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Chord formation; types of chords; chord extensions; triads; clusters; chord by fourths; chords by seconds

chord transformations

Chord Transformations

     Chord transformations occur when a chord voicing is altered and transforms that chord into a different one. For example, if you have a C major chord and the move the tonic half-step down, you will get the inverted Em chord… Read More »Chord Transformations

block chords motion

How to Use Block Chords in Your Music

     Another good way of thickening the melodic line, or to create a harmonic melody, is to use block chords. These are usually played in rhythmic unison with the melody, or very close to it. The name of this harmonic device… Read More »How to Use Block Chords in Your Music

augmented sixth chords

Augmented Sixth Chords

     These chords either lead to or act like secondary dominant chords that, in effect, resolve to the dominant chord before the tonicized chord (*see note). For that reason, they are also referred to as pre-dominant chords.      If we consider the… Read More »Augmented Sixth Chords

polychords and the harmonic series

Polychords and the Harmonic Series

     Polychords may be built with materials from different tonalities, modes, synthetic scales, etc; and then such materials are explored according to musical context and intentions of the composer. But the provenance of materials for polychordal and polyharmonic technique is not… Read More »Polychords and the Harmonic Series

how to build polychords


     A polychord consists of two or more chords played together and such chords may be originated from the same or different tonalities – usually the latter is applied. Generally, the used chord in the polychord structures must be perceived independently,… Read More »Polychords

quartal chords - chords by fourths

Chords by Fourths and Fifths

     Also referred to as quartal or quintal harmony when the chords are built by stacking fourths or fifths, respectively. These chords don’t need to have these intervals exclusively, as long as fourths or fifths predominate, they are still considered as… Read More »Chords by Fourths and Fifths

matching scales to chords

Matching Scales to Chords

     Chords are made from scale materials or pitch sets, meaning that any scale that contains the notes of a particular chord that is being used is a potential candidate to be used over it. But something to always be… Read More »Matching Scales to Chords

chord formation - triads and tetrads

Chord Formations – Triads and Tetrads

Chords by Thirds      The first chord constructions we will be looking at are the chords stacked by thirds. These chord formations must be one of the most commonly used and, in their simplest form, they are called triads. A triad… Read More »Chord Formations – Triads and Tetrads

neapolitan chords

Neapolitan Chords

 A Neapolitan chord is a major chord built on the flattened second scale degree (the super-tonic) of a major or minor scale. For example, the Neapolitan chord in the key of C major, or minor, would be a Db major chord. These chords often resolve… Read More »Neapolitan Chords