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Thread: Chord question, same note twice in the chord why?

  1. #1
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    Default Chord question, same note twice in the chord why?

    I know nothing about music theory, and I can't seem to figure this answer out on my own even with google. Chords are 3 or more notes played together. Why do some chords have the same note at different frets like the E chord (4,4,4,2) with the B note twice on the top and bottom string? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    On a stringed instrument, fretting is about eliminating all notes that don't belong into the required chord (while forming shapes that are manageable for your fingers). Since the G of an open fourth string is not part of the E chord, you need to bring it up to a note that fits into that chord - and that is reachable for your finger with all of the other strings you have to cover.

    With the typical reentrant tuning of an ukulele, this will mean that many notes are doubled, since you have that fourth string tuned right in between the second and first string: You'll have a doubled note in F (2-0-1-0), Am (2-0-0-0), A (2-1-0-0), D (2-2-2-0), G (0-2-3-2) and all barre variations of these shapes up the neck, e.g. in avariation of the C chord (5-4-3-3) or D chord (7-6-5-5).

    To me, those doubled notes are part of that typical ukulele sound you get from reentrant tuning, just like the mandolin sound comes from all strings doubled. If you use linear tuning (low G), it will set the notes further apart, and instead of a doubled note you'll have octaves, e.g. a low G and a high G in 0-2-3-2, or a low A and a high A in 2-1-0-0.

    Many chords can be variated or inversed to give them a different timbre or accentuate different notes. The E chord you mentioned can also be played with a barre of the easy C chord at the fourth fret (4-4-4-7), or a barre of the A chord at the seventh fret (9-8-7-7). Another way of hitting all the notes of an E chord is 1-4-0-2 but this way, you'll have the E note doubled instead of the B note. The E chord might be a bad example though, because - unlike on a guitar - E is among the hardest chords on the ukulele and dreaded by many players.
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  3. #3
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    The Ukulele has four strings.
    The most common chords have three notes.
    Some, like the chords called something with 7, has more notes, but the basic chords have three.

    If a chord has three notes, you can either play the same note on two of them, or only strum three of them when playing the chord.

    The first gives a nice ukulele sound and is easier when strumming. The latter is sometimes used in chord melody playing to emphasize a particular note.
    As Rakelele also wrote, there are several ways to play a chord on the ukulele. The one you mention is just the most common way to play it.
    Last edited by UkingViking; 12-29-2018 at 12:33 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by UkingViking View Post
    The Ukulele has four strings.
    The most common chords have three notes.
    Some, like the chords called something with 7, has more notes, but the basic chords have three.

    If a chord has three notes, you can either play the same note on two of them, or only strum three of them when playing the chord.

    The first gives a nice ukulele sound and is easier when strumming. The latter is sometimes used in chord melody playing to emphasize a particular note.
    As Rakelele also wrote, there are several ways to play a chord on the ukulele. The one you mention is just the most common way to play it.
    Good explanation.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

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  5. #5
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    Thank you everyone I appreciate the great information.

  6. #6
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    If you didn't include the fourth string in your chord, you would have to miss hitting one string when strumming, & it's easier to hit all four.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  7. #7
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    Ukulele is somewhat even more complicated than guitar regarding standard notation reading and chord fingerings. So I happily accept tabs for finger picked stuff, that I seldom play though. Less for melody of course, then I prefer standard notation.

    Sometimes you can makes things easier for yourself by leaving the extra note out like in the E chord 1x02 two finger one.

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    I hope I don't come across as if I'm trying to stir up a debate, but I have to confess, when I'm working out a song, I try to avoid having the same two notes in any chord, a good example being the "0232" version of the G chord. That chord in particular (with that fingering) always sounds just ever-so-slightly out of tune to my ear, with the inclusion of two separate identical-sounding notes (on the second and fourth strings). So I will most often opt for the "4230" version, which results in each note being different from the others. I guess my philosophy is that if we only have four strings to work with, let's maximize our efficiency by having our chords consist of four different notes, and avoid having the same note show up more than once in a given chord. I totally realize that there will be differing points of view on this!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Sheehan View Post
    I hope I don't come across as if I'm trying to stir up a debate, but I have to confess, when I'm working out a song, I try to avoid having the same two notes in any chord, a good example being the "0232" version of the G chord. That chord in particular (with that fingering) always sounds just ever-so-slightly out of tune to my ear, with the inclusion of two separate identical-sounding notes (on the second and fourth strings). So I will most often opt for the "4230" version, which results in each note being different from the others. I guess my philosophy is that if we only have four strings to work with, let's maximize our efficiency by having our chords consist of four different notes, and avoid having the same note show up more than once in a given chord. I totally realize that there will be differing points of view on this!
    Not something i consider when strumming, but with arpeggios/travis picking or what it is called, I sometimes try to avoid dublicating the same note. Not a rule to me though. But if the patterns suddenly gives the same note back to back I might change the way I play the chord.
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  10. #10
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    Good point, UV. I guess it all depends on the context...

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