What different kinds of chords are there?


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What different kinds of chords are there?
There are a number of different chords, some having complicated names. As a starting point, think of a chord in it’s simplest form — a major chord. A major chord is built on the first, third, and fifth notes of its scale. In other words, a C Major scale contains the notes C, E, G. All chord names (with a few exceptions) are derived from the notes of it’s scale. For example, A C7 chord consists of the notes of C, E, G, and Bb (with Bb being the lowered seventh note of the C scale). Here are the versions of a C Major chord and the notes that appear in that chord:
C Major — C, E, G
C 7 — C, E, G, Bb
C Minor — C, Eb, G
C Minor 7 — C, Eb, G, Bb
C Sixth — C, E, G, A (A being the sixth note of a C scale)
Here are some other chord symbols (again using C as an example) with the notes in each:
C diminished – C, Eb, Gb
C augmented – C, E, and G#
C ninth – C, E, G, Bb, D
C major 7 – this chord contains the notes C, E, G and B (with B as the major 7th of the scale)
When chords are “inverted,” it means that the notes are rearranged in different combination. Whereas the notes C, E, and G are a major chord (C major), the notes can be inverted to E, G and C. For example, on the piano, the first key played would be an E, followed by the G and C. This particular inversion on guitar, would mean that the note E would be the first note (string) strummed. Inversions are used liberally and appear in almost every piece of music.
Knowing the notes of a particular chord allows the musician to play the same chord in a number of different “places” on an instrument. For example, a G chord can be played in various places “up and down” a piano, or at different places on the neck of a guitar. This is done by using inversions of the same chord (as explained above).
Chords are chosen for their effectiveness. In other words, a minor chord is sometimes used (even temporarily) to reflect the emotion of seriousness, somberness, or sadness, whereas a major chord reflects a “normal” feel. Diminished chords create tension, while major seventh chords are used when a sense of calm and beauty is needed.
Chord progressions are series of chords in a particular order. It can be said that virtually every piece of music contains a chord progression. In fact, a simple song of only two chords technically has a chord progression (between the two chords). Chord progressions provide the structure of a piece of music and have great influence on how the melody “feels” to the listener. For example, playing the same melody with (over) an A minor chord can give a differently feeling entirely than if played with a D chord. Again, in this case, chords are being used to create particular emotions within the music.

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