 7th C augmented major 7th CDE CE G FG





C7 9 Cmaj9 C6/7, C67, C6(add7), C7/6 C6/9, C69, C6(add9), C9/6 C7 9+, C+7 9 C9+, C+9 C7 9+, C+7 9 C9sus4, C9sus six note chord Cm11, Cmi11, Cmin11 C7 9 9 C7 9 11 C9 11 Cmaj9 11 C7 9 9+, C+7 9 9

C seven sharp ninth C major ninth C six seventh C six ninth C seven flat nine augmented C ninth augmented C seven sharp ninth augmented C ninth suspended 4th



C minor eleventh C seven flat ninth sharp ninth C seven flat ninth sharp eleventh C ninth sharp eleventh





C major ninth sharp CEGBDF eleventh C seven flat ninth sharp ninth augmented C seven flat ninth sharp eleventh augmented CEG B D CEG B F D

C7 9 11+, C+7 9 11 seven note chord Cm13, Cmi13, Cmin13

C minor thirteenth




C13 11

C thirteenth sharp eleventh flat nine or C E G B C dominant A thirteenth C thirteenth sharp eleventh or C thirteenth or C CEGB A


C13 11, C13


dominant thirteenth Cmaj13, Cma13 11 C13sus4, C13sus C major thirteenth sharp eleventh or C major thirteenth C thirteenth suspended fourth CEGBDF A CFGB DFA

Added or missing notes can also by identified by writing (add, then the note, then ), writing (no, then the note, then ) or writing (omit, then the note, then ). The bracket convention is discussed further in lesson 30 where we also introduce a number of other special chords. Chord notation is not well standardised and you will need to recognise all notational forms, even those that we would not necessarily favour ourselves.