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  1. #1

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    The chord I want for a tune I wrote is, low to high, E A D G.

    What is the best way to write it so that the pianist will play this without having to have a discussion?

    I'm aware I can write the notes out on a staff, but I'm trying to avoid that to keep the tune on one page.

    E4?
    Em7sus?
    E (stack4's)?
    Em11?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I would use Em11, except there is no B. Hmm. Just say the So What chord on E

  4. #3

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    I call it Emin11

  5. #4

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    Em11(no 5th)

  6. #5

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    How about E7#9sus4?

  7. #6

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    Also possible: A7sus/E, Dsus9/E, G6sus2/E
    Last edited by Tal_175; 03-11-2020 at 04:39 PM.

  8. #7

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    The Real Book chart for So What call it Emin7add4. I kind of like calling it EStack4's.

    John

  9. #8

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    the name is derived by its function in the progression...could be many names for it..where is it going to / coming from...

    for just simplicity..Em11 works best...

  10. #9

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    I haven't seen it in use, but E4 is easier to sight read than Am7sus/E, Dsus9/E, G6sus2/E

  11. #10

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    I don't think this chord has a good name.. A7sus4/E is the most specific I can think of

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by wolflen
    the name is derived by its function in the progression...could be many names for it..where is it going to / coming from...

    for just simplicity..Em11 works best...
    A13b9 D4 E4 Fmaj7

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by jazznylon
    How about E7#9sus4?
    Thanks. E7#9sus is my favorite (other than E(stack4s).

    Because, if I saw that, I'd know I need an E as the lowest note and a G as the highest. I'd know that the A needed to be voiced in the lower octave, whereas an 11 implies a higher octave. And, the 7 puts the D right where it belongs. The only issue is the B. This chord symbol implies a B. As it happens, the B sounds ok in this tune. But, if you don't want the B, it's E7#9sus omit 5 ... which is getting to be a little long for a chord name.

    The problem with E(stack4s) is that it's too non-standard. It seems clear enough, but I know somebody (the pianist) is going to use it as an opportunity to remind me that I have an inadequate musical education. Also, how do you know when to stop stacking? I don't want a C on top of that chord.

    I gave up and added a second stave to delineate the specific chord voicings I want. My experience with originals is that I get the voicing I want sounding good on guitar and then write the chord name. Then, I get something from the pianist which is technically correct but not what I had in mind. My bad.

  14. #13

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    You could describe stacked fourths type chords as quartal using "Q", (which I think is more comprehensive than "4"), and like its symmetrical sisters the diminished and augmented that may adopt multiple roots based on use and relative inversion, your E A D G might occur as various rooting or inversions.

    Depending on how it is working and the way you want it to sound, E A D G might be called:

    E quartal ..............which you might write EQ, ......or E4
    A quartal over E ...which you might write AQ/E, ...or A4/E
    D quartal over E ...which you might write DQ/E, ...or D4/E
    G quartal over E ...which you might write GQ/E, ...or G4/E

    or just ask the pianist how they would like to see that kind of chord named?

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by jazznylon
    I don't think this chord has a good name.. A7sus4/E is the most specific I can think of
    Also a good name. Put the E on the bottom and spell A7sus4 above it -- without doubling the E -- and you've got the voicing.

  16. #15

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    Speaking of symmetricalities.. Apologies for veering off topic but I got to let the nerd in me out for just this one bit! In major thirds tuning I noticed long ago that the straight 4ths chord shape and diminished 7th chord shape actually mirror each other.

    Dim 7 - xx4321
    Straight 4ths - xx1234

    As for what all of this could mean? I have no idea. Just thought it be fun pointing it out

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazznylon
    Speaking of symmetricalities.. Apologies for veering off topic but I got to let the nerd in me out for just this one bit! In major thirds tuning I noticed long ago that the straight 4ths chord shape and diminished 7th chord shape actually mirror each other.

    Dim 7 - xx4321
    Straight 4ths - xx1234

    As for what all of this could mean? I have no idea. Just thought it be fun pointing it out
    If I get what you're saying, that is just showing a minor third is 3 half tones, a major third is 4 half tones and perfect fourth is 5 half tones. Then the pattern is reinforced by the tuning.

  18. #17
    It occurs to me that there are four notes in the chord, so it would be odd to have a chord name that takes longer to spell out than writing all the notes.

    So, E(adg) would be a good chord name. Or E superscript(ADG).

    Good luck getting your notation program to accept it, except as text, and then transpose it.

    BTW, Sibelius G7 has a "make chord symbol from notes" option. It gave Em11 omit 5. That's 9 characters, not counting 2 spaces. For 4 notes. If I saw it, I'd think x75775. That's E G D F# A. The m11 implies a 9th and puts the A at the top of the chord.

    A pianist might play an Em triad in the left hand and a D triad in the right. That's a nice sounding chord, but it's not the sound I'm trying to write.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    The chord I want for a tune I wrote is, low to high, E A D G.

    What is the best way to write it so that the pianist will play this without having to have a discussion?

    I'm aware I can write the notes out on a staff, but I'm trying to avoid that to keep the tune on one page.

    E4?
    Em7sus?
    E (stack4's)?
    Em11?
    I know what I'd prefer for non standard voicings - just write it out in notation, please, FFS!

    However it's not that non standard. If you write '"so what" style voicings' or 'quartal voicings' the pianist would probably get the idea unless they hadn't listened to any pianists since 1959.

    E4? - Huh wut?
    Em7sus? - The sus 2 or 4 supersedes the 3rd so this makes no sense theoretically
    E (stack4's)? - Hard to parse in terms of chord colour/mode
    Em11 - probably the best, but generally I play an 11th in the soprano voice if I see this cold

  20. #19

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    I thought the So What chord voicing was x77787 (E A D G B = Em11)

  21. #20

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    Yes it does have an extra note on the top, that's true.

    I think 'quartal style voicings' is common enough to work.

    It's not really an Em11, in how the Em11 functions in most jazz standards. It's actually an Em7add4 but no-one writes it like that in my experience.

    Rp's chord would be Em7add4 (no 5)

    Yeah I don't like that either haha

    Dsus4/E is equally nasty

    So I think Em11 (quartal) is probably the best option.

    TBH if it is enough of a big deal that you want the chord voiced a certain way, it is generally better to write a notated part, just where specificity is necessary. In general this is what most experienced composers and arrangers seem to do, and go back into chord symbols where it doesn't matter so much. I get charts like this all the time.

  22. #21

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    Now behold this horror:

    name for stack of fourths-mount-inari-piano-jpg

    So this is a chart I did for a tune relatively recently, and looking at it now, it's problematic in all sorts of ways. Is there a better way of writing it? Not sure. There's things to balance against each other and the answers aren't always obvious.

    I wanted sounds like
    x x 5 7 7 5

    but also their four note inversions (otherwise I could just write D/G, right?)

    So its technically correct, but look at those F bars - the melody over the top is drawn from F melodic minor, right? (In practice the soloist could choose minor if there's no 3rds)

    In any case I'm the one playing the chords so I know what I want.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  23. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Yes it does have an extra note on the top, that's true.

    Rp's chord would be Em7add4 (no 5)
    I thought, without benefit of formal education, that add meant you add a note to the chord whereas sus means you alter a note.

    So add 4 would, by this theory, have a third. This chord has one, but actually, it's a m10th. Not wrong, but not the exact voicing.

    Em7sus4 gets rid of the third and has the A in the right place, but probably implies the G an octave lower than desired.

    I went with full notation for want of a better solution. I ended up liking E(adg). 6 characters. 4 if you use a superscript. And exactly the notes.

    But, I dreaded pianist's commentary, which I could pre-hear like a nightmare foretelling a dark future.

    I didn't use it. The chart is now two pages.

  24. #23

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    I'm also unsure as to why I was so keen to have sharps in bar 29. Odd, really. No reason not to choose Dbmaj7(sus2) as we had it earlier and respell as flats. Consider me told off for bad enharmony. By myself.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    I thought, without benefit of formal education, that add meant you add a note to the chord whereas sus means you alter a note.

    So add 4 would, by this theory, have a third. This chord has one, but actually, it's a m10th. Not wrong, but not the exact voicing.

    Em7sus4 gets rid of the third and has the A in the right place, but probably implies the G an octave lower than desired.

    I went with full notation for want of a better solution. I ended up liking E(adg). 6 characters. 4 if you use a superscript. And exactly the notes.

    But, I dreaded pianist's commentary, which I could pre-hear like a nightmare foretelling a dark future.
    Haha I know THAT feeling.

    I didn't use it. The chart is now two pages.
    Oh well at least its not three pages

  26. #25

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    Em11, "no 5" in parenthesis if you think necessary.

    Or just write the cluster on the staff on the lead sheet.

  27. #26

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    E4 is what they use at the long beach state music program. Much better than Em11 in getting someone to play those specific notes. Doesn't work for E A D G B though.

  28. #27

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    tabs

  29. #28

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    Whenever I write quartal voicings in a tune I try to specify a mode for voicings if applicable. Or else just write out the basic chord, say E-11 and indicate "quartal voicings"

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Now behold this horror:

    name for stack of fourths-mount-inari-piano-jpg

    So this is a chart I did for a tune relatively recently, and looking at it now, it's problematic in all sorts of ways. Is there a better way of writing it? Not sure. There's things to balance against each other and the answers aren't always obvious.

    I wanted sounds like
    x x 5 7 7 5

    but also their four note inversions (otherwise I could just write D/G, right?)

    So its technically correct, but look at those F bars - the melody over the top is drawn from F melodic minor, right? (In practice the soloist could choose minor if there's no 3rds)

    In any case I'm the one playing the chords so I know what I want.
    Mount Inari*? I would call it Corona -- until further notice, all chords are suspended.



    * j/k. I did the climb when I visited Kyoto.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    Mount Inari*? I would call it Corona -- until further notice, all chords are suspended.



    * j/k. I did the climb when I visited Kyoto.

  32. #31

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    For an exact voicing I feel it's better to write the quartal voicing notes on the staff. Especially as personally I prefer the sound of quartal inversions than stacks of plain fourths.




  33. #32

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    It’s Dsus(triad) over E, I think. It’s a real slash chord.
    Triad over bass note.

    if you wrote Dsus/E, most players would know it’s the so what-chord, and it helps steer the player to the harmony which is Em, probably aeolian, but depends on the melody.

    you could write Dsusadd9.

    others have suggested Em11, that’s common too. I.e. Kenny Wheeler tunes have that chord all over the place.

    If you have seen some Coltrane or Beirach lead sheets, these guys go through great lengths to make it readable for their bandmates. They go as far as spelling out the chord on the staff.

    that’s playing it nice.

    njoy.

  34. #33

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    I find that these type of chords are difficult to name.

    It's a stack of inverted 4ths with a Major 3rd on the bottom.

    Great for playing Lydian improv melodies over.

    It's a great sounding chord that can be played all over the neck, even using open strings, see below:


  35. #34

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    Quintal, Quartal, Septundal and Secundal voicings all basically related.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Quintal, Quartal, Septundal and Secundal voicings all basically related.

    I spent quite a few years playing mainly inverted clusters, basically they are just secundal harmony inverted, so stacked sevenths really. At the moment I play mainly inverted Quartal harmony (5ths), with an additional tertiary note thrown in for good measure. All good fun.

    Debussy, Bartok and many of the "Modern Classical" composers had all this figured out over 100 years ago, but still it can be nice sounding harmony in the right pair of hands.

  37. #36

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    How about 'stack of fourths' as a name? Or 'fourth stack' if you want to get it down to two words?

    Pretty clear, and unambiguous.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyBoden
    I spent quite a few years playing mainly inverted clusters, basically they are just secundal harmony inverted, so stacked sevenths really. At the moment I play mainly inverted Quartal harmony (5ths), with an additional tertiary note thrown in for good measure. All good fun.

    Debussy, Bartok and many of the "Modern Classical" composers had all this figured out over 100 years ago, but still it can be nice sounding harmony in the right pair of hands.
    Well triads can be nice sounding harmony in the right hands...

    (I reject the progressive/modernist narrative jazz, especially in harmony. This stuff should have been thrown out in the late 1950s when all the classic Blue Note albums got sniffy reviews from critics who thought Gunther Schuller was the future of jazz. Really?)

    Anyway, a particular pitfall of quartal harmony, (TBF for anything for that matter is that parallel motion, but particularly for quartal stuff to my ears) is while it can be powerful, can get very boring and predictable in the wrong context. (Of course McCoy was an exceptional harmonist and a fantastically sensitive musician so the parallel left hand quartal thing worked amazing for him.)

    It's nice to have suspensions from voicing to voicing for instance. And inverting quartals into other structures can make for good voice leading too.. for instance you may decide in your harmonic world that the major second is a consonance, for instance.

    Also my pet hate in contemporary jazz voicings - overuse parallel seconds in modal intervallic cluster voicings. Ugh. Just no. I hate it when Britten does it, and I hate when jazz guitarists do it too. Even ones I otherwise like.

    Personal taste haha. I'm a voice leading guy.