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Discussion Starter #1
Let's say there is a measure where the pianist plays an Am7 chord (A C E G) and the bassist plays a F bass note.

Which chord symbol should I use to represent this entire chord?

Am7/F or Fmaj9 ?
 

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clarinetcola said:
logically thinking FM9 should be right, as it is
F - A C E G
I agree because the f# 6th degree just wouldn't make sense to me if the base chord was an F. The base IMO would not be playing a flat 6th over an Am7.

I'm no theory guy though only been learning it for about 6 months.
 

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clarinetcola said:
logically thinking FM9 should be right, as it is
F - A C E G
This is probably what is happening. Piano players are taught not to play the root in their voicings because that is the note that the bass player is playing.
 

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That's right, it's definitely an F maj7. Pianist and guitarists often voice chords without roots when there is a bass player. It's actually a good thing to do because it gives the bass player more freedom re: intonation, vibrato, approach tones etc. It's also fine for piano and guitar to omit perfect 5ths from a chord.

Use of the slash (/) is best kept for inversions, e.g. 1st inversion of F major 7 would be Fma7/A.

It is also used for 11ths Dm7/G, but I prefer to see G11.

Also for "polychords, when two chords are played at once - e.g. D/C7. Once again I'd prefer to see this written as C13 #11
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Just an additional note, the song is in the key of F by the way and this is the first measure of the song. However, on the third measure, the same line was played as an Am7 by the band, meaning that the pianist plays the Amaj7 chord with bassist on the A note.

So am I correct to say that this chord should be a Fmaj9?
 

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If you're in F, I'd think it most likely that you should call it an F chord, without knowing too much more about the context (which can be very important for deciding what to call a chord).

My basic rule of thumb for dealing with ambiguities (say are we going to call "A B D F#" a D6 or Bm7 chord?) is to consider the progression they are in with either of the simple triads without extensions (in this case D or Bm). Whichever of those sounds "closest" gets my vote.
 

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tubbycub said:
Just an additional note, the song is in the key of F by the way and this is the first measure of the song. However, on the third measure, the same line was played as an Amaj7 by the band, meaning that the pianist plays the Amaj7 chord with bassist on the A note.

So am I correct to say that this chord should be a Fmaj9?
Without knowing the rest of the chord progression this is hard to answer. However, I doubt it would be an Fmaj7 chord because you say that the band is playing an Amaj7. If you add an f to this chord it makes it an Fmaj7#5, which is not that common and therefore unlikely. This is probably just a case of the bass and the piano playing the root.

What is the song?
 

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tubbycub said:
Just an additional note, the song is in the key of F by the way and this is the first measure of the song. However, on the third measure, the same line was played as an Amaj7 by the band, meaning that the pianist plays the Amaj7 chord with bassist on the A note.

So am I correct to say that this chord should be a Fmaj9?
I hope i'm understanding correctly but yes, it's perfectly possible that the same series of notes could be harmonised with Fmaj9 in measure 1 and Amaj7 in measure 3, i think.
 

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RootyTootoot said:
I hope i'm understanding correctly but yes, it's perfectly possible that the same series of notes could be harmonised with Fmaj9 in measure 1 and Amaj7 in measure 3, i think.
Agreed. (Which is a bit of a worry - I've been agreeing with Mr Roooty far too much recently)
 

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stefank said:
Agreed. (Which is a bit of a worry - I've been agreeing with Mr Roooty far too much recently)
Ha!! I'm drawing you into my "Axis of Idiocy".
 

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If the chord voicing is closed with "F" in the bass you have 3 possibilites. This chord is a nice sounding chord. :cool:

1. D9sus4 Root

2. C9/6 1st inv

3. Am7sus4 2nd inv

When the abbreviation "inv" stands for inversion, and "sus" means suspended. #2 is usually at the end of a piece and can be seen as the final chord held out, say, about 4 beats.
 

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2 additional possibilities

1, Fmaj9 Root

2, G13sus4 4th inv

These chord spellings, as well as those listed in my previous post, are intended to help the piano player. The presence of the F in the bass creates a diminished sound. I was interpreting your example as the F being used as a passing note. Sorry for any confusion. Nice exercise for shaking out the cobwebs. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sorry guys, I made a typo error in my previous post which I have already corrected, the chord in the 3rd measure was supposed to be Am7 instead.

All of you are making perfect sense here, the F note is not a chord tone in Am7, so it is more logical to name it as Fmaj9 instead of Am7/F.

To ZenBen, not sure if you have heard of this Japanese fusion band "T-Square" before. This song is called "Sunnyside Cruise" by this band.

To Rooty and Stefank, sorry about the confusion which I made earlier, but I still get you :)

To DXCamp, I understand it now. In fact, this can also be made into an Am7add13 chord, right?



Thanks to everyone for the enlightenment :)
 

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Sure. It depends on what your piano player understands better. You might see the Am7add13 written as Am7+13, for example. In the above post I wrote one possibility as G13sus4 4th inversion. The piano player might better understand the chord when written as G13sus4/F. One may see the same chord appear written in 3 or 4, or more, different ways. It is fun being a musician, eh? :)
 

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tubbycub said:
To ZenBen, not sure if you have heard of this Japanese fusion band "T-Square" before. This song is called "Sunnyside Cruise" by this band.



To DXCamp, I understand it now. In fact, this can also be made into an Am7add13 chord, right?



Thanks to everyone for the enlightenment :)
No, I don't know the band.

re the Am7add13: it would be an F#, not an F natural.

How's the progress on the tune?
 

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It is correct to say that when add13, or +13, is seen then that note is raised 1/2 step. This results in somewhat of a brighter sounding chord.

My Dictionary of Music defines thirteenth chord as "an eleventh chord with a thirteenth added, containing all the notes of the diatonic scale."

What major or minor key is the composition in question in? :)
 

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DXCamp said:
My Dictionary of Music defines thirteenth chord as "an eleventh chord with a thirteenth added, containing all the notes of the diatonic scale."
I think this is a bit misleading. Each type of chord has a different approach. If you are talking about a major chord most of the time it will be a #11. And if that major 13 chord is the tonic, then adding the #11 makes it non-diatonic to the key (though i guess it would be diatonic unto itself).

If you are talking about a minor13 chord, the 11 would remain the natural 11. It's the 13 that raises the diatonic issue. If its the tonic minor chord you generally consider the most diatonic-to-the-key-13 to be the b13. But a minor11b13 chord is rare indeed. A minor 13 chord is a great way to spell out the dorian mode.

If you are talking about a dominant 13#11 chord again, like the major, the #11 takes the chord away from being diatonic to the key.

This can get a bit confusing can't it?
 

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Yes, aggreed, things can be considered misleading when there is no clarification, such as solely considering the definition of diatonic. This Dictionary of Music I have does provide for more detailed study. Diatonic is defined as "pertainng to an octave Scale or Mode constructed of five tones and two semitones, in which the two semitones are widely separated from one another as possible. Thus, the major and minor scales and the church modes are diatonic."

Diatonic Interval is defined as "any interval that can be constructed between any pitches of a diatonic scale, i.e., all the major, and minor and perfect intervals. The tri-tone, although technically a diatonic interval, is sometimes considered to be an alteration of a perfect fourth or fifth, and thus a chromatic interval."

All italicized words are "links" pointing to relevant entries providing the interested reader/student help in gaining a better perspective in his or her study. I also own a Jamey Aebersold Jazz Workshop Handbook and his presentation is more jazz orientated and sometimes as mystifying as the Dictionary of Music. You have given me the opportunity to brush up on a more formal academic approach to theory. :D

My question of "What key is the composition in?" still stands. :)
 
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