How to Read Chord Symbols to Play the Guitar

Most of the people on earth try to play different musical instruments, that's great to experience the thrilling feeling of something new. Since the guitar is one of the most popular instruments on earth, this fate befell her too. Many people borrow the instrument from friends who have tried their hand at self-mastering this instrument to no avail. Scrolling through an endless number of pages on the Internet in the hope of finding the answer: how quickly to learn to play the guitar. They see songs in which there are some letters above each line and, in addition, drawings with tables and dots.

Read the article: How To Read Guitar Chord Diagrams

The following question quickly arises:

- What it is?

- How to read it?

This is called alphanumeric chord notation. In this article, I will teach you how to read chord symbols.

Alphanumeric chord notation

It just so happened historically that there were a lot of options for recording music on paper. History has weeded out everything that was unusable and left the most convenient solutions. One of them is the alphanumeric designation of chords.

There are two systems for naming sounds. The first system is syllabic. Probably, many people know the well-known scale: Do - Re - Mi - Fa - Sol - La - Si.

The second system is the music alphabet, this is exactly what you see above the lines in the songs.

The letter system is based on the letters of the Latin alphabet:

A B C D E F G
La Si Do Re Mi Fa Sol

Only now it so happens that it does not begin with the sound (Do), but, as we already see, with the sound (La). I highly recommend remembering this table.

In music, when building a chord, we start with the first sound, which is called the root tone, and a vertical line of sounds is already built from it, forming various chords. This bottom sound of the chord is called the root note, which gives the initial name of the chord that identifies it.

Types of Chords

We figured out the capital letter, but what to do with the small prefixes to the letter - m, 7, m7b5, sus2, sus4. In order not to get into deep theory, in this article we will get familiarized with how simple chords, major, minor and dominant sept chords are read.

So there are two relative emotional shades in music.

Major is a cheerful, festive, joyful shade.

Minor - lyrical, sad shade.

Chord symbol capitals

Capitalized chords (A / B / C / D / E / F / G), without prefixes, are always read as major.

- How to read them (understand)?

We have to remember which letter means which sound and add a chord type to the name of the sound.

Example:

Root Note

Syllabic name

Chord Type

Full name

A

La

major

La - major chord

B

Si

major

Si - major chord

С

Do

major

Do - major chord

D

Re

major

Re - major chord

E

Mi

major

Mi - major chord

F

Fa

major

Fa - major chord

G

Sol

major

Sol - major chord

Chord with lowercase (m)

A chord with a capital letter and a prefix - m (Am / Bm / Cm / Dm / Em / Fm / Gm) etc. The small prefix in the form of a small letter - m, reads - minor.

- How to read them (understand)?

- Again, we must remember which letter means which sound, with the letter (m) we understand that the chord type is minor.

Example:

Root Note

Syllabic name

Chord Type

Full name

Am

La

minor

La – minor chord

Bm

Si

minor

Si - minor chord

Сm

Do

minor

Do - minor chord

Dm

Re

minor

Re - minor chord

Em

Mi

minor

Mi - minor chord

Fm

Fa

minor

Fa - minor chord

Gm

Sol

minor

Sol - minor chord

Chord with just a “7”

A chord with a capital letter and a numeric prefix.

The last chord we will consider in this article is the chord (A7 / B7 / C7 / D7 / E7 / F7 / G7) etc.

From the Latin numerals, the number 7 is called - Septima.

- How to read it?

- We have to remember which letter means which sound, with the help of the number (7) we understand that the type of chord is Dominant 7th.

Example:

Chord Symbol

Syllabic

Chord Type

Numeral

Full name

A7

La

Dominant 7th

Septima

La – dominant 7th chord

B7

Si

Dominant 7th

Septima

Si – dominant 7th chord

С7

Do

Dominant 7th

Septima

Do – dominant 7th chord

D7

Re

Dominant 7th

Septima

Re – dominant 7th chord

E7

Mi

Dominant 7th

Septima

Mi – dominant 7th chord

F7

Fa

Dominant 7th

Septima

Fa – dominant 7th chord

G7

Sol

Dominant 7th

Septima

Sol – dominant 7th chord

With the help of such small tables, you can understand how the basic chords are read and be aware that we are playing the guitar. Of course, I highly recommend that you seek help from a teacher, take a short guitar course, or take a guitar lesson. So that there is no confusion in the head or knowledge taken out of context.

As a teacher, I know with years of experience that you can always find an interesting approach to people with different types of thinking so that everyone is satisfied. After all, it is a great pleasure for the teacher to know that his student understands everything and successfully uses the transferred knowledge.

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