Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Puzzling Through Music? Here's My Chordspeller...

If you've been paying attention to this blog (or if you've ever met me), you know that I'm a complete music nerd.  Well, that extends to music theory; I'm one of those folks who fakes playing piano by cheating from the guitar notation, and I'm one of those singers who wants to know whether I'm singing the root, third, fifth or seventh of that big chord at the key change.  Well, to do that stuff one needs a fairly comprehensive chord library, whether it be a mental storehouse or a cheat sheet.  I'm not that good - I need a cheat sheet.

Long ago, when I first started dissecting barbershop music (and, yes, baritones DO have the strangest part!), I had a great 'chord spelling' chart; unfortunately, it was lost some years ago and I've never been able to find a good replacement.  My daughter recently ran across some 'fake sheets' for current pop songs, which have naught but lyrics and guitar chords; she started asking me "What's a Cdim7?  How do you play an Fm9b5?"  I thought of my old chord speller, and decided to create my own.

Simply put, it's a one-pager that includes:

  • Nomenclature (e.g. dominant 7th, minor 6th, etc.),
  • Symbol notation (e.g. Cm7, C+, etc.), 
  • Scale note formula (e.g. C minor triad = "1 b3 5"), and
  • Chord listings (e.g. "Gbm9 = Gb A Db E Ab")
for 204 chords, plus extra notation & scale note formulae for another 15 chord families, for a total library of 429 chords - on a single 8.5"x11" page.

You can grab a PDF copy of Chordspeller from my Slideshare library.

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