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hotnanas
03-04-2008, 06:35 AM
In my quest at ever-improving my roughly 3 months of uke playing, I created a diagram of notes on along the fretboard. Now looking at this, I began to wonder, how do chords work?

For instance, is the C-major is a combination of G, C, E, and C notes? and if so what makes it a C major?

Or the G-major, is this a combo of G, D, G, B notes, and how does this produce a G major sound?

Please someone guide me in my journey towards ukulele freedom!

http://i221.photobucket.com/albums/dd45/hotnanas/Uke/Uke.jpg

Woodshed
03-04-2008, 06:50 AM
You're absolutely right, the notes C, E and G make up a C chord however you play them.

For any major chord, you start with note that's the name of the chord. Let's say G.

For the next note, you move up four frets. Four frets up from G is B.

For the last note, you move up seven frets from the original note. Seven frets up from G is D.

So a G chord is made of G, B and D. It doesn't matter which order you play the notes in. It'll always be a G chord. The same is true for all the major chords.

I hope that made sense.

koa
03-04-2008, 07:10 AM
Disclaimer: Last formal music training was 4 decades ago in primary and middle school. Mother is a keyboard major who passed more knowledge than I realized down over our lifetime.

Basically chords are two or more intervals together. Intervals are the spaces or steps between notes. Five types(I think): Major, minor, perfect, diminished and augmented. 3 note chord make a triad. Major,minor, augmented and diminished chords. The chord is named after their root position. Example is C major chord C,E,G notes. Major chord because it's a perfect 5th (C to E major 3rd, E to G minor 3rd=perfect 5th). Called a C chord because the lowest note (root note) is a C.

Freted instruments. Every fret is a 1/2 step. 3rd is the distance between two notes with one in the middle. Such as C to E. Therefore on the uke it is four frets or two whole steps for a major 3rd and three frets or 1.5 steps on a minor 3rd.

All this gives me a headache and induces paralysis by analysis. Doesn't really help my ability as a player. More academic.

I do use the the Circle of 5ths. Nice way to practice chord progressions. Just diagram a Circle of 5ths and start playing. Once you figure out what finger (note) is your root note for a specific chord form you then know what chord you are playing without really knowing what other notes your fingers are on. Example C major chord again. 0003 Root note your ringfinger on C note A string. Barre 2nd fret, pinky on 5th fret, A string (D note) 2225, therefore D major. Barre 4th fret, pinky on 7th fret, A string (E note) 4447, E major.

hotnanas
03-04-2008, 07:23 AM
ok, this got way too musically intellectual for me really quickly! Reading and trying to understand these last two posts were more draining than my engineering school! I'm trying to figure them out.

One day, I guess I will fully understand. Keep these responces coming! Every night when my girlfriend asks what I'm doing when I am playing the uke, I tell her, "I'm at The University right now".

Maybe I should find a music school to help mold me, instead of trying to teach myself and learning online.

hotnanas
03-04-2008, 08:15 AM
You're absolutely right, the notes C, E and G make up a C chord however you play them.

For any major chord, you start with note that's the name of the chord. Let's say G.

For the next note, you move up four frets. Four frets up from G is B.

For the last note, you move up seven frets from the original note. Seven frets up from G is D.

So a G chord is made of G, B and D. It doesn't matter which order you play the notes in. It'll always be a G chord. The same is true for all the major chords.

I hope that made sense.
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif I've got this one down! Thanks!:D

dajoka
03-04-2008, 09:36 AM
i learned a lot about how chords work on da ukulele - not to mention how to fret any mejor, minor, and 7th chord - from da book fretboard roadmaps fo da ukulele. i know couple odda people wen try um out ... i'm interested in hearing how dey like it.

i've been playing music fo long time, in wind and marching bands, so acoustic stuff is pretty new to me too. you can try find da book ontop amazon o someting liddat.

At least fo me, get waaaay too much info in dea fo me fo absorb right away. i still trying fo absorb some stuffs :-) have fun!

Ian Boys
03-04-2008, 11:56 AM
I guess the easiest way to explain the basic major triad chord is this:


Pick a note, any note.

Let's pick 'G'

Now, you count up four half steps, or a major third, from this note.

G.... G#.... A... Bb... B
.......1.......2.....3.....4

Then, you take three half steps up from the new note, which makes as a major fifth from the first note.
B.... C.... C#.... D (which is the same as G... G#... A... Bb... B... C... C#... D)
.......1.....2.......3

The resulting 'G Major' triad is GBD. Whenever you play these three notes, you are playing a G Major

chord.

Things become a little more fun when you start on a sharp.

Let's start with a C#.

You get the major third....

C#.... D.... Eb.... E.... F

And the Major fifth.....

F.... F#.... G.... G#...


And you now have a C# major triad: C# F G#



For a Minor chord, you take the following....

The Root Note, a Minor 3rd, and a 5th

You already know how to get a 5th above the root, so let's work with the Minor 3rd.

A minor third is simply the note three half steps above the root note.


To demonstrate, let's construct an A Minor chord.

A is our root note.

To find the minor 3rd.....

A... Bb.... B.... C
......1......2.....3


And then we must be careful that when constructing the fifth, we base it off of the root note, not the

minor third, as that wold yeild a minor 5th.

A.... Bb.... B.... C... C#... D..... D#... E
.......1.......2.....3....4......5......6......7

So an A minor chord is A C E



Now take a breath, because things are about to get a bit more interesting.



To take things a step further, We'll construct an Augmented Chord (Aug.)

An augmented chord consists of the Root, a Major 3rd, and an Augmented 5th, which is the same as a Major

fifth except you go one half step higher (8 half steps from the root note, as opposed to 7)

An F Aug. chord would be constructed as follows...

F is our root note

The major third...

F... F#... G... G#... A


and an Augmented 5th

F... F#... G... G#... A... Bb... B... C... C#
.....1.......2.....3.....4.....5.....6....7....8


The resulting triad of an Augmented F chord is F A C#



Now, to wrap things up, I'll explain how to construct a diminished (Dim.) chord.


A diminished chord is constructed by taking the root note, its minor third, and a diminished 5th, which

is a major 5th lowered by one half step (6 half steps above the root note, as opposed to 7).


Let's make a D diminished chord.


D is our root note.

We construct the minor third for the root.

D... Eb... E... F
......1.....2....3

And we construct the diminished 5th

D... Eb... E... F... F#... G... G#
.......1....2....3.....4.....5.....6


The resulting triad is D F G#, D Diminished.



And that pretty much sums up the basics of chord construction.


Edit:

That is the longest post I have ever made on a forum... just took me about half an hour to type up. I think I have my blog's post ready for tonight....

hotnanas
03-04-2008, 02:11 PM
awesome! I really appreciate that post...it kinda reitterates and then goes a bit further than the wood's reply. Thanks!

UU is my University of Music!

Ian Boys
03-04-2008, 02:55 PM
Thanks. Glad I could be of help.

And another quick thing: if you see someting like 'C7', the 7 means that the chord is a C Major chord with an additional note that is a 7th above C added to the triad (in this case, a B). So C7 has the notes CEGB. C6 would have a 6th above, etc.

studentaccount1
03-04-2008, 04:52 PM
F.... F#.... G.... G#...


And you now have a C# major triad: C# F G

in re: to that bit, you are right, but technically, you would notate it (as in standard notation) as E#. because the key signature for C# would already have an F# in it. In that key B would also be sharp.

This is also why you would more likely see Db in written sheet music as a key signature rather than C#; easier to have 5 flat (b) signs than 7 sharp ones (#).

Here is an article that explains it more thoroughly than I can at the moment:
http://jmdl.com/howard/music/keys_scales.html

It does simplify things too. For example:

All "C" triads will have a C note, an E note, and a G note of some type:
C major = C E G
C minor = C Eb G
C augmented = C E G#
C diminished = C Eb Gb

All "G" triads will have a G note , a B note, and a D note of some type:
G major = G B D
G minor = G Bb D
G augmented = G B D#
G diminished = G Bb Db

All "C#" triads will have a C# note , a E# note, and a G# note of some type:
C# major = C# E# G#
C# minor = C# E (E#b*) G#
C# augmented = C# E# G##
C# diminished = C# E (E#b*) G (G#b*)

All "D" triads will have a D note, a F# note and an A note note of some type:
D major = D F# A
D minor = D F (F#b*) A
D Augmented = D F# A#
D Diminished = D F (F#b*) Ab

Notice that the note name doesn't change, just the accidental markings (# or b) do.

*these are just the functional representation for the enharmonic note.

Like i said, it isn't that big of a deal, just a tiny different way of thinking about what is essentially the same note and function that follows the convention of music theory.

If anyone has read this far into the post, thank you :P.

****************************
oh in re to this:

And another quick thing: if you see someting like 'C7', the 7 means that the chord is a C Major chord with an additional note that is a 7th above C added to the triad (in this case, a B). So C7 has the notes CEGB. C6 would have a 6th above, etc.:

You are right again that 7th notes adds an extra note corresponding to the number in the scale. (ie a 7th chord adds a note a 7th above the root to a triad)

One of the strange things in making chords though is here. A C7 is assumed to be a dominant 7th chord which has a b7. It is spelled out:

C E G Bb, which I am sure we have all played:


A|--1-- <-Bb note
E|----- <-E note
C|----- <-C note
G|----- <-G note

A major 7th chord has a natural 7th above root, so it would be spelled:
C E G B

and played:


A|--2-- <-B note
E|----- <-E note
C|----- <-C note
G|----- <-G note

here are all the 7th chords in the key of C:
CMaj7 - C E G B
C7 (dominant 7th) - C E G Bb
Cmin7 - C Eb G Bb
Cdim7 - C Eb Gb Bbb(A*)

*enharmonic note

Again, you're on the right track though :)

Ian Boys
03-04-2008, 04:59 PM
I understand where you're coming from completely. And thank you for correcting me.

However, for the porpose in this topic, I think the notes may have been better left somewhat 'improperly' but, more similar and familiar to people who have not dealt with key signatures much before.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to be defensive or say that teh way I demonstrated it was any better, but I just thought that if someone who had little formal music background came across 'E#'.

And as far as the part pertaining to '7ths', thank you for adding your more in depth description of it, as mine was lacking (I'd just added it as a little final touch... obviously didn't put enough thought into it).

Thanks again.

crookshankz
03-05-2008, 04:10 AM
Great info, thanks guys!

WS64
03-08-2008, 10:26 PM
For any major chord, you start with note that's the name of the chord. Let's say G.

For the next note, you move up four frets. Four frets up from G is B.

For the last note, you move up seven frets from the original note. Seven frets up from G is D.

So a G chord is made of G, B and D. It doesn't matter which order you play the notes in. It'll always be a G chord. The same is true for all the major chords.


But you have to emphasize the word 'a' in 'always be a G chord'. Although I agree that it really is not import for ukulele you should not completely ignore chord inversions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inversion_%28music%29).

Anyway, for my chordfinders and the tab tranposer I use lists like this here to determine the notes of a chord:
C: 1 5 8
C6: 1 5 8 10
C7: 1 5 8 11
Cmaj7: 1 5 8 12
C9: 1 5 8 11 15
Cm: 1 4 8
Cm6: 1 4 8 10
Cm7: 1 4 8 11
Cmmaj7: 1 4 8 12
Cm9: 1 4 8 11 15
Cdim: 1 4 7
Caug: 1 5 9
Csus: 1 6 8
Cadd9: 1 5 8 15
C11: 1 5 8 11 15 18
C13: 1 5 8 11 15 18 22
C6add9: 1 5 8 10 15
C-5: 1 5 7
C7-5: 1 5 7 11
C7maj5: 1 5 9 11
C7sus4: 1 6 8 11
Cmaj9: 1 5 8 12 15

This should help to at least find all notes of a chord, and with your graphic of the ukulele neck you "just" have to find out where to put your fingers on the neck. Well, that and which notes you should omit if a chord has more than 4 notes.

michaelphipps
03-09-2008, 09:24 PM
Which notes do you drop out in chords that have more notes when you only have 4 strings. I know that the 5th is usually a safe note to drop out, but are there any rules?

I'm looking for rules - not "just what sounds good"

:D

studentaccount1
03-09-2008, 11:37 PM
Which notes do you drop out in chords that have more notes when you only have 4 strings. I know that the 5th is usually a safe note to drop out, but are there any rules?

I'm looking for rules - not "just what sounds good"

:D

I don't think there is a hard and fast rule.

The jazz/contemporary harmony theory for comping behind someone is that you can safely drop the root and/or the 5th so long as it is not the altered tone(like in a diminished or augmented chord) because the 3rd, 7th, and all the other extensions make a greater impact on the overall sound.

I think on the uke it is more of a question of which notes to keep in. Usually the extensions in 7th/9th/11th/13th/alt chords (notes outside the 1,3,5 triad) relate to the melody of the song in some way. (i.e. if someone uses Gadd9 in a song, I'd look at the context and see if the 9th (the A note) was in the melody and listen to how it sounds when I omit other notes, etc.) {is that the long way of saying "just what sounds good" or what?}

WS64
03-10-2008, 12:51 AM
Which notes do you drop out in chords that have more notes when you only have 4 strings. I know that the 5th is usually a safe note to drop out, but are there any rules?

My rules are...
I want the 1 and the 3. (But even with the 1 I know people who say this is not important).
And then I want the "highest" ones.

A C13 is for sure not a C13 if the 13 is not part of the chord.

Now you have 3 notes.

The question is which to choose for the last string, I guess it is save to forget about the 5, but there are still 7, 9, 11 to choose from. My advice is to take the one which makes the chord the easiest to get.

I think all notes that are part of the chord name must be included, like C6add9 really need both 6 and 9 (plus 1 and 3, that's it).

Actually I do not always follow my own rules.
For example C11.
You need C E G Bb D F
When I first discovered this chord (as a keyboarder) I made an easy decision: THis chord is Bb/C. Very easy to remember. For ukulele (where /C does not really make sense) you can make it even easier... A chord with the notes C Bb D F already exists, it is Bb2 (or Bbadd9).
So you will get the same chord picture at my tab transposer for C11 and Bb2. (an even easier example for this of course is Am7 and C6)

guitarguy159
03-21-2008, 11:32 PM
woah music theory

this chart should make it easier
this is what helped me

so what a major chords is pretty much the
base note, 3rd, 5th and one repeated note

(example 1) C major
chart!!!
c | d | e | f | g | A | B | C
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8


Base note, 3rd and 5th are respectively
c, e, g

and so the one repeated note is the C on the third since the c, e, and g are open strings

(Example 2) F major
f | g| A | B | C | D | E | F
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

1, 3, 5 & repeated note
f, a, c & usualy a

hope this helped

jjsdad
03-22-2008, 08:51 PM
I just started reading this thread and it's all very interesting. I've been playing piano and jazz piano for many years and understand all the theory. When I see a chord on the piano that I don't know, say, DbMaj7, I can picture the keyboard and say to myself, Db, F, Ab, C. However, on the ukulele, I can't picture these notes on the fretboard and have to really struggle to figure it out.

Does anyone have a system for figuring out chords on the ukulele? One thing I've tried is to just transpose from a chord that I already know. So, for the DbMaj7, I just realized that it's one-fret (a half-step) above CMaj7. I play CMaj7 as 0002. So, DbMaj7 must be 1113. This method has helped me for some chords such as B (one fret above Bb) and Ab (one fret above G). Hm.. I also just realized that A is 2 frets above G. :)

Is there a way to visualize a chord on the fretboard the way I can visualize the keyboard of a piano? (Unfortunately, it took me many years to get to that stage on the piano.)

NukeDOC
03-22-2008, 09:13 PM
man, i was gonna try to stay outa this one as long as i could. there are so many ways to trying to understand chords. chords are such a powerful tool in music. if you understand them it just makes things so much easier to learn.

i, too, started on piano. self taught. through books. i got the info i needed and then started to make sense of it on my own. and this is the way i see it:

on a keyboard you have an octave that consists of 12 semi-tones. just like how your fretboard has 12 frets before youre back at the same note of the open string, just one octave up. so lets look at it from the C note.

(C) (C#/Db) (D) (D#/Eb) (E) (F) (F#/Gb) (G) (G#/Ab) (A) (A#/Bb) (B) and then youre back to C. so thats 12 semi-tones in the octave.

to make a major chord (annotated usually by just the letter), you take the root note (the note the chord is named for), add the 4th note from that, and then the 7th note from the root. or i just like to say, root, +4, +3. so for a Cmaj (or just C) you have the notes C E G. make it harder... an Emaj is E Ab B. and so on.

to make a minor chord, you take the middle note of the major chord and you drop it down one semi-tone. so it will be root +3 +4. so a Cm would be C Eb G. etc etc

so how does this translate into the uke? well we all should pretty much know how to tune our ukes. so we know that we have GCEA strings. to play a chord on the uke, you have to make sure that all of those strings are playing one of the notes in the chord you are trying to play. so start with an easy one. Cmaj. CEG right? ok so top string is G... so no need to alter it. leave it open. next string is C. same thing leave it alone. next string is E. again, already part of the Cmaj chord. now the bottom string is an A. so we need to change this so that it is either a C E or G. so sing the abc's till you reach one of those notes, starting with A. the next note is C. so we know that the C is 3 semi-tones up from A. which means you need to depress the third fret on the A string to make it a C note. now strum. and you have a C.

ok im outa breath. hahaha theres so much more to this. but as you can see the simplest explanation took this much to explain.

Ornament_no_more
03-24-2008, 07:52 AM
Hi folks, This thread has been extremely useful and most appreciated and all of a sudden everything makes sense...........well almost everything. I haven't quite understood how the '7s' work. When you say 7 steps up from the root as in your example above, e.g Cmaj7, having CEG and B to make it the 7, how do you work that out? If it's 7 steps up from C then it's G so I must be doing something wrong. I notice that 7 steps up from E is B though but then E isn't the root. I'd be very grateful if you could help me out on this.
Thanks Heap

Ornament_no_more
03-24-2008, 07:59 AM
Sorry, my previous message was for studentaccount1 and in relation to his posting on page 1. Bear with me i'm still getting the hang of this - I'm a newbie!!

studentaccount1
03-24-2008, 08:36 AM
Hi folks, This thread has been extremely useful and most appreciated and all of a sudden everything makes sense...........well almost everything. I haven't quite understood how the '7s' work. When you say 7 steps up from the root as in your example above, e.g Cmaj7, having CEG and B to make it the 7, how do you work that out? If it's 7 steps up from C then it's G so I must be doing something wrong. I notice that 7 steps up from E is B though but then E isn't the root. I'd be very grateful if you could help me out on this.
Thanks Heap

In a major scale there are 7 distinct tones before returning to the root note where you began (in this case C):


C D E F G A B (and then C again)

these are often labelled as:


C D E F G A B
ROOT 2ND 3RD 4TH 5TH 6TH 7TH


Any "seventh chord" is basically a triad, in this case the notes CEG which are the 1st, 3rd, and 5th, with the 7th note "added". in this case it is the CMaj7th chord. The 7th is the 7th note in the scale, int his case the B note. (which is different than saying it is 7 semi-tones/frets away from root.)

It can be a bit confusing, but there is a lot of good info on just about every music forum and even wikipedia. The best thing to do to learn these things better is A) find a teacher and B) read a lot.

___________________

for bonus if you got all that up there and are wondering why the dominant 7th (which in shorthand is labelled just C7 in the key of C) has a flatted 7th here is a similar explanation. It will also probably help to understand modes too. Here you go:

the C mixolydian mode is used to create the C7 (C dominant 7) chord:


C D E F G A Bb C


C mixolydian is the 5th mode based on the F major scale.

F major scale:


F G A Bb C D E F
Root 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th Root

F Major: F G A Bb C D E F ---------
C mixolydian: ----- C D E F G A Bb C



So if we took the triad (1 3 5 - C E G notes) and added the 7th (Bb) we have the C7 chord (C E G Bb)



C D E F G A Bb
1 2 3 4 5 6 7


And since C7 commonly precedes an F chord, it kind of makes sense, right?

Ian Boys
03-24-2008, 06:04 PM
Just to let you all know... I've been doing a music theory series over at my blog at http://www.ukethingy.co.nr/ ...some of what I've written up there will possibly be of help to any of you who are not getting this or want to expand your knowledge of music theory further (I've done lessons beyond chords.... key signatures, basic progressions, etc.).

easco
11-16-2009, 06:59 AM
I really was confused about how to determine what notes go into a chord until I found some videos on YouTube that really helped me. These videos are tapings of someone teaching chords on a piano keyboard (actually an Organ), but having some familiarity with keyboarded instruments I found them easy to abstract to the Ukulele (YMMV).

The two videos are:

How to easily determine the notes to any chord: Part 1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irfDExaNhck)

Determining the notes in chords: part 2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pfjg0CzZ3aw)

Determining the notes in chords: part 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EeammcVGds)

Determining the Notes in Chords: part 4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbEE3_yybqo)

If you visit the channel of the person who posted the video, you will find many, many more videos that cover topics such as the Circle of Fifths, developing Intros and Endings to songs and many similar topics. Each video has varying applicability to the Ukulele, but I found them to be a fascinating introduction to music theory, presented in a practical way.

Harold O.
11-17-2009, 06:20 AM
:eek:YIKES:eek:

I'll look it up on a chord chart and remember from there.

I appreciate this discussion and the knowledge y'all have on display. But sometimes you just need a hammer. The physics of it don't matter.

Of course, the gist of this thread is "how do I..." so I should just get back to work and be quiet.;)

ukecantdothat
11-18-2009, 06:37 AM
Wow! All this in two octaves! That's where the "cheating" becomes so much fun. You can't always be making full chordal triads, so a lot of roots are implied on the uke by the structure on top, especially if you're playing with a bass player who can hold the root down. You'll notice that when these triads are stacked on top of each other, you get all these 7ths 9ths 11ths & 13ths, named after its place on the scale, perched on top. A lot of the jazzier chords are really just built on the top half of these stacks, usually including at least the 7th. A lot of soloing can be done on this area of a scale, and you're never really a half step away from the right note!

This is why guitar players, like myself, discover quickly how to solo on ukes, because you just think, "Oh those strings are just the high strings on my guitar, where I do most of my soloing anyway..." and off you go (in search of chords). The uke's register makes it an ideal instrument to add these "blue notes" when playing with other instruments. So sometimes you see a chart or some tabs and think, "Why are they calling it that?" or "that can't be D7, where's the D?" and it may be they're basing it on a different triad on a different scale in some cases. So one player's Gm is another player's Dmaj7.

But remember - Chords are fun!