What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

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Steve Langham
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What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby Steve Langham » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:04 am

Hi

I've been learning some of the basics on music theory recently, major/minor scales/chords, triads/7ths, inversions etc and been working my way through some of the pieces on this forum which have been very helpful.

I was going to start learning/playing the Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70 and rather than just getting stuck into it as I normally would I thought, even though it's a short simple piece, I'll work out the key and the chords etc as some good practice.

There's a couple of chords I don't get/understand and I was hoping someone here can help.

The score can be found here : http://www.delcamp.net/pdf/Julio_Salvador_Sagreras_Las_Primeras_Lecciones_de_guitarra.pdf

The recording of the piece (by someone else) can be found here if you want to hear the piece: http://www.classicalguitardelcamp.com/viewtopic.php?f=102&t=91688&hilit=Sagreras

I've attached here the first 8 bars to make it easier.
lesson70.jpg


The key signature shows the piece is in the key of either G or in Em - given the opening and closing chords are both clearly Em I'm going with Em. Big tick for me :wink:

First 4 bars go Em, B7, B7, Em
bar 5 is also Em
bar 6 = see below
bar 7 = see below
bar 8 = back to the tonic Em

So it's bar 6 and bar 7 I'm having trouble with.

Bar 6, you could say has 4 distinct chords on it
6-1 = Am
6-2 = Am
6-3 = I'm not quite sure, it 'looks' like and plays like a D7 chord shape however I can't seem to work that out in terms of intervals etc.
The notes are A, C, F#, this works out as F#, A, C.
Given my recent understanding, the third is 3 semi tones so is a minor, the fifth is only 6 semi tones so is diminished.
I'd therefore say it's actually a F#m diminished. This correct?
6-4 = Am

Bar 7, I see that as having 2 distinct chords
7-1 = notes are b, g, b, a. Ignoring the repeats this is b, g, a. What chord is this? Seems a bit odd having the A and B together, there's no 3rd interval.
Some help here would be appreciated?
7-2 = notes are A,B, F#. Same problem again, the A and B together has thrown me, I've so far always expected the notes to be work out such that there is an interval of a 3rd and a 5th between them but this isn't the case here so what's going on?

This new forum is ideal for this sort of stuff so hoping someone can educate me a bit here. Thanks.
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Kjetil Heggelund
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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby Kjetil Heggelund » Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:27 am

You've got some things right :-) Concerning measure 6, you're right that it's an a-minor chord. The f# adds a colour to that, since the open A still sounds in the bass. So the f# is a 6th from the bass and voila: Am6. In the 7th measure there is no A before the last 8th note, think you mixed up. It might be confusing, but the 1st chord is a second inversion e-minor (5th in the bass) with no root! Last chord is B7 (with no 3rd) leading into the final e-minor tonic. It's pretty straightforward when looking at functional harmony except the E-major chord in measure 5 (the dominant to a-minor).
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Steve Langham
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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby Steve Langham » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:37 am

Thanks for the response, however, I'm after a bit more explanation as to why it is what it is in bars 6 and 7 - you've told me the answer (Am6 for bar 6) without giving me any reasoning as to why this is an Am and not, as I had suggested an F# chord. This might well be obvious to you which is why you didn't say but it's not to me.
If I see the notes A, C, F# - why is it an Am with an F# (Am6) and why is it not as I described an inverted F# chord because F# - A is a minor third and F# to C is a diminished fifth - so why not this? If am analysing a piece in future, I'd like to understand why so I can get it next time.

For the bar 7, the final chord of the bar has notes A, B, F#. This is what I mean, my (probably simplistic) reading so far for reading triads has been that I expect a root, an interval of a third and an interval of a fifth yet this is not the case as there are the A and B notes which obviously don't fit this pattern so how do I interpret this A, B, F# triad?

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Tom Poore
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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby Tom Poore » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:41 am

Kjetil Heggelund has correctly answered your questions. But I’d like to follow up on something more. You wrote this:

chesl73 wrote:Given my recent understanding, the third is 3 semi tones so is a minor, the fifth is only 6 semi tones so is diminished. I'd therefore say it's actually a F#m diminished. This correct?

All diminished chords have a minor third. So no musician would refer to a “minor diminished” chord. We just call them diminished. (That’s assuming we’re not talking about diminished 7th chords, in which case there’s more to be said.) By the way, a stickler might identify the F# A C triad in measure 6 as an F# diminished, as you did. But in the context, it’s more common to call it an A minor chord with a sixth, as Kjetil Heggelund did.

He also pointed out that the chord on the first beat and a half in measure 7 is an E minor, sans the root. Correct again. I’ll merely add that it’s very common to leave notes out of a triad. In a garden variety major or minor chord, the fifth is a good note to omit, as it doesn’t define the chord in any way. Another good note to leave out is the root—that may seem surprising, but leaving this out also doesn’t omit anything important. Leaving out the third is the worst option, because now you can’t tell if the implied chord is major or minor. (Although the last chord in measure 7 does exactly that—it leaves out the third.) Bear in mind also that, in an ensemble piece, another instrument might have the triad note that’s omitted in your part.

Definitely keep at this. You already may have noticed that reading and memorizing music is easier when you know theory.

Edit:

Your second post came through at the same time I posted the above. So I’ll try to answer this:

For the bar 7, the final chord of the bar has notes A, B, F#. This is what I mean, my (probably simplistic) reading so far for reading triads has been that I expect a root, an interval of a third and an interval of a fifth yet this is not the case as there are the A and B notes which obviously don't fit this pattern so how do I interpret this A, B, F# triad?

As I pointed out above, strictly speaking, you’re correct. But musicians tend to be parsimonious in their analysis of chords. They don’t like to rename a chord when a new note appears briefly and then immediately disappears. Notice also that the A is doubled and is the lowest note, which reinforces the feel of an A minor chord.

Fair warning: As you get deeper into theory, you’ll find that some things can be analyzed in different ways, neither of them wrong.

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Steve Langham
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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby Steve Langham » Tue Sep 01, 2015 12:09 pm

Thanks Kjetil and Tom.

Clarifies things somewhat, regarding the 'stickler' bit, I see what you mean but it seems a bit hard for a beginner like myself to be anything other than a stickler as I'm applying the rules as I know them, the alternative analysis (Am6 in this case) seems very arbitrary. That's fine, part of my learning, I didn't realise there was this arbitrary/alternate analysis element to it.

I find it does help my memorisation of the piece and with sight reading a bit also so I'll keep at it.

Thanks for the info Tom about leaving out root notes or 5th notes but not 3rds typically, it's all news to me :?

EDIT: just started to read the 'Let's Analyse another piece post' and this talks about missing notes which is good timing so that's helped.

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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby khayes » Fri Sep 04, 2015 10:01 pm

Chesi - you mentioned bar 5 as Em. Check again, it's E major.
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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby Pat Hargan » Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:23 am

When analysing chords, we don't consider them only in isolation but within the harmonic progression of the piece. One reason that I would read the chord in bar 6 as A minor is because of the chord in bar 5 that precedes it: this is an E major chord with a minor seventh. Coming in the context of a piece in E minor, this chord raises the expectation that the next chord will be A minor, which is the iv chord of E minor, our home key. This is because E7 is the dominant seventh chord of Am (we would analyse it as V7/iv – the convention is to use lower-case Roman numerals for minor chords and upper-case for major).
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Mark Featherstone
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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby Mark Featherstone » Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:40 pm

Kjetil Heggelund wrote:Last chord is B7 (with no 3rd) leading into the final e-minor tonic.

I'm in the same boat as Steve -- just learning the basics of music theory and trying to apply them. I was appalled to see that I had a devil of a time analyzing "When the Saints Go Marching In" from my 6-year-old's piano book.

Could I just ask, isn't that last chord of the 7th measure a Bm7 rather than B7?

Thanks,
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tormodg
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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby tormodg » Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:18 pm

Mark Featherstone wrote:Could I just ask, isn't that last chord of the 7th measure a Bm7 rather than B7?


This piece seems to be in e harmonic minor. While there is on third in the chord in question, if you look at bars 2 and three the other similar chords have a D#. Thus a B7.
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Ray
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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby Ray » Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:59 am

tormodg wrote:
Mark Featherstone wrote:Could I just ask, isn't that last chord of the 7th measure a Bm7 rather than B7?


This piece seems to be in e harmonic minor. While there is on third in the chord in question, if you look at bars 2 and three the other similar chords have a D#. Thus a B7.


That's true about the other D#'s until now, but here in this measure without the D# it's not a full dominant 7th chord - if he wanted a full B7 he would have put the D# - right now you have two B's an octave apart and the 5th, F#, with an added A - I would say it's a

B5 add7

You can also call it a B7 (no third)


Ray

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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby tormodg » Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:12 am

Ray wrote:I would say it's a

B5 add7

You can also call it a B7 (no third)

Ray


The question was why it's not a minor chord.

I think you're making it too complicated. The context is clearly a V7-i motion, even without the third.
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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby Ray » Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:01 am

tormodg wrote:
Ray wrote:I would say it's a

B5 add7

You can also call it a B7 (no third)

Ray


The question was why it's not a minor chord.

I think you're making it too complicated. The context is clearly a V7-i motion, even without the third.


Theory is complicated as it is, might as well get it right! :D Oh it's definitely not a minor chord, it can't be because there's no D natural. I thought his question is why it wasn't a B minor 7 chord anyway - well depending on what your ear fills in to be the missing note it could be either a minor 7 chord or a dominant 7th but it's just ambiguous now without a 3rd.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree - yes it's a V-i motion, but without the D# you don't have a dominant 7th chord. In fact I'm surprised Sagreras didn't put a D# in there underneath the A in that chord, he would have had a beautiful leading tone movement to the following E minor chord.

I think it's possibly a misprint or he just wanted the chord without the D# - it's a bit of a hollow sound without it because the 3rd gives the chord it's quality and color, major or minor - without it the ear just hears a fifth interval and the added A.

I guess when I analyze I like to be very clear as to exactly what the ear is hearing at any given moment in the piece, yes in a basic way it's a V7 -i motion, but the ear isn't hearing the entire B dominant 7th chord so there's a rather dry sound to that chord without it. It might be intentional or it might not...

Ray
Last edited by Ray on Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby John Stone » Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:16 am

A D# in that penultimate chord would have cluttered the nice 4-part voice-leading in those final bars. I suspect that's why he left it out.

But I think the D# is clearly implied to the ear in the musical context. You can test this: add a D# and it sounds OK. Add a D natural and it would sound a bit wrong.

The reality is that some moments in music simply don't fit neatly into block-like chord terminology like "B7" or "major" and "minor." That kind of harmonic concept doesn't always fit. You can't use a hammer for everything.
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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby Ray » Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:29 am

John Stone wrote:A D# in that penultimate chord would have cluttered the nice 4-part voice-leading in those final bars. I suspect that's why he left it out.

But I think the D# is clearly implied to the ear in the musical context. You can test this: add a D# and it sounds OK. Add a D natural and it would sound a bit wrong.

The reality is that some moments in music simply don't fit neatly into block-like chord terminology like "B7" or "major" and "minor." That kind of harmonic concept doesn't always fit. You can't use a hammer for everything.


You're right John the D# is definitely implied and it's the note your ear fills in because it's appeared before in the piece. Still I miss it in this instance because Sagreras still could have used it with the 4 part voice-leading by leaving out the B (3rd line) and putting the D# instead.

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Re: What chord is this? Sagreras Book 1 Lesson 70

Postby John Stone » Sun Sep 20, 2015 5:38 am

Ray wrote:You're right John the D# is definitely implied and it's the note your ear fills in because it's appeared before in the piece. Still I miss it in this instance because Sagreras still could have used it with the 4 part voice-leading by leaving out the B (3rd line) and putting the D# instead.


He certainly could have left off that B. But then his alto voice (2nd from top) sort of disappears. I suspect he wanted to sustain that voice with the continuity of the B.
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