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SpondonBassed

How Many Notes Does it Take to Make a Chord?

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I bought a used bass the other day from a fellow member who had been interested in chordal work.

He had the bass strung for E to C tuning.  I revisited the idea of having a go at it again myself before I put a new set of B to G half rounds on it.  I haven't changed my mind.  I still think chords are the guitarist's job where there is one and keys if there is a keyboardist.  The most I need is a double stop every now and again or maybe a triple stop at Christmas.

My question is; Can you legitimately call a double stop a chord?  My assumption is that three notes are the minimum you need to make it a true chord.  I don't know where I got that idea from though.

 

Edited by SpondonBassed

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1 minute ago, Happy Jack said:

Sorry Chris, but Wikipaedia would beg to differ.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_(music)

As far as I'm concerned, a double-stop is a chord. It may be primitive, but it's still a chord.

Thanks Jack.

This is what it actually says;

'A chord, in music, is any harmonic set of pitches consisting of two or more (usually three or more) notes '

I am unusual enough so I'll go with the three note minimum.  I'd feel I was bragging if I called my clumsy double stops chords.

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I still call my clumsy plunking "playing" ...

:D

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2 notes might fit a theoretical definition but in practice how do you establish major or minor chords with just 2 notes?

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1 minute ago, Happy Jack said:

Well that's a whole nother thang, in't it?

A less worster kinda thang?

OFFICIAL just in:
'Everythang is everythang'  Lauryn Hill

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8 minutes ago, chris_b said:

2 notes might fit a theoretical definition but in practice how do you establish major or minor chords with just 2 notes?

Yes.
It could be root & 3rd, but if there's another musician in the band, even a singer, then they're going to complete the chord.

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8 minutes ago, chris_b said:

2 notes might fit a theoretical definition but in practice how do you establish major or minor chords with just 2 notes?

Why do you need to?

I don't like thirds much (especially the major 3rd) which on the guitar always sounds slightly dissonant to me so I'll either leave it out all together or replace it with a 9th which I find far more interesting and musically pleasing.

And to answer the OP as soon as you play more than one note at the same time it's a chord IMO.

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The semantics would have it that three notes are needed to be a 'chord'. Two notes together are, technically, an 'interval'. The loose expression 'power chord' has crept into modern parlance, and is grudgingly accepted with a nod to rock folks, but definitions are definitions, so, pedantically, one would say that three notes are needed, at a minimum, to have technical 'chord' status. The debate will doubtless rage on, however, and the tectonic plates continue their voyage.

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I'm glad you said that, Dad. My answer was going to be the same, but the first Wikipedia link knocked my confidence! Two notes played at once, or a dyad, are an 'interval'. They can imply a chord, but aren't one. Three notes, or a triad, and upwards are a chord. Of course, they don't all need to be played on the same instrument- a bass playing a pitch at C, a guitar playing a pitch at G, and a singer holding an E will be producing a C major chord together.

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Oh dear! Pedants Corner seems to have moved again...9_9

Strictly speaking the term 'interval' simply describes the difference in pitch between two notes. Interval

A chord happens when you play multiple notes simultaneously. Although commonly described in terms of 3 or more notes, two notes sounded simultaneously still counts. Chord

 

 

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And just to throw another spanner in the works, what do you call it when you play the same note simultaneously on two different strings - i.e. D-string open, and the A string fretted at the 5th fret? In theory they should sound the same, but in practice because of tuning, inconsistencies in fretting pressure and the overall tonality of the strings in question they don't, and the result is always richer sounding than just playing a single string.

Also is there a way of indicating this in notation?

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12 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

And just to throw another spanner in the works, what do you call it when you play the same note simultaneously on two different strings - i.e. D-string open, and the A string fretted at the 5th fret? In theory they should sound the same, but in practice because of tuning, inconsistencies in fretting pressure and the overall tonality of the strings in question they don't, and the result is always richer sounding than just playing a single string.

Also is there a way of indicating this in notation?

Musically they are the same (unison) but I know what you mean - as will anybody who's ever played a 12-string guitar. It gives a chorus effect I think.

ETA: On a stave you'd write it as two notes at the same pitch with one stem going up and the other going down.

Edited by leftybassman392

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14 minutes ago, leftybassman392 said:

Musically they are the same (unison) but I know what you mean - as will anybody who's ever played a 12-string guitar. It gives a chorus effect I think.

ETA: On a stave you'd write it as two notes at the same pitch with one stem going up and the other going down.

Also with a small 'o' above/below one of the stems (usually the upward stem, indicating the open string).

Edited by lowdown
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1 hour ago, BigRedX said:

And to answer the OP as soon as you play more than one note at the same time it's a chord IMO.

This...

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