Discussion in 'Research' started by stingrae, May 10, 2017.
How is the c major open chord related to the d major open chord?
What do you mean? They are different chords. A c major contains the notes C, E, and G while a D major has D, A, and F sharp...
Are they even related in any way? I'm trying to put in some dialogue in a story; a run of the mill know-it-all is going on about different chords on a guitar. I thought there was something similar between an open C major and an open D major. Finger positions? Sound?
Sorry if the question is odd or vague, but it's been eating at me for a while and I'm not sure why, nor am I sure if it's being phrased the right way.
Sure, they're related in that open chords are in the same position. C and D are two of the most basic day-one-of-guitar-lesson chords, and they are commonly played together in folk progressions. Typically in the key of G/E minor, which is also very common. Guitar players don't talk about chords though. They'd be more likely to discuss gear or styles.
If you give me an example of what you're trying to write I can help with the details. Otherwise I'm not sure what you mean. A random dude talking about guitar chords wouldn't make any sense. It would mean nothing to a layperson and it would get a funny look from a guitar player.
ETA: And, no, they sound nothing alike. They're different chords made of different notes. Musically speaking, they couldn't be any more dissimilar.
I asked my husband, who has been playing guitar for around 25 years. His music theory is hella rusty, but here's what he had to say:
Open chords are played using open strings and with finger placement on the first three frets
Both are major chords made up of three different notes
He admitted that the above is extremely rudimentary, but to him they're only similar on a very high level.
I have to agree. Even though the hubs is an experienced guitarist who's been in several bands over the years, he looked at me like I had three heads when I showed him the question. He really doesn't think about notes or chords when he's playing - it's all muscle memory at this point.
I think your husband and I would get along just fine...
Y'all could drink wine and play guitar together! He'd leave the writing conversations to me though...
Yes, yes, and yes. Writing, drinking, and playing guitar are three of my favorite things.
As a classically trained guitarist and a person who has graduated with a music degree, C and D are not directly related, but can be talked about in a know-it-all way.
C and D are both fundamental, run-of-the-mill guitar chords. C sounds lower in it's open position than D in it's open position. If you play them in different octaves and in different positions on the guitar, then the C can be higher than the D. But, in a scale containing C and D, C always comes before D. Playing the chords in different positions and using a capo gives a song a different feel.
With that said, your person can talk about keys. Some songs sound better in lower or higher keys. The guitar as an accompaniment, keys can make a huge different on how someone would sound. Someone with a lower voice would do better in the key of C. Though, C and D are only one step away from each other in terms of keys, to some people, that's a huge difference. In that regard, both chords would be considered the tonic, of root of their respective keys and would have a similar sound in terms of their place in the music. Their sound would be home or resolution. The root is a very comfortable chord to be on.
So, guitarists do talk about chords, the usage, add nines, sevenths, elevenths, and thirteenths. That is more advanced theory. Those terms can't be slung around without proper context.
The guitarists who would talk about chords are normally song writers and composers. The average guitarist would talk about gear more, especially, if they are playing on the electric guitar.
Also, playing the chords arpeggiated and with fingers would be quite different. Since most of the time, you'd want your guitar chords in the root position, you'd play the first four strings on the open D chord. However, you could play the fifth string, and it'd sound fine. The C chord, you'd normally play five strings. The sixth string would be okay to play, since that puts the chord into the first inversion. You'd play the lowest strings with the thumb as a strong bass tone (normally, for basic pieces). You could strum them, but the low E note in the C chord may sound weird. The Low A in the D would sound fine, since it's the fifth of the chord.
As mentioned about, C and D are common chords in the key of G and can be used in e minor. C is the subdominant of G. D is the dominant of G. In e minor C is the submediant and D is the subtonic.
For a reference on basic guitar chord shapes, take a look at this: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e8/86/99/e88699b8bf4c5ac1a5e92a8941e9419f.jpg
Sound know it all enough?
Now here's a fella (or lady) whose music theory is not at all rusty!
Haha, I use it nearly everyday! Thank you!
Thank you. I'm honestly not sure what exactly I'm writing, or else I'd put it up here. I just had a "eureka!" moment and knew I'd have a scene with a lot of music talk.
If my question seems odd or out of the blue in what I'm asking, someone actually asked me this (I'm being taught the guitar, and it's a "homework" question) and I was thinking of incorporating the question into the story.
Thank you! Like I told Homer Potvin, I'm just learning guitar and don't know much, and the person helping me along asked me this question. I don't think he expects an actual answer (probably why your husband looked at you strangely? Is this a weird question in that you tend to not think about chords relating to each other or something like that? I don't want to make my teacher look bad like he's asking a stupid question!), but for some "outside the box" thinking, if that makes sense. Around the same time I was thinking of an answer I had an idea to incorporate this question into the dialogue in my story -- well, one of them, I've got too many ideas up in the air at the moment!
Sounds very know it all! Thank you, I'll be referring to this post plenty!
Nah, I think he looked at me strangely because it's been over two decades since he's been at the beginner student level, and his thought process musically is in a totally different place now. He's been playing for so long now that his hands know what to do without his brain registering what notes or chords he's executing.
And THAT is where I hope to be someday! Right now I'm stuck just trying to read tabs
To the OP: The D major chord is a whole tone or - in the case of D & C - two frets higher than the C major chord. (C & D are separated by two semi-tones = two frets. E & F are also separated by a whole tone, but only by one fret!)
If you're playing both in the first position - hell, you don't play D in the first position, because the G & top E strings are fretted at the second fret so let's say first or second position - then the notes are C major - E (although frequently omitted) C E G C E; D major - OMIT the E string A D A D F. The point of this recitation is that the actual notes of scale differ; for greater comparability I'll ignore the E string, and then C major becomes 1 3 5 1 3, whereas D major becomes 5 1 5 1 3. It doesn't affect that the five notes are harmonious, but it does affect how they sound, in that C repeats the 3rd note of scale (E) twice, while D repeats the 5th (A) twice; and, if you're playing the notes arpeggiated, it'll change the steps for the successive notes.
To get around some of that, I've occasionally played D major with the D string stopped at the fourth fret to give the same shape for the top four strings as it would be for C major, simply moved up 2 frets. That then gives me A F A D F, or 5 3 5 1 3.
You could, of course, get around all of this by simply capoeing up two frets, and then playing the key of D in C-shapes!
As has been mentioned, a lot of what the conversation might be would depend upon where the conversation is.
A folk guitarist might talk about the chord sequence; a rock guitarist probably wouldn't; a classical guitarist almost certainly wouldn't - he'd be aware of the compositional make-up of the music, and what the harmony notes are and what they're doing, but he'd generally be playing only broken chords - just a couple of notes - rather than full chords. And are we talking music lessons or just jamming with some mates?
@stingrae The chords are related in countless ways. On one level the construction of all major chords is underlain by a common formula. By consequence all major chords have a similar sound in themselves, however when played in a piece of music they will sound different according to their function in the key i.e. according to their relation to the tonic – the key's tonal centre. A corollary of this is that the chord of D major relates differently to the key of D major than it does to the key of G major, for instance, and so expresses a different sonic character despite it being the same chord.
There are other chord combinations you could use, ones whose relation is clearer and so perhaps easier for your characters to discuss - C major and A minor, for instance, tonic chords of relative major & minor keys.
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