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#388688 - 08/14/02 03:47 PM Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,264
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


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Joined: Apr 2001
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Indianapolis, IN USA
Nashville's Number Chart System
Written By Mike Dunbar

Part two: Chords

Modern songwriting is as fascinated with chords as it is with melody and lyrics. Chords form the bed for the melody to romp on. The Nashville number chart system is really a chord chart system, giving the musician a roadmap of the chords to be used in the song, regardless of the key. To continue, make sure you have a decent working knowledge of the major scale. In other words, you should be able to sing or play a "do re mi" scale using the numbers one through seven instead of "do re mi's"

Two of the same notes are a unison. Two different notes form a duo called an interval. Three different notes, on every other degree of a scale, form a group called a chord.

Chords should be analyzed in the key of their root. For a C chord, use a C scale with C as one.

CDEFGABC=12345671

Every chord has a root, third, and fifth. In other words, every chord has a 1, 3 and 5.

A Major chord is spelled……………………..1 3 5
A Minor chord is spelled……………………….1 b3 5
A Diminished chord is spelled……………..1 b3 b5
An Augmented chord is spelled…………….1 3 5#

A C major is CEG.
A C minor is CEbG.
A C diminished is CEbGb.
A C augmented is CEG#.

Try these out on your guitar, keyboard, or what-have-you. You are probably already used to the sound of major and minor, but it wouldn't hurt to acquaint yourself with the diminished and augmented also.

These notes can appear in any order and be repeated ad infinitum. In other words: GBDGBG is still a G major chord, as a matter of fact, this is how it appears on the guitar. As long as you have the root third and fifth, you have a chord.

Now, we'll turn to seventh chords. You simply add a seventh to the root, third and fifth.

Major seventh chord (Maj7)………………..1 3 5 7

Seventh chord (7) (the regular 7th)……..1 3 5 b7

Half diminished seventh, also called the minor seventh flat five (m7b5)…………………….1 b3 b5 b7

Augmented seventh, also called the seventh augmented fifth (7+5)………………………..1 3 #5 b7

Strangest of all is the fully diminished seventh ( o ). This is the diminished chord most people are familiar with (" Help, help, he's tying me to the railroad tracks!) It uses a doubly flatted seventh. In C this would be a Bbb which would sound the same as A. ……………………………………1 b3 b5 bb7

The fully diminished seventh chord repeats its intervals so perfectly, that any note in the fully diminished seventh chord can be the root.

If you haven't noticed yet, chords are built on every other note in the scale. Skip a number after seven and you would get two, but that could be confusing, so we call a two built on a seventh chord a ninth. Continuing with this, we call a four an eleventh, and a six a thirteenth.

A ninth chord would be:

1 3 5 b7 9(2)

A minor 9th would be:

1 b3 6 b7 9(2) (Minors work the same way for the following chords.)

An eleventh is:

1 3 5 b7 9(2) 11(4)

And, finally, a thirteenth is:

1 3 5 b7 9(2) 11(4) 13(6)

The thirteenth chord uses every note in the diatonic scale, so you can't have a chord larger than a thirteenth. If you do add another note to a full thirteenth it is known as a "tone-cluster".

(Notice that the common extended chords have a flat seven, this allows them to lead to another chord e.g. a G7, G9, G11, or G13 want to lead you to a C chord. If they had a natural seven, they would just "sit there" e.g. a Gmaj7, Gmaj9, Gmaj11, or Gmaj13.)

There are a few other chords or tone clusters that are used by songwriters. Perhaps the most familiar is the suspended chord (mistakenly referred to as a "sustained" chord.) A suspended chord "suspends" the listener from knowing whether it is major or minor. It substitutes either a four or two for the three or flat three. 1 2 5 or 1 4 5


The more common is the Sus4, which can be referred to simply as Sus. The Sus2 must be written as such. The Sus4 is the "Pinball Wizard" chord; the Sus2 is the "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" chord.

Another chord often used by songwriters is the Add9 chord. It leaves out the seven.

1 3 5 9

This one usually follows a specific pattern.

1 5 9 3

Steely Dan called this a "mu" chord. When played on the guitar as a C add9, usually following a G chord, it has been called a "Nashville C". CEGDG (The sixth string is not played.)

Songwriters often come up with other "added" chords, like an Am add11 (an Am with a D note, but without the seventh or ninth…theory cats: I know this could be a D9, but bear with me.) Very often these chords are useful to the single act, but would sound strange if the whole band played them. (If you really need it, show it to the guitar player, but make it an Am on the chart.) With experience you'll find when such chords are appropriate.

Last but not least is the drone chord. Not really a chord, the drone is made up of a root and fifth. It is neither major nor minor and it allows the melody to move from the b3 to the 3, giving a bluesy or "modal" sound. It's found a lot in country and metal (how's that for an eclectic chord?) You'll hear it in the Judds' "Why Not Me" and in "Smoke on the Water." It's the "power" chord.

I know this is a lot, but if I can get on the Internet, you can figure it out. While you're sifting through this, remember that chords may have different names depending on what you call the "root." You often identify the root in context. Also the bass note (which is not necessarily the root) affects the "feel" of the chord. Some bass notes even seem to operate independently of the chord, (Theory cats, close your eyes…) like an F chord with a G in the bass in the key of C. In Nashville we'd call that a four over a five. (OK cats, it's a G11? Then, where's the third and fifth?)

Once again, you'll need to get a decent grasp on this to continue. Be practical. Figure out your own songs. Think about what chords you use. If you don't use ninths and thirteenths, you don't need to worry as much about them. Part three will be about time. Until then, eat your 1622656 in the key of C.


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#388689 - 08/15/02 10:02 AM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
I've found two digital errors...my digits hit the wrong keys.

The minor 9th should be:

1 b3 5 b7 9(2)

And you should definately eat your 1677653 in the key of C...1622656 is indigestible.

Sorry for the mistakes, I usually type very wel.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388690 - 08/25/02 02:53 AM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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kaboombahchuck Offline
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Hey Mike,
Very interesting subject here. Couple of points I'm having trouble with. Please note that I am in no way knoking the system. I have noticed that in your explenation on the system 1=c. The problem I have is how do you know if it is a midle c or 1 octive up or down? Maybe a +1 for 1 ocive up over middle c or -1 for an octive down. Also I have noticed that you have stated that most chords happpen with a 135 and so on type of occorance, but I have noticed ( on the keyboard) that some chords happen on 1368 type of structure. Is this true? If so what type of chords are those? Throw us a bone!

#388691 - 08/25/02 10:26 AM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Kaboomachuck,

I'll answer in retrograde order. 1368 in C would be C E A C this would either be an Aminor in the first inversion (with it's third in the bass) or a C6 without the fifth. Spell the letters out of this 1368 you refer to, and I'll go further.

Secondly,the number system assumes no particular register. It's meant to be used as a basic roadmap allowing the musician to improvise. In otherwords, the player decides what octave to play in. Numbers just describe a chord the way letters would. As a result, there is very little use for the denotation of octaves. If someone wants to write out notes in a specific register, they could write out instructions such as: play two octaves above middle c; or, better yet, write it out in standard notation.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388692 - 10/25/02 11:30 AM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Nashville Tennessee
Moving this up to the top.

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388693 - 02/03/03 02:38 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Nashville Tennessee
bump

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388694 - 03/22/03 03:59 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
Joined: Nov 2002
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RJC Offline
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RJC  Offline
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Apple Valley, CA, USA
Wow Mike! This is great!

Having a little difficulty understanding the extended chords, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths. In the above example of a ninth chord, 1,3,5,b7,9 is this a reference to the position of the 2, ie, above the b7? So that if you wrote it 1,2,3,5,b7 that would be an inversion of the ninth chord?

This is most awsome! Thank you again for your expert help!

Rob


I used to be indecisive, now I'm not sure... My Songs
#388695 - 03/22/03 05:21 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Nashville Tennessee
Rob,

Exactly...the nine is a two; the eleven is a four; the thirteen is a six. If you play all the white keys on the piano, you get a G13.

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388696 - 03/22/03 05:29 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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RJC Offline
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So 1,2,3,5,b7 is an inversion of a ninth chord? (Just making sure I understand, pardon my slowness, I'm old!)

Rob


I used to be indecisive, now I'm not sure... My Songs
#388697 - 03/22/03 06:36 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Nashville Tennessee
You've got it right. 1235b7 in the key of c would be C D E G Bb--a C9. It wouldn't sound as good in that inversion, though, it takes distance to let the ear accept the dissonance of do re mi next to each other. To illustrate: play a Cmajor7 chord C E G B. It sounds beautiful and static. Now invert it and play B C E G. It's not as good. The voicing of chords make a difference.

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388698 - 03/22/03 08:37 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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RJC Offline
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RJC  Offline
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Aahhh! Thank you for the clear explanation, that makes good since now!

Rob


I used to be indecisive, now I'm not sure... My Songs
#388699 - 03/23/03 01:48 AM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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A good practical way to think of it, is separating the root chord from the extended notes. C9 is a C chord with b7 9 11 13...a b7major 7 (stop reading here if it's too wierd).

Treat the root chord like you would if it were a major chord in the same place. Only use the 1 3 5 bass except for passing bass notes. You can use the upper register notes in the bass if they are passing tones of a truly great bass line (there aren't too many, but there are some sure fire things like the bass moving chromatically).

These, of course, aren't rules. Just observations of what bass parts I've learned have done. For example: You can get away with more 1st inversions on the solo piano than the seperate bass instrument can. The seperate instrument wants to be one and five unless it's in the middle of a great line (is there an echoplex in here?)

Let me know if that makes sense.



------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388700 - 03/27/03 12:12 AM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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RJC Offline
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Mike,

You bet that makes sense! But what about jazz wher nobody play's the root!

Rob


I used to be indecisive, now I'm not sure... My Songs
#388701 - 03/27/03 11:37 AM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Joined: Apr 2001
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Nashville Tennessee
The bass players in jazz said, "hey guys, I want to play cool lines too!", and he/she did. As a result a study of jazz literature shows chords with all kinds of unusual inversions.

Remember, though, each inversion of a large chord can be called by another name. A G13 with the 11 in the bass is the same as a Cmajor13#11.

All the Best,
Mike



------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388702 - 05/21/03 07:42 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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bump

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388703 - 11/24/03 09:57 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Nashville Tennessee
bump


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388704 - 03/03/05 05:31 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
The bumpster

------------------
You have to practice improvisation. -Art Tatum

Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388705 - 03/03/05 05:35 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
The bumpster

------------------
You have to practice improvisation. -Art Tatum

Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388706 - 03/05/05 01:41 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 417
Softkrome Offline
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Mike, that's probably the most concise discription of the chord types that I have ever seen in print. Thanks a lot for your time. While I know all of the chords you mentioned ( not all of the inversions tho), my difficulty in writing music comes from trying to fit the proper chord to the melody. I usually do find most of them but after much searching around. Band-in-a-box claims to have a setup which will dertermine the proper chords for any MIDI melody. I have never had any success using it. Do you know of any method for determining them other than trial and error based on their sound and how they fit into the music? Thanks again for your discussions. Frank V.


Softkrome
#388707 - 04/07/05 02:58 AM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Frank,

Thanks for your kind words.

A couple of things can help with harmonization.

Is the strong melody note part of a strong chord? Is it one of the notes of a one, four or five chord...or a six, two or three in minor?


Another helpful tactic is to learn a lot about the basic styles of music. A twelve bar blues can be played with a one, four and five chord, so can a lot of country. A sixteen bar ragtime usually uses one, four five, six major, two major and sometimes three major. Once you see some of the patterns take shape, you'll find that even the most unusual jazz has some relation to the basic patterns (for example, the six could be a flatted six, the two could be a flat three, or you could use ninth or thirteenth chords and etc.)

One last tactic, see if a section of the song reminds you of another song. You might have three or four notes in the same order as they appear in a familiar song...try harmonizing like or similarly to that song.

Good luck, and happy chord hunting.

Mike


------------------
You have to practice improvisation. -Art Tatum

Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388708 - 05/17/05 10:00 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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I'm new to this songwriting thing. I'm interested in learning more about the Nashville chord system that is used universally. With chords such as: ii, IV, V, etc. Can anyone explain this to me?
Thanks!

#388709 - 05/17/05 10:54 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Quote
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">chords such as: ii, IV, V, etc. Can anyone explain this to me?
Thanks!
</font>


Stephanie, you picked the most universal part to ask about. The chord symbols are shown in upper case (I, IV, V) for major triads (chords), and lower case (ii, iii, iv) for minor triads. As you may have quessed from the name, triads are combinations of three notes. In the major scale, there are always three major triads, and three minor triads.

For example, in the key of C Major, the first note of the C triad is the 1 note of the scale which is, of course, C. The other notes of the C Major triad are E, and G. They are the 3rd, and 5th notes of the C major scale. In any Major scale, the I triad will always be made of the 1, 3, and 5, notes of the scale.

The two other major triads in the C Major scale are:

F Major, which starts with the 4th note of the scale (IV = F,A,C),

and:

G Major, which starts on the 5th note of the scale (V = G,B,D).

Notice that these triads are the I, IV, and V triads of the C Major scale ONLY. Other scales have other triads as their I, IV, and V triads. HOWEVER, the notes of the IV triad are ALWAYS the 4,6,1, of that Major scale, and the V triad is ALWAYS made up of the 5,7,2 notes.

If you play guitar, you may have learned those three chords (C, F, G) first, and you can strum hundreds of songs (well, more actually) with just them. If you find that a song is too high or low to sing in C Major, you might try picking another key, such as G Major.

In G Major, the G Major chord (triad) is I (G,B,D), the C Major chord is IV (C,E,G), and the D Major chord is V (D, F#, A). If you check those out carefully you'll find that the notes are:

1,3,5 (I = G Major = G,B,D) of the G Major scale.

Also, the notes of the C chord are:

4,6,1 (IV = C Major = C,E,G) of the G Major scale.

And, D Major is made of:

5,7,2 (V = D Major = D,F#,A) of the G Major scale.

Notice how the C and G chords changed numeric places, between the two different major scales!

Let's get universal: In ANY Major scale, you can find the three main chords by starting on the name note of the scale, and counting*:

I = 1,3,5

IV = 4,6,1

V = 5,7,2

That's why the Nashville number system works. You can learn the NUMERIC chord sequences of a song, and it will be the same for any key.

This post is already way too long, so I'll just add a bit more on the three natural minor triads, (ii, iii, iv). In C Major those are:

Dm = ii = d,f,a

Em = iii = e,g,b

Am = vi = a,c,e

You can use the rules mentioned above to find the notes of any ii, iii, and vi chords of any scale, just by counting*.

* The trick is to skip a note as you count, so count:

1, (skip 2), 3, (skip 4), 5

This counting trick is ALWAYS true, for ANY triad, in ANY scale. Now that's universal!

Hope this helps!
Emmit Sycamore


[This message has been edited by EmmitSycamore (edited 05-17-2005).]

#388710 - 05/17/05 11:03 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Stephanie Offline
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Thanks, Emmett, for such a quick reply. So basically this is no more than Music Theory 101 where we analyzed songs for chord structures and sequences, picardy thirds, and so forth? We have an awesome band with excellent musicians who mostly improvise. When I decided the audition for this band, I'm a piano player, I was shocked to find that these people don't read a single note of music. All of their charts are done in this Nashville system. It's hard to go from reading music to something a little foreign.

Anyway, thanks for clearing this up for me!
Stephanie

#388711 - 05/17/05 11:13 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Quote
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">So basically this is no more than Music Theory 101 where we analyzed songs for chord structures and sequences, picardy thirds, and so forth?</font>


Uh . . . yeah.

I guess there's no need to follow up on the major and minor third stuff, huh?

Just as well, Mike has covered this all quite thoroughly. I was just trying to phrase it all a little differently, in case it might help a newbie.

It was fun anyhow!
Emmit Sycamore

#388712 - 05/18/05 01:29 AM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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The Nashville system does not use the Roman numeral convention. They simply use standard numbers.

So a chord pattern G Em C D would be 1 6- 4 5, rather than I vi IV V.

#388713 - 05/18/05 12:50 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Good stuff.

An important thing to remember when reading the Nashville Number System rather than the Roman Numeral system is this:

In Nashville, a number by itself is assumed to be a major chord. 1 2 3 4 5...etc, in Roman Numerals would be I II III IV V...etc. and NOT I ii iii IV V vi...etc.

The minus sign makes the number minor 1 2- 3- 4 5 6- 7dim 1

Hope this helps.

Mike

------------------
You have to practice improvisation. -Art Tatum

Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388714 - 05/20/05 08:27 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Hi Mike,

Thank you so much for your theory lesson two weeks ago on the phone!! I am still struggling but making progress at glacial warp speed. Just wanted to check here to see if you were back amongst us after your sojourn with the surgeon. Hope you are feeling better every day.

Hugs, (gentle ones)
Bobbie


They'll tell you success in the music biz is all about who you know...but the truth is...it's about who knows you.

Gallup 'n Dawg Music
#388715 - 01/21/06 01:25 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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bump

------------------
You have to practice improvisation. -Art Tatum

Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388716 - 03/15/06 03:08 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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bump

------------------
You have to practice improvisation. -Art Tatum

Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388717 - 06/10/06 04:16 AM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Teddie Cochran Music Offline
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Mike,

I usually have a pretty good understanding of this system. However I have two chords that I am not sure how to call them. They are:

EADGBe
X24430
Am I suspending the 7th or adding the 5th?
What would you call this chord?

and the other is:

EADGBe
X04430
Is this a dirivitive of the A chord or still a dirivitive of the Bm chord? What would you call this chord and explain to me how you reached your conclusion. thanks!

Regards,

Teddie Cochran
www.myspace.com\teddiecochran
www.sonicbid.com\teddiecochran

#388718 - 06/10/06 02:51 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Hi Teddie,

To begin with, there is no correct name for a chord, especially a chord larger than a triad, out of context. In your first question:

EADGBe
X24430
Am I suspending the 7th or adding the 5th?
What would you call this chord?

You show the strings on top, and the frets on the bottom...giving you B F# B D E, with the low E string muted...(what if I were a piano player! I'd have no idea what you meant [Linked Image]) Well, using B as the root, you'd have root, fifth, root, minor third, fourth. I'd call that a B minor add eleven. If E were the root, it would be: fifth, ninth, fifth, flat seventh, root. A garden variety E ninth without the third, or an E7 suspended 2.

and the other is:

EADGBe
X04430
Is this a dirivitive of the A chord or still a dirivitive of the Bm chord? What would you call this chord and explain to me how you reached your conclusion. thanks

From bottom to top, that is: A F# B D E

If A is the root you've got: root, sixth (13th), second (9th), fourth (11th), fifth. I'd call that an A thirteenth. If F# ia the root, it would be: third, root, flatted fifth, thirteenth, seventh...an F# thirteen flat five. If B is the root, it would be a Bm 11 (I'll let you figure it out). And if D is the root it would be a D6/9,,,the "love" chord.

As to which of these would be a good name, it depends on the key of the piece, the chord before or after, and whether some of these notes were simply "passing tones" in the piece.

Anyone else have some ideas on this?

Mike

------------------
You have to practice improvisation. -Art Tatum

Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388719 - 06/12/06 04:05 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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EmmitSycamore Offline
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It all comes down to the root of the chord.

In other words, what is the foundation, or the base (bass?!) note. Having said that, Mike is correct, saying that chords can have more than one label, and still be "correct". A factor that complicates matters, for guitarists, is that they are often playing in a group, where some other instrument is actually playing the bass notes. The root of the chord may not even appear in the guitar part . . .

Taking these examples though, I would look at the lowest note, and assume that is the root, and see if it makes sense that way.

EADGBe
X24430

Would be a B chord of some sort, with a very typical B, F#, B as the three lowest tones (root, 5th, root). The remaining two tones would be the minor third (D, third fret, second string), and only the top note (E, first string open) is outside the normal Bm triad, so I'd call it a Bm 11. Often, an added note that high (above the 7th) is present with one or more other added notes, such as the 7th, and /or 9th, but not in this case. In other words, Mike has nailed it, including the case where E might be the root. However, E were the root, why in the world woud the open E string be muted?


EADGBe
X04430

In this case I have to nod to a convenience notation, probably attributable to guitarists who couldn't be bothered to label a chord "properly", when it was clearly just complicated by the presence of a passing tone in the bass. The classic example is a F/G, or C/D chord, where the "root" moves up a step, but everything else remains the same. These are called "F over G" (F triad over a G bass note), and C over D (C triad over a D bass note), respectively. In the example above, the "root" is moving down (from B to A), which is clearly just a passing tone going somewhere else (to G, or G#, most likely). That last bit is speculation, of course, but it would be a very common case. So, the chord would be labeled Bm 11/A, which means a Bm 11 chord over an A bass note.

However, if you feel the need to use a more "proper" label, Mike has nailed it once again.

Interesting topic!
Emmit Sycamore


[This message has been edited by EmmitSycamore (edited 06-12-2006).]

#388720 - 06/14/06 12:43 AM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Thank you both for your reply. I believe you both have answered my question quite well. In this arrangement that I am charting the B is the root for both chords and what I am doing is a Bass run on the A string to the G on the E 6th string. The chord pregression would be I belive,
(6-11/6 6-11/5)(4 5) I am finger picking this & each tone is a 16th note, in the key of D:

e-----0------------0---3----0--
B----3-3-3--3-3-3-0-0-0----2---
G-----4-4----4-4-----0-------2-
D---4------4------------0-2----
A--2------0--------------0-----
E----------------3-------------

Copyright © 2005 Teddie Cochran

This is the middle of the chorus of the song I co-wrote "I Believe"

#388721 - 06/14/06 01:24 AM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Sorry the spacing is a little off it should be:

e-----0--------------0---3----0---
B----3--3-3--3-3-3--0-0-0----2----
G------4-4----4-4------0-------2--
D---4-------4-------------0-2-----
A--2-------0---------------0------
E-----------------3---------------

Copyright © 2005 Teddie Cochran

#388722 - 06/14/06 12:08 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Sorry Teddie, my eyes are glazing over [Linked Image]

Make sure you mean the same thing I do when you say "root." The root may be the highest note in the chord, depending on the inversion. Now, if you're keeping the B note throughout the progresseion, that is not necessarily the root. I'll give you an example in C:

CEG CFA CDF#A CGBD CEG as a progression has the C note in the bass for each chord, but the chords are: Cmajor; FMajor; D7; Gmajor/D (Gmajor with an 11 in the bass); back to Cmajor.

The roots are: C F D G C, but they are not always in the bass.

Keeping a note in the bass constant, if my fuzzy memory is correct (I have a memory like one of those big grey things), is called a pedal point...named so because an organist would press on one pedal while playing several changes on the keyboard.

The root is the name note of the chord, the bass is the low note of the chord.

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
You have to practice improvisation. -Art Tatum

Mike Dunbar Music

[This message has been edited by Mike Dunbar (edited 06-14-2006).]


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388723 - 06/14/06 06:24 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Mike's usual wealth of information has tipped us into a new topic, the "inversion". His example, above, shows a sequence of chords (triads, some with added notes), in various "inversions". The terms derives from the word "invert", which roughly means to up-end, or to stand something "on it's head".

Briefly, in traditional chord theory, all triads are expressed as 1,3,5 which means the root note, the third note above that, and the fifth note above the root (from lowest note to highest). Remember to count the root note as 1, or you'll get confused!

So, CEG is a normal 1,3,5 structure, known as "root position". However, you could have the same set of notes, with the E lowest, the C as the highest note, leaving the G in between. This gives us E,G,C, or 3,5,1, from lowest to highest. It is still a C chord (triad), even though the third note is in the lowest (bass?) position. This form is called the "first inversion".

Likewise, the form with G as the lowest note, E as the highest, and C in between (G,C,E or 5,1,3) is still a C chord, but this form is called "second inversion".

So, the lowest note isn't always the "root".
Still, in most cases, the bass note that underpins a harmonic structure will most often be the root, or name note of a chord.

It can get confusing though, if we try to overanalyze things without understanding the role of musical techniques such as the "pedal point", that Mike mentions, and "passing tones", etc. Sometimes the root of the current chord is missing altogether, if only temporarily. By trying too hard to "theorize", we can end up naming things that are overly complex, and in the end, unimportant (except to those twisted few of us who just enjoy mind benders).

I don't want to leave anyone with the impression that this stuff is entirely useless, so here is a practical example of how to actually use inversions. For guitarists, start by playing a A chord, but only the three highest strings. There you have a classic triad in root position, A,C#,E, in 1,3,5 form.

Now, grab an F chord, then slide it up to the fifth fret. You are now playing an A chord, in first inversion, C#,E,A, or 3,5,1.

Next, grab a D chord, but slide it up to the 9th fret. That is yet another A chord, in second inversion, E,A,C#, or 5,1,3.

From this little example you can see not only that our normal, familiar guitar chord patterns are examples of inversions, but also that there are really only three (basic) patterns to play a major chord on the guitar, as seen in the A, F, and D forms. This discussion could go on and on, but just for fun, try the same example above, but as minor chords. That's right, use the Am, Fm, and Dm patterns.

Before someone gets upset about my oversimplification of the chord patterns on the guitar, consider the E and Em chords. If you look closely, you'll notice that it is really the same pattern as an F, except that the nut is doing the work of the "bar". Likewise, A is really a Bb type chord, and C is really a D type chord.

To see this more clearly, grab a D chord, but do it like so- Play the 2nd fret of both the 1st and 3rd strings with the 1st finger, barred. Now, play the 2nd string at the 3rd fret, with the 2nd finger. Then, play the 4th string at the 4th fret with the 3rd finger. Last, play the 5th fret of the 5th string with the 4th finger. Yes, it is quite a stretch, until you get used to it.

The point is that you are playing a D chord as a C chord pattern. The first finger is doing the work that the nut does, in a C chord. When you play a normal D chord, you are just taking advantage of the fact that the open 4th and 5th strings happen to play notes of the D triad.

Here's a link to a Wikipedai article on chord inversions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inversion_%28music%29


Thanks for all the puzzles!
Emmit Sycamore


[This message has been edited by EmmitSycamore (edited 06-14-2006).]

#388724 - 06/14/06 10:39 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Okay, now that I am totally confused as to what I have actually written. Let’s take each chord again and let me analyze what I have written as I see it. The first chord is BF#BDE which is R 5 1 3- 11(2) and the root is the B or I could have the root in this position 1 5 R 3- 11(2) which is still a B root. This is a Bm11/B or just plain Bm11 Correct? I have never had any lessons to speak of so what I know I learned by reading, improvising and a lots and lots of practice. So please correct me if I’m wrong.

The second chord is AF#BDE which is 4 5 R 3- 11(2) And the Root is still a B. So wouldn’t this be a Bm11/A? Or would this chord be some other chord?

So looking at what I have for notes to each chord and the position of the root note as I see it, haven’t I naturally inverted perhaps the first chord and the second chord without knowing it or by shear luck? I ask these questions because I don’t know for sure that I am right. And I would like to chart these correctly so others know what I am doing and my intentions for the song even at the sake of showing my ignorance in this discussion. I believe the first step to learning is knowing you are ignorant of all the facts. You both have broadened my understanding and I truly appreciate it. I experiment with different chord and note positions all the time looking for new sounds.

The third chord is a GMaj and the fourth chord is an AMaj.

Regards,

Teddie Cochran

#388725 - 06/15/06 05:51 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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I'm sorry if you're feeling confused, but I think your final understanding is correct. The chord sequence is:

Bm11 Bm11/A

All this stuff does take some time to sink in.

#388726 - 06/16/06 03:17 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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Thank you both for taking the time to work this out with me. This has been a good discussion and educational. Thank again!

Regards,

Teddie Cochran

#388727 - 06/16/06 04:03 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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And thanks to you, Teddie, for the interesting chords, and of course to you, Emmit for the accurate analysis of which, from you, I've come to expect.

Mike

------------------
You have to practice improvisation. -Art Tatum

Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#388728 - 07/20/06 03:00 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords  
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bump

------------------
You have to practice improvisation. -Art Tatum

Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#467979 - 01/25/07 03:01 PM Re: Nashville Numbers System Part 2: Chords [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Thought we should move this up for folks. = )


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