Music theory

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This page will shortly introduce some basic elements of music theory, in particular with the idea in mind to help people getting started in improvisation and accompaniment. We are particularly interested in educational aspects of music software and computer-enhanced or computer-driven instruments. As much as possible we shall point to external resources. EduTechWiki can't become a music wiki ;) - Daniel K. Schneider, 9 September 2011

The circle of fifth

The circle of fifth. Source: Wikipedia (click on the picture for details)

Chord names and symbols

Some chord names (to be completed, this was taken from Yamaha CVP-509 digital piano)
Chord Name Abbr. Alt. Abbr Normal (root position) voicing C Example
1+8 1+8 C1+8
1+5 1+5 C1+5
Major M or maj or Δ 1+3+5 C or CM or Cmaj or CΔ
Sixth 6 M6 1+(3)+5+6 C6 or CM6
Major seventh M7 maj 1+3+(5)+7 CM7 or Cmaj7
Major seventh flatted fifth M7b5 1+3+b5+7 CM7(b5)
Major seventh add sharp eleventh M7(#11) 1+(2)+3+#4+5+7 CM7(#11)
Add ninth (9) 1+2+3+5 Cadd9
Major seventh ninth M7(9) M9 or maj9 1+2+3+(5)+7 CM7(9) or CM9 or CΔ9
Sixth ninth 6(9) 1+2+3+(5)+6 C6(9)
Flatted fifth (b5) 1+3+b5 Cb5
Augmented aug + 1+3+#5 Caug or C+
Seventh augmented 7aug +5 1+3+#5+b7 C7aug or CM7+5
Major seventh augmented M7aug +M7 or 1+(3)+#5+7 CM7aug or C
Minor m - 1+b3+5 Cm or C-
Minor sixth m6 1+b3+5+6 Cm6
Minor seventh m7 min7 or -7 1+b3+(5)+b7 Cm7 or Cmin7 or C-7
Minor seventh flatted fifth m7b5 Ø or Ø7 1+b3+b5+b7 Cm7(b5) or CØ7
Minor add ninth m(9) 1+2+b3+5 Cm add9
Minor seventh ninth m7(9) 1+2+b3+(5)+b7 Cm7(9)
Minor seventh eleventh m7(11) 1+(2)+b3+4+5+(b7) Cm7(11)
Minor major seventh flatted fifth mM7b5 1+b3+b5+7 CmM7(b5)
Minor major seventh mM7 1+b3+(5)+7 CmM7
Minor major seventh ninth mM7(9) 1+2+b3+(5)+7 CmM7(9)
Diminished dim ° 1+b3+b5 Cdim or C°
Diminished seventh dim7 °7 1+b3+b5+6 Cdim7 or C°7
(Dominant) Seventh 7 1+3+(5)+b7 C7
Seventh suspended fourth 7sus4 1+4+5+b7 C7sus4
Seventh ninth 7(9) 9 1+2+3+(5)+b7 C7(9) or C9
Seventh add sharp eleventh 7(#11) 1+(2)+3+#4+5+b7 C7(#11)
Seventh add thirteenth 7(13) 13 1+3+(5)+6+b7 C7(13) or C13
Seventh flatted fifth 7b5 1+3+b5+b7 C7(b5)
Seventh flatted ninth 7(b9) 1+b2+3+(5)+b7 C7(b9)
Seventh add flatted thirteenth 7(b13) 1+3+5+b6+b7 C7(b13)
Seventh sharp ninth 7(#9) 1+#2+3+(5)+b7 C7(#9)
Suspended fourth sus4 1+4+5 Csus4
One plus two plus five sus2 1+2+5 Csus2
cancel 1+b2+2 Cancel

Wikipedia has a large set of articles about chords, in particular:

Resources for learning music theory


Jazz improvisation

Marc Sabetella, a Jazz music teacher an musician put together an outstanding set of educational materials available at outsideshore, in particular: