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Power thirds....erm?

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Hi guys, hope ya doin OK, long time no see.

OK, along with the bass that I play - some may argue that point -  I've got a Fiddle coming on Friday, lockdown may as well learn something else....this time tuned in 5ths😀

A fiddle on basschat, what next. But, it has brought up, for me,  a WTF are these diads called, or if indeed two note chords indeed have a name?

I guess they are chords, afterall guitarists play 2 note power chords? 

Why diads? Now, being a boring old git I'm sitting here trying figure out how those folk and 'blue-grass' (I hate that term along with streetfood) play some of the those double stop diads...think Bugs Bunny Hill Billy hare intro here

So, now I know that these fiddles do a 'country' stylee great power chord and, also a umm err, power third?🤠



So, with my poor grasp of music theory in that second video...

1/ G double stop:- G on the D string and, B on the A string gives a major third.

2/ C double stop:- E on the D string and, the C on the A string gives an inverted major third, C/E

3/ D double stop:- F# on the D string and, the D on the A string also gives an inverted major third, D/F#


.....if there is such a thing as a C/E to describe a E over a C?

So, these are diads, or partial chords. Now a power chord is root and 5th G5 for example, so are these 'power' thirds called G3?

All the best, stay safe guys.


PS if you drink fine wines it's a violin, if you prefer cider, it's a Fiddle I believe?




Edited by iconic

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Power chord usually omits third. Works well over a major or a minor.

As bass goes so low, third may not sound very good especially in the low end. Anything beyond 12th fret is another story. A fifth is usually the first functional double stop.

If you write C/E, it means that your colleague is playing a C chord and your work is to play the note E under the chord.

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You wouldn't call the chord something like a G3 because the third is the defining note as to whether the chord is major or minor.      For example, C and E is major, D and F is minor.  You could play just those two notes together and it would imply the chord quality, whereas a power chord would really just emphasise the root motion without much tonality. So rather than write G3 you could just write G or Gmin, depending on which third you play.

A slash chord like C/E is saying that you would play a C chord with an E in the bass.  I would take a guess that if you were asked to play a C double stop on the violin you would play it in this inversion without thinking of it as a slash chord, in a similar way to how a barre chord on guitar puts the 3rd above the 5th. The notes might be inverted, but they are still portraying the chord quality.


I hope this makes sense, it's kind of long winded. 

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The reason it’s called a power chord is due to the overtone series (harmonics). The way that a root and perfect 5th interact harmonically is very “consonant” so works well (ie is “powerful”) when played on guitar/higher up on bass with heavy distortion as distortion amplifies the overtones. Other two-note chords (ie root and major 3rd) have quite dissonant overtones that clash when distorted heavily (although can be quite pleasant with a bit of crunch in the tone), so don’t sound as “power”ful ;) 

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