Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: Alternate chord name question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    New England, USA
    Posts
    3,876

    Default Alternate chord name question

    I don't know much about music theory, but have a question about chord naming. I've read that chords can sometimes be called by different names, depending on the context they are being played in.

    In this particular case, the song is "I Can't Get It Out of My Head", by ELO. I'm playing it in F.

    The chorus (Can't get it out of my head..." goes F C Bb C, repeated 4 times.

    A couple of times, after this chorus, there is another section, maybe considered a chorus extension, with what sounds like a descending series of chords: F Am F7 Bb C, repeated twice, before going back to a verse

    That Am chord, formed by lifting the pointer finger off the E string 1st fret, is there a different name for it in this context, or is it just a plain old Am?

    Maybe I'm making too much of this, but in this context, it just sounds different to my ear.
    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Posts
    55

    Default

    I am also not technically literate, but have figured out (for substitution purposes) that all minor chords have an equivalent Major 7th chord.

    An example: Am = FM7 (F Major 7)
    Vice versa: FM7 = Am

    -Wiggy

    <equivalents> [def: equal in value, amount, function, meaning, etc.]

    Cm AbM7

    C#m AM7

    Dm BbM7

    Ebm BM7

    Em CM7

    Fm C#M7

    F#m DM7

    Gm EbM7

    Abm EM7

    Am FM7

    Bbm F#M7

    Bm GM7
    Last edited by Wiggy; 09-11-2020 at 09:11 AM. Reason: clarity - definition of equivalent

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    West Midlands GB
    Posts
    2,357

    Default

    Am = CEA

    FM7 = AEFC

    I've heard it said that Am makes an effective substitute for FM7, but it just sounds wrong to me. The addition of that 'F' makes a huge difference.

    John Colter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,001

    Default

    In the progression Ukecaster gave us, I would say "F, FMa7, F7, Bb". Granted, the root is missing from the FMa7, but in that progression, it is used as an FMa7. Try playing your FMa7 as (2410) and see if it suits the progression. In either case we're hearing the descending line F, E, Eb, D on the 2nd and 3rd strings, but, depending on the melody line of the song, one might sound better than the other.

    In Jerry Jeff's song Mr.Bojangles, a guitar player might play C, C/B, C/A, C/G, F... Some will play an Am in place of the C/A.
    Since a ukulele player (ukuleleist?) doesn't have the bass notes available to a guitarist, it might be written C, CMa7, C6, C(0033), F.... (Once again, you could play Am in place of the C6.)

    There are a number of chords that have different names. Most folks call the standard tuning of the ukulele C6 tuning, but it could just as accurately be called Am7 tuning

    C6 - C,E,G,A
    Am7 - A,C,E,G
    Standard Uke tuning - G,C,E,A
    All have exactly the same notes, just a different order.
    Last edited by Jim Yates; 09-11-2020 at 06:14 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,001

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ukantor View Post
    Am = CEA

    FM7 = AEFC

    I've heard it said that Am makes an effective substitute for FM7, but it just sounds wrong to me. The addition of that 'F' makes a huge difference.

    John Colter
    Similar to the chord some folks call the Hawaiian D7, (2020) a D7 chord without a root. In many cases the F is filled in by the melody or another instrument, but 2410 isn't a big stretch if you need it. (No fifth)
    Last edited by Jim Yates; 09-11-2020 at 07:34 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    West Midlands GB
    Posts
    2,357

    Default

    I love the Major7 chords, no substitute sounds right to me. It's worth finding a way to play the full chord. I can't do FM7 - 2, 4, 1, 3 (gawd knows, I've tried) 5500 does it.

    John Colter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,001

    Default

    FMa7 - 5500 = CFEA

    I hadn't thought of that. Thanks John.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    New England, USA
    Posts
    3,876

    Default

    Thanks guys, good to know. The 5500 FM7 makes sense, although the simple Am shape sounds OK too, and is easier to use in this instance.
    John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,961

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ukantor View Post
    I love the Major7 chords, no substitute sounds right to me. It's worth finding a way to play the full chord. I can't do FM7 - 2, 4, 1, 3 (gawd knows, I've tried) 5500 does it.

    John Colter
    That fingering is a good one

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota
    Posts
    2,402

    Default

    The 5557 works well, too (Just a CM7 up 5 half steps).

    John, I'm not fully sure how to respond to your question, and I've had a lot of theory (I hold a PhD in music).

    There are two things at play:

    1) What chord you're playing on your ukulele

    2) What the song actually does

    As I make the ukulele play alongs, much of the music is pop music, and without being snobby about it, it's pretty straightforward and non-complex. But that's why pop music is so popular--we understand it, it moves us, and we can understand it. And with some musical experience, we can even play it.

    Now, are there more complex and "heady' pop songs? Sure. But they generally don't hit the Top 40, and they don't make as much money.

    Other genres (including jazz) tend to be more complex, harder to process, and require a greater variety of chords than the "easily consumable" pop music.

    [At this point, if I sound like I am being negative about pop, I'm not at all, but we're talking theory]

    When it comes to music, we have an existing syntax of musical language where, in a key, certain chords function in specific ways. And the syntax is so built into what we hear (even if we don't know theory) that if a song doesn't follow those conventions, it is shocking to us.

    You mentioned this progression: F Am F7 Bb C

    In the key of F, the chord functions are: 1 (I/tonic) F, Am (iii/mediant), F7 (V7/IV-dominant 7th of the subdominant), Bb (IV/subdominant), and C (dominant).

    Chords generally flow in this structure: iii -> VI -> IV or ii = > V(7) or vii -> I

    Your chord progression follows this, skipping the submediant (vi) or dm chord, but instead shifts over to borrow a chord from the key of Bb (the V7 of Bb, or the F7), and then jumps back to the sequence. I'd be very surprised if a C7 didn't work well at the end of the progression instead of a C, as the C7 would lead more fully back home to the F chord.

    So, the Am makes sense from a theory point of view.

    One of the great things about the ukulele is that chords are much simplified with a maximum possibility of 4 notes. In music, we spend a lot of time with triads, where there are three chord tones...and then for voice (four parts) we double one of the notes. There are rules about voice leading and so on, but that's the basic idea.

    Then we add seventh chords (minor, major, half-diminished, and fully diminished) which serve other roles.

    It's only when we start going beyond the four note chords to 9th, 11th, 13th, etc. that the ukulele has to make substitutions.

    One of the things that players do, and this is mentioned above, is that they play PARTS of other chords (that might have 5 notes or 8 notes) by playing notes contained in that chord, but not the whole chord.

    A simplified example of this is the Hawaiian D7 2020 (ACF#A), but we call it D7 most of the time, as the D is covered by the voice or the bass (if you have one). Realistically, if you want a D7, you would play 2223 (ADF#C), but we're not too picky about it.

    And then the other aspect of music that (intentionally) forget with ukulele is the idea of chord inversions...which note of the chord sounds the lowest when played. In traditional music, the lowest sounding note impacts how the chord should be used. A C chord (CEG) where the C is the lowest sounding note is used differently in a harmonic progression than a C chord where the E is the lowest sounding note. Ultimately, a chord in "root position" where the lowest sounding note is the name of the chord (e.g. C on a Chord) is the most stable...and even more so when the highest sounding note is a C as well.

    Want to know why the C chord sounds so good on reentrant ukulele? The C is the lowest sounding note, and the C is the highest sounding note, all at the same time. (0003 GCEC)

    Theory is pretty fun--but most people know what music is supposed to do, even if they cannot do it themselves, because we are surrounded by this music syntax before birth.

    I know that went on too long, and I'm sorry, I was just enjoying thinking about it. As I teach elementary school (ages 4-11) I don't get many opportunities to stretch all that learning that I did in the past!
    Last edited by Choirguy; 09-12-2020 at 07:30 AM.
    My ukulele blog: http://ukestuff.info

    My ukulele YouTube channels:

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •