the chord in music

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This article describes pitch simultaneity and harmony in music. A chord, in music, is any harmonic set of three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously.


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    Chord (music)

    Instruments and voices playing and singingdifferent notes create chords.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This article describes pitch simultaneity

    and harmony in music. For other

    meanings of the word, see Chord.

    A chord, in music, is any harmonic set of

    three or more notes that is heard as if

    sounding simultaneously.[1][2] These need not

    actually be played together: arpeggios and

    broken chords may, for many practical and

    theoretical purposes, constitute chords.

    Chords and sequences of chords are

    frequently used in modern Western, West

    African[3] and Oceanian[4] music, whereas

    they are absent from the music of many other

    parts of the world.[5]

    The most frequently encountered chords are triads, so called because they consist of three

    distinct notes: further notes may be added to give seventh chords, extended chords, or added

    tone chords. The most common chords are the major and minor triads and then the augmented

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    C Major triad represented in staffnotation.

    Play (helpinfo) in just intonation Play (helpinfo) in Equal


    and diminished triads. The descriptions major, minor, augmented, and diminished are sometimes

    referred to collectively as chordal quality. Chords are also commonly classed by their root note

    so, for instance, the chord C major may be described as a triad of major quality built upon the note

    C. Chords may also be classified by inversion, the order in which the notes are stacked.

    A series of chords is called a chord progression. Although any chord may in principle be followed

    by any other chord, certain patterns of chords have been accepted as establishing key in

    common-practice harmony. To describe this, chords are numbered, using Roman numerals,

    upwards from the key-note[6] (See diatonic function). Common ways of notating or representing

    chords[7] in western music other than conventional staff notation include Roman numerals, figured

    bass (much used in the Baroque era), macro symbols (sometimes used in modern musicology),

    and various systems of chord charts typically found in the lead sheets used in popular music to lay

    out the sequence of chords so that the musician may play accompaniment chords or improvise a



    1 Definition and history

    2 Notation

    2.1 Roman numerals

    2.2 Figured bass notation

    2.3 Macro analysis

    2.4 Tabular notation

    3 Characteristics

    3.1 Number of notes

    3.2 Scale degree

    3.3 Inversion

    3.4 Secundal, tertian, and quartal chords

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    temperament Play (helpinfo) in 1/4-comma

    meantone Play (helpinfo) in Young

    temperament Play (helpinfo) in Pythagorean


    Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition"Promenade", is a piece showing an explicit chordprogression.(Nattiez 1990, p. 218) Play (helpinfo)

    3.5 Harmonic Content

    4 Triads

    5 Seventh chords

    6 Extended chords

    7 Altered chords

    8 Added tone chords

    9 Suspended chords

    10 Borrowed chords

    11 References

    12 Sources

    13 Further reading

    14 External links

    Definition and history [edit]Main article: Harmony

    The English word chord derives from Middle

    English cord, a shortening of accord[8] in the

    original sense of agreement and later,

    harmonious sound.[9] A sequence of chords is

    known as a chord progression or harmonic

    progression. These are frequently used in

    Western music.[5] A chord progression "aims

    for a definite goal" of establishing (or

    contradicting) a tonality founded on a key,

    root or tonic chord.[6] The study of harmony involves chords and chord progressions, and the


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    Upper stave: Claude Debussy's PremireArabesque. The chords on the lower stave areconstructed from the notes in the actual piece, shownon the upper stave. Play (helpinfo)

    principles of connection that govern them.[10]

    Ott Krolyi[11] writes that, "Two or more notes sounded simultaneously are known as a chord,"

    though, since instances of any given note in different octaves may be taken as the same note, it is

    more precise for the purposes of analysis to speak of distinct pitch classes. Furthermore, as three

    notes are needed to define any common chord, three is often taken as the minimum number of

    notes that form a definite chord. Hence Andrew Surmani, for example, (2004, p. 72) states, "When

    three or more notes are sounded together, the combination is called a chord." George T. Jones

    (1994, p. 43) agrees: "Two tones sounding together are usually termed an interval, while three or

    mores tones are called a chord." According to Monath (1984, p. 37); "A chord is a combination of

    three or more tones sounded simultaneously," and the distances between the tones are called

    intervals. However sonorities of two pitches, or even single-note melodies, are commonly heard as

    implying chords.[12]

    Since a chord may be understood as such even when all its notes are not simultaneously audible,

    there has been some academic discussion regarding the point at which a group of notes may be

    called a chord. Jean-Jacques Nattiez (1990, p. 218) explains that, "We can encounter 'pure

    chords' in a musical work," such as in the Promenade of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an

    Exhibition but, "Often, we must go from a textual given to a more abstract representation of the

    chords being used," as in Claude Debussy's Premire Arabesque.

    In the medieval era, early Christian hymns

    featured organum (which used the

    simultaneous perfect intervals of a fourth, a

    fifth, and an octave[13]), with chord

    progressions and harmony an incidental result

    of the emphasis on melodic lines during the

    medieval and then Renaissance (15-17th

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    on the upper stave. Play (helpinfo)


    The Baroque period, the 17th and 18th centuries, began to feature the major and minor scale

    based tonal system and harmony, including chord progressions and circle progressions.[7] It was in

    the Baroque period that the accompaniment of melodies with chords was developed, as in figured

    bass,[14] and the familiar cadences (perfect authentic, etc.).[15] In the Renaissance, certain

    dissonant sonorities that suggest the dominant seventh occurred with frequency.[16] In the

    Baroque period the dominant seventh proper was introduced, and was in constant use in the

    Classical and Romantic periods.[16] The leading-tone seventh appeared in the Baroque period and

    remains in use.[17] Composers began to use nondominant seventh chords in the Baroque period.

    They became frequent in the Classical period, gave way to altered dominants in the Romantic

    period, and underwent a resurgence in the Post-Romantic and Impressionistic period.[18]

    The Romantic period, the 19th century, featured increased chromaticism.[7] Composers began to

    use secondary dominants in the Baroque, and they became common in the Romantic period.[19]

    Many contemporary popular Western genres continue to rely on simple diatonic harmony, though

    far from universally:[20] notable exceptions include the music of film scores, which often use

    chromatic, atonal or post-tonal harmony, and modern jazz (especially circa 1960), in which chords

    may include up to seven notes (and occasionally more).[21]

    Triads consist of three notes; the root or first note, the third, and the fifth.[22] For example the C

    major scale consists of the notes C D E F G A B: a triad can be constructed on any note of such a

    major scale, and all are minor or major except the triad on the seventh or leading-tone, which is a

    diminished chord. A triad formed using the note C itself consists of C (the root note), E (the third

    note of the scale) and G (the fifth note of the scale). The interval from C to E is of four semitones,

    a major third, and so this triad is called C Major. A triad formed upon the same scale but wit


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