of these articles describes the chord in the music. For the number of items-oriented work form see piece-work.

A chord is in the music simultaneous ringing out of several different tones, which can be interpreted harmoniously (contrary to the cluster).

The term chord is probably derived from chorda, the Greek word for string . It was accepted over the Italian and French in the meaning Zusammenklang to German. However is also a Latin origin of the term (lat.: ad cor= to the heart) possible. The meaning of the “Zusammenklangs” not exclusively refers to the Zusammenklang of several tones, but refers also a ringing out of the overtone row of an individual clay/tone also.

Table of contents


in the material music forming chords from the Zusammenklang of many voices, which have different functions: Melody, bass, Begleit, and/or. Filling voices. The treatment that becomes clearestChords in individual voices in the Vierstimmigen sentence. In addition, in an individual voice tones can ring out, which are experienced by the listener as common components of a harmonious structure. Thus are also chord refractions (Arpeggi) and the slow structure ofZusammenklängen (z. B.Rachmaninoff, melody OI. 3 No. 3, the last but one clock) of chords in the described sense. As chords in the music are used concretely, depends on the category . As opposite poles one knows here the Polyphonie (horizontal structure, several independentVoices, approximately in a joint) and the homophony (perpendicular akkordische structure, approximately in a song with guitar company) regard.

kinds and structure of chords

one normally calls only at least three different tones chord, whereby it very frequentlyalso Zusammenklänge of only two tones gives, which fulfill nevertheless akkordische functions.

Of triad one speaks only, if the three ringing out tones in thirds can be laminated one above the other and the deepest clay/tone also the basic clay/tone of this chord resulting thereby is.

Forthe designation of a chord from four tones as Vierklang the two latter criteria do not have to be fulfilled. If they are it, one speaks of a September TAC cord.

To third-laminated chords applies:

  • two different thirds lying one above the other (only largely, then small and/or.turned around) result in a Dur - and/or. Moll - chord;
  • two equal thirds (large and large or small and small) result in an excessive and/or. decreased chord;
  • three superimposed thirds result in a September TAC cord;

The number of the third-laminated chords leaves itself over the Nonakkorde(five tones/four thirds), Undezimakkorde (six tones/five thirds) etc. continue.

Not in thirds layerable chords or such, with which, whose basic clay/tone does not ring out not at all however straight, can mental the respective musical connection is according to to third-laminated chords supplemental orbut otherwise (z. B. through reproach) to be explained. Thus for instance the Quintsextakkord C - e - can be seen g - A as Mollseptakkord A C - to e - g. Such a thing is however in the connection of the piece tooexamine, since there are often several interpretation possibilities.

analysis of chords

during counting the different tones in a chord only different clay/tone names are considered independently of their pitch. After this transformation the contained tones of the chord become asIntervals to the deepest clay/tone of the chord designated, in the example mentioned as third and Quinte to the deepest clay/tone, although they were actually present as Quint and Dezime. The concrete designation of the chord depends on the system of naming.

situation of chords

The term “situation” has two meanings in connection with chords:

  1. the indication whether the tones in their relationship lie directly next to each other to each other (confine situation) or in different Oktaven is (situation widens). The Zusammenklang e' - C'' - g'' is for the analysis however equivalently with e' - g' - C'' as well as every other C major chord, which has as the deepest clay/tone an e.
  2. the designation of the highest and thus melody-determining clay/tone as interval to the basis clay/tone of the system of naming. Depending on whether thathighest clay/tone basic clay/tone, third, Quinte or seventh is, speaks one of “Oktav”, “third” -, “Quint” - or “Septlage”.

During the functional description it can lead to the fact that both the bass note and the melody clay/tone are indicated. In the general bass is such a descriptionuncommonly.

reversals from chords

to the determination of the reversal of a chord the deepest clay/tone (the bass note) is crucially, independent of the fact whether the chord in close or far situation rings out.

The reversals receive their names after characteristic intervals,from the deepest clay/tone to be measured. The individual designations (see below) to come of the general bass - technology.


triad reversals
of three-sounds can occur in three reversals:
  • Basic position, z. B. in C major: C' - e' - g'; thoseBasic position is to be recognized by the layering in thirds;
  • 1. Reversal, called in this example e' - g' - C'', Sextakkord, since it is not anything special that down a third is, but probably that it from the deepest tohighest clay/tone a sixth instead of a Quinte is;
  • 2. Reversal, called in this example g' - C'' - e'', Quartsextakkord, there both Quarte instead of third in the lower part of the chord and sixth instead of Quinte as framework interval toonotice are.


Umkehrungen von Septakkorden
reversals of September TAC cords
of September TAC cords can occur in four reversals:
  • Basic position, z. B. G 7: g - h - D' - f' to recognize again by the third layering called September TAC cord because the additionalSeventh it of a triad differentiates;
  • 1. Reversal, called in this example h - D' - f' - g', Quintsextakkord, since Quinte and sixth over the deepest clay/tone arise at the same time;
  • 2. Reversal, in this example D' - f'- g' - h', called third quart chord, since third and Quarte over the deepest clay/tone arise at the same time;
  • 3. Reversal, called in this example f' - g' - h' - D'', sec. and chord, there the second over the deepestClay/tone the characteristic at it is.

Other Vierklänge, which are not September TAC cords, can be turned around naturally likewise, only the above names for the individual reversals do not apply with them. As example for this is the triad with added sixth (Sixte ajoutée) mentioned, which is in its basic position in principle a Quintsextakkord, but completely different function than the identically developed 1. Reversal of a September TAC cord has, so that one should avoid this term confusion.

five and multi-sounds

(in work)

systems of naming of chords

for the designation of chords are common several, independent systems, which are marked out briefly in the following:

the systems of naming are in the orderspecified, in which they developed historically. Each new system took over and continued to develop a majority of the achievements the old system (special regarding the syntax of the modifications in relation to the basic triad). The essential structures from chords become therefore inoldest description system, in accordance with general bass, mentioned, in on it following the no more although they are used likewise there.

basis clay/tone and intervals

the kind of the description are used particularly in the general bass. The chord is called those after the intervals,the contained tones to the deepest clay/tone take.

  • Basic triad: The intervals of third and Quinte are not called. The chord described above is thus a basic triad over the clay/tone C in e.g. the kind of basic clay/tone C major.
  • Sextakkord: the Quinte can throughthe sixth to be replaced, so that a Sextakkord (C - I/O) develops. The Sextakkord applies like the basic triad as regular sound.
  • Quart reproach: in the chord the Quarte can replace the third (C - f- g). In the traditional classical music one feels in such a way, as if the Quarte would have displaced the third of its place. Therefore this sound must be dissolved, by the voice, which speaks the Quarte, as next clay/tone thoseThird brings [C e g].
  • Quartsextvorhalt: The combination of Quarte and sixth in a chord (C - f - A) is understood as extension of the previous case. Both tones must be dissolved: C - e - g. These reproaching variants became only after the baroque usual. It held itself nevertheless the designation Quartsextvorhalt, which plays a large role particularly for cadences in concerts of the Viennese classical period.
  • Decreased: as a result of the half-tone steps in the basic scale arisecertain basic tones decreased chords, thus basic three-sounds from two small thirds one above the other, C - it - ges or h - D - f. That leads to a decreased Quinte, which gave its name to the sound. The name becomes alsoused, if the decreased Quinte is noted as excessive Quarte:C - it - fis.
  • Quintsextakkord: the Quinte is called, because she rings out additionally to the sixth, by which it is normally replaced. Quintsextakkorde become in the function theoryas subdominantisch or as dominantisch described. The subdominantische variant (ajoutée also sixte) adds the sixth to a basic triad in addition (f - A C - D), while the dominantische variant is based to h on a decreased triad -D - f - g. The conceptual distinction originates from the function-theoretical analysis, and thus in the historically earlier appearance of the chord the sixte ajoutée in subdominantischer function contrary to the dominance CEPT chord.
  • excessive Quintsextakkord: Sounds like the dominance CEPT chord. Made possiblethe modulation into further kinds of clay/tone, and/or. has an auditory perspective. The excessive Quintsextakkord e.g. is. (f - A C - this) with the excessive sixth f-this. It sounds itself here like the F majors September TAC cord and can e.g. after E major/moll, C major/moll,A major/moll dissolve, whereby evenly the excessive sixth strives to the Oktave e-e.
  • September TAC cord: To the basic triad the leader-own seventh is set, which depending upon position largely (C - e - g - h) or to be small can (g- h - D - f).


the designation of the stages is an advancement of the designation over the basis clay/tone, which describes the tonal classification of the chord into the harmonious context contrary to this.

Can doall chord types in appropriate way, specified above, to be identified, whereby the reference clay/tone is not a concrete basis clay/tone, but instead of its number of this basis clay/tone in the scale of the kind of basic clay/tone.


  • the sound C - e - g is a basic triadover the first stage;
  • the sound g - h - D - f is called September TAC cord over the fifth stage.

This system of the klanglichen description is used in the stage theory.

clay/tone supply

of chords consist of the clay/tone supply,from the respective musical context to the order one places. In case of the traditional western music that is the twelve tones of the chromatic scale and its repetitions in different situations.

There the traditional western music mostly on a kind of basic clay/tonebeen based, a core clay/tone supply results from the 7 so-called leader-own tones.

  • In case of of C major are: C, D, e, f, g, A, h.

In order to temporarily change in the musical operational sequence to other kinds of clay/tone, this clay/tone supply can around the tonesare extended, which occur deviating from the kind of basic clay/tone in the other kinds of clay/tone. The modulation (the change) is actually done via the introduction of leader-strange tones. The most typical extensions, which lead the decreased to old person rations from leader-own tones to leader-strange tones are Seventh and the excessive Quarte.

  • In case of of C major are: b instead of h and fis instead of f.

The Alterieren from the h to the b as more harmonious swivel toward the kind of clay/tone next in the Quintenzirkel felt, this clay/tone tootheir leader-own counts.

  • In case of of C major is the F major.

These swivel also one feels, if still no sound on the basis F major, but for example only a September TAC cord over C (C - e - is formed g -b) rings out. Modulations of too far distant kinds of clay/tone extend according to the clay/tone supply, from which chords can be formed.

kind of clay/tone

during the general bass and the stage theory the clay/tone supply of the kind of basic clay/tone for the starting point of their designation make, leave themselves thoseChords also directly as representatives of a kind of clay/tone understand. But the contained tones are evaluated.


Within a piece in C major

  • the sound f - A C a F major basic triad,
  • the sound C - is I/O a A-moll-triad inthe 1. Reversal
  • and the sound D - f - g - h a G major September TAC cord in the 2. Reversal.

This designation is more descriptive than „iv. stage “or „I. If Sextakkord gradates “, does however without it, the designated sound into the harmonious context of theTo integrate piece.


the function theory describes chords on the basis the relationship connections, which result from the Quintenzirkel. Also here the chord types described above can be used and be extended by large four, five and multi-sounds.

Basis of the sound is the kind of clay/tone, which is designated by its functional connection to the kind of basic clay/tone. Since the basis clay/tone of the chord thereby is not described, additionally an indication is given the reversal or the interval, that the basis clay/tone in relation to the basic clay/tone of the described functionhas.

The examples specified above lead to the following designations:

  • f - A C Subdominate basic triad
  • C - I/O Tonikaparallele in the first reversal or on the third
  • D - f - g - h Dominatseptakkord in thatsecond reversal or on the Quinte

chord symbol

jazz - notes are usually spread as lead sheets with singing voice and chord symbols.

The jazz chord symbol as notation corresponds to a general bass notation in the broadest sense, with that the basic clay/tone explicitly as note namein letter form one indicates. A bass note deviating from the basic clay/tone is separated additionally determined by a diagonal stroke. Chord modifications will indicate by data to the sound sex, numbers and other abbreviations.

comparison of the systems of naming

the respective systems of naming reflect the harmony understanding thatTime again, in which they developed. While the general bass notation represents a pragmatic abbreviation in the typeface, the stage theory develops a first harmonious connection, which is extremely extended by the function theory. The jazz notation takes over the syntax developed up to then,gives up however the function connection not always necessary in the jazz completely.

By the example of the decreased September TAC cord over cis (cis - e - g - b) in a C major connection is shown, as these differences express themselves:

  • General bass: Basic clay/tonecis, instruction 7♭
  • stage theory: I♯ 7♭
  • function theory: T 7♭ 9♭ shortens, if the chord dissolves after F major, or DDD 7♭ 9♭ shortens, if the chord dissolves D major to the double dominant factor or to the Subdominantparallele D-Moll. In extreme cases would be two furtherNotations conceivablly.
  • Jazz: In addition, C♯

°7 the decreased September TAC cord lies outside of the usual cadence, is not unusual for brook. One can recognize that the general bass by the renouncement of each explanation the sound not everyday for himproblem-free notes, while the stage theory must modify its Basiskonstrukt (the stage) and the function theory needs further information for the correct designation. The notation habits in the jazz resembles the general bass in its pragmatics.

In response to it the function theory can realize their advantages, ifit around the description of sounds goes, which were not conceivable in the time of the general bass or the stage theory. That is for example with sounds the case, in which the third occurs at the same time as large and third small as, whatfunctionally as third and excessive second/None one noted, or with such, which any longer clearly to a basis clay/tone cannot be referred like the “ Mysti chord “laminated from Quarten by Alexander Skrjabin (C-fis-b-e' - A' - D'') as well as the “Tristanakkord“of smelling pool of broadcasting corporations Wagner, with whom the operaTristan and Isolde begins “.

chords serve chord company

in the song in songs usually for the instrumentalen company. They give in sections a harmonious purchase to the melody. The chord companymostly becomes with a polyp-hone palpation or stringed instrument (z. B. Piano or guitar) easily.

Some popular songs are harmoniously in such a way developed that they maintain by the whole song through a firm sequence of (mostly four) chords, which repeats cyclicallybecomes. The once established chord sequence remains even in the Strophe and in the Refrain the same and pulls themselves invariably as a red thread by the song.

In the simplest case the first chord of the consequence is the Tonika and the latterthe dominant factor in addition. Since this strives again to the Tonika, „“the chord sequence, as further from an internal urge floated, rolls always. This effect works very strongly and such songs as particularly dragging along is usually felt.


  • Laudato SI (composer unknown): |:G, Em, C, D7: |
  • It Never Rains in Southern California (Albert Hammond): |: To, D, G: |
  • The Great Song OF Indifference (Bob Geldof): |: A, D, A, E: |
  • The 59th Street Bridge Song (Simon and sparkle): |: C, G, Am7, G: |
  • Guantanamera (Hector Angulo): |: G, Em, to, D7: |
  • La Bamba (Ritchie Valens): |: D, G, A7: |
  • Slope on Sloopy (Bert trunk/Wes Farrell): |: D, G, A, G: |
  • Ti Amo (Umberto Tozzi): |: G, Em, to, D7: |
  • Hit the Road Jack (Ray Charles): |: Bbm, off, Gb, F: |
  • What's UP (4 NonBlond): |: A, TC, D, A: |
  • Zombie (The Cranberries): |: Em, C, G, D: |

see also

Wiktionary: Chord - word origin, synonyms and translations
Commons: Chords - pictures, videos and/or audio files

harmony, derived chord, stage theory (Harmonik)
chord scale theory

Web on the left of

chord lists for stringed instruments and notes

chord computers with Akkordbenennug


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