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ukemunga
11-18-2011, 03:52 AM
I'm working on a "definitive" chord chart. In most chord diagrams I see the chords are NOT named with #s, F#7 is typically denoted as Gb7.

Yet in other charts, I'm looking at one right now that lists 11 chords in each of the keys, there are no flats shown... I'm seeing things like A#dim instead of Bbdim.

Is one correct and the other not? Or does it matter in what context they're being presented?

If I'm showing chord variations based on the root chord and using Gb and not F# in that context, should the same naming convention be used in a chart that shows the chords by key instead of root - or should the naming convention that shows the #s instead be used?

Does it even matter?

Thanks for any insight!

23skidoo
11-18-2011, 04:30 AM
Most chord charts I've seen usually name chords with flats (Db and not C#). For a reference, I don't think it really matters one way or the other - there may be some rule or convention, but there's no real difference. In a tune, the chord is going to be named relative to its harmonic function within the key - if the song is in B, you're going to see C# and not Db.

I started building my own chord chart for the guitar and gave up after awhile..... there are so many good charts out there (like the 150 page Mel Bay encyclopedia I kept referring to) that I sort of felt like I was reinventing the wheel. I decided that, for me, my time was better spent practicing.

I haven't seen a definitive online or printed chord chart for the uke, but Hippie Guy/Brad posted a link awhile back to something even better. Have you seen this? I think it's pretty cool and I wish I could find something this well done for guitar.....

http://ukulelehelper.com/

JamieFromOntario
11-18-2011, 04:35 AM
There are many ways to notate different chords. I would say that it is vital that chords like A#dim/Bbdim are notated correctly.
There are two reasons I can think of off-hand for this:

1) How you name a chord is very important when you are considering its place in amongst all the chords in a particular key. I find that I encounter this when I use online transposition tools to change chord names to another key. For example: i'm playing a song in C major but would like to go up a minor third so that I am playing in Eb major. The original song has the following chords:

C Am F G7

I put in "lower by 1 tone" into the transposition engine. Unfortunately, the chords are spit out as follows:

D# Cm G# A#7

There are several problems with this result. Firstly, there is no such key/key-signature/scale as D# major. Secondly, even if there were, the suite of chords which are given are very counter intuitive: Cm has flats in it - why would it be paired with chords that are full of sharps??? Lastly, just looking at the letter names makes me think that I am playing something like this (in Roman numerals): I - bVII - IV - V This is totally incorrect and misleading.

2) The second major problem is that having the 'wrong' chord (or a chord that is 'spelled' wrong) screws things up if you have learned or are learning about voice leading. In western harmony/voice-leading, certain notes from certain chords are 'meant' to resolve in a particular way to a particular note.
For example, looking back at my previous transposition example, we see that, after the transposition, we have a final chord of A#7. There are two pretty hard and fast rules about resolving a 7th (or dominant 7th) chord: the third of the chord must rise a semi-tone to the tonic note, and the 7th of the dominant 7th must fall a semi-tone to the third of the tonic chord. In the correctly transposed key of Ebmajor, your Bb7 to Eb resolution looks like this:

Bb7 chord Eb chord (chords are shown with the lowest note of the chord closest to the bottom of the page)

Ab - - (falls a semitone) - - G
F - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - G
D - - (rises a semitone) - - - Eb
Bb - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Bb


In the incorrectly transposed, non-existant key of D# major, you start to run into serious problem, and it sort of looks like this:

A7# chord D# chord

G# - (falls a semitone) - - - -Fx ('x' is a double sharp - you may see this is some works of classical music, particularly around key changes)
E# - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Fx
Cx - - (rises a semitone) - - -D#
A# - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - A#

As I mentioned, there is no such chord as A#7 or D# - and you can likely see why; nobody is going to play in keys with double sharps all over the place. It makes reading the music overly complicated and difficult.



I hope that what i've written here makes a little bit of sense... I know my theory somewhat, but I rarely teach it...

Plainsong
11-18-2011, 04:46 AM
Sure there's a D#Major scale! It sounds just like the key of Eb Major! ;)

Between the two, I'd rather see Eb, but that's how you know a piano player wrote it.

JamieFromOntario
11-18-2011, 04:49 AM
Hey plainsong!

What are the notes of a D# major scale?

Remember that every major or minor scale will have one of each letter of the musical alphabet (A, B, C...G)



How did you know that I'm a (crappy) piano player too??? ;)

SailingUke
11-18-2011, 04:50 AM
The Roy Sakuma book is one of the best sources for chords.
With all the condensed chord charts available as well many full books, taking the time to recreate another one seems wasted to me.
I would rather spend time learning chords on the ukulele and some chord theory.

Ken Middleton
11-18-2011, 04:51 AM
A very clear, detailed and correct answer, Jamie.

ukemunga
11-18-2011, 05:00 AM
The Roy Sakuma book is one of the best sources for chords.
With all the condensed chord charts available as well many full books, taking the time to recreate another one seems wasted to me.
I would rather spend time learning chords on the ukulele and some chord theory.

I understand your point but I was a complete and total newb about 6 months ago and the first thing I wanted was a convenient chord chart I could tote around with me. I'm sure most other newbies out there head straight to Google and do a search too. I'm going to offer the chart professionally printed on card stock, laminated and scored to fold to 8.5x11.

Cheap, easy to carry around, and hard to damage. I just want to be sure I don't have any mistakes on the final!

ukemunga
11-18-2011, 05:03 AM
I hope that what i've written here makes a little bit of sense... I know my theory somewhat, but I rarely teach it...

Jamie, thank you very much for your detailed response and the time it took you to put it together.

I wish I knew a lot more about music theory but I'm just strummin' and hopin' I'll learn more a little at a time.

23skidoo
11-18-2011, 05:19 AM
Hey plainsong!

What are the notes of a D# major scale?

Remember that every major or minor scale will have one of each letter of the musical alphabet (A, B, C...G)



How did you know that I'm a (crappy) piano player too??? ;)

D# E# Fx G# A# B# Cx D#..... not to be a smart a$$, but folks actually used to write in D#major, if they needed to. I think it's pretty archaic, but it's out there......

JamieFromOntario
11-18-2011, 05:44 AM
hey skidoo,

Don't worry about the smartass-ery; I was being a bit of one myself!

Since, i'm on the smartass question train, here's another one for you along the same lines:

What is the key signature of D# major, and can you notate it using any of the standard notation software (Finale, Sibelius)?



All smartass-ery (I just can't get enough of that made up word) aside, I do agree that they may be situations where a D# E# Fx G# A# B# Cx D# series of notes may appear in a piece of music, particularly if you were modulating from say Ebmajor to (the enharmonically equivalent) D#major to G#minor. As per my question above, I'm sure that there is music written in D# major (with a key signature). Really not trying to be an ass here, just my experience and opinion.

23skidoo
11-18-2011, 06:01 AM
I'll see your smartassery and raise you some dipshittery ;)..... yeah, I know it's ridiculous to notate D#major, but I know it's been done. A quick look at google was no help.... my high school band director was a real theory geek and loved to show us all the craziness that has (thankfully) been weeded out of notation over the centuries. I remember specifically some passages somewhere in some piece of music were in D# major - can't remember the specifics, it was twenty years ago..... now I've got to figure this out......

Plainsong
11-18-2011, 06:16 AM
I'll see your smartassery and raise you some dipshittery ;)..... yeah, I know it's ridiculous to notate D#major, but I know it's been done. A quick look at google was no help.... my high school band director was a real theory geek and loved to show us all the craziness that has (thankfully) been weeded out of notation over the centuries. I remember specifically some passages somewhere in some piece of music were in D# major - can't remember the specifics, it was twenty years ago..... now I've got to figure this out......

I don't have any notation software. In my day, we used staff paper, and we liked it!

I'm in the same boat. I know I've seen D#Major. And yeah it's as ridiculous as when you see Cbb, or Fbbbb, but it's out there, and there's always a good theory reason why the musicians who have to PLAY this have to put up with it. :)

It's been about 20 years since those required theory courses, but I know it's out there!


-----

To the original question, if you're just making a chord chart for yourself, I wouldn't worry about it. Some people prefer thinking in sharps and others prefer thinking in flats. With wind instruments, I prefer flats, but somehow with uke, I prefer sharps. Sonically, it doesn't make a difference. And me saying that will be like nails on a chalkboard for theory fans.

Ukulele JJ
11-18-2011, 05:06 PM
I don't think I've ever seen anything written in the key of D#. And (much to my surprise) when I tried to put that key signature in Sibelius... it wasn't even an option.

But there isn't anything stopping anyone from notating something in D#. The key theoretically exists. It's silly, but it exists. (For that matter, you could notate the same song in the key of Fbb. Don't know why you'd want to, but you could.)

(And yes, when I took notation class back in ye olden tymes, we used a pencil, staff paper, and a straight edge. None of this newfangled computer folderol!)

Now of course I have seen chords that were named D#something-or-other. But that's different.

JJ

Ken Middleton
11-18-2011, 08:30 PM
I don't think I've ever seen anything written in the key of D#. And (much to my surprise) when I tried to put that key signature in Sibelius... it wasn't even an option.

But there isn't anything stopping anyone from notating something in D#. The key theoretically exists. It's silly, but it exists. (For that matter, you could notate the same song in the key of Fbb. Don't know why you'd want to, but you could.)

(And yes, when I took notation class back in ye olden tymes, we used a pencil, staff paper, and a straight edge. None of this newfangled computer folderol!)

Now of course I have seen chords that were named D#something-or-other. But that's different.

JJ

You are right of course, JJ. The key theoretically exist. It is just that it is pointless. It would theoretically have 9 sharps in the key signature. In reality this would mean an Fx and a Cx (double sharps) and all the other notes sharpened. J S Bach wrote wrote his 48 Preludes and Fugue in all the major and minor keys twice (up to 7 sharps).

It would be much more sensible writing the music in Eb, for lots of reasons.

However, I can think of two reasons for thinking in terms of the key with more than 7 sharps:

1. If your key signature is C sharp major (7 sharps) and you wanted to modulate to the dominant key (G sharp major) or the major supertonic key (D sharp major). However, the notes would be written as accidentals, not as a key signature. You would still be in those keys though. Technically you can modulate to any key you like and you would normally stick to a sharp key if your key signature was sharps.

2. If you are notating the piece for a transposing instrument e.g. if your piece was in the key of F sharp major (6 sharps), a Bb trumpet part would be written in G sharp major and an alto sax part would be written in D sharp major. Personally though, I wouldn't write in a key with that many sharps if I were writing for transposing instruments. In this example, the key of Gb would be much more sensible.

That's my 3 pennyworth.

23skidoo
11-19-2011, 03:59 AM
I did do a little digging around last night and found a few things form the 17th & 18th century titled in D# major, like this (http://www.amazon.com/Krommer-F-Partitas-Major-Partita/dp/B0026EE6XA/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1321714330&sr=1-1). Listening to the samples and fiddling along with the piano, they are in fact in D#/Eb..... I found one or two charts free online and they are all notated in Eb..... I have a feeling they were written in D# and the modern printings have been 'transposed'.

Like I said upthread, my high school band director showed us weird little nuggets like this in a theory course..... he always he explained the 'logical' and compelling reason why the pieces were notated in the crazy key they were, but I have no idea now why..... thankfully, as Ken said, we've recognized that this stuff is pretty confusing and more trouble than it's worth......

Plainsong
11-19-2011, 10:11 AM
Other than the example Ken notes, where you modulate to D#Major but it's notated with accidentals, the only reason I can see to notate what could be Eb as D# would be if the composer hates us. Still though, it happened.