I'm writing a song on my non-native instrument piano, and my college music theory is old enough to be failing me.  The song is in the key of E, and the main melody/harmony moves while keeping an E as the bass note.  So the first chord is E, made up of E, B, and G# -- just your regular major chord.  The third chord in the line is an A/E, made up of E, C#, and A.  The chord in between them is an E, A, and F#.  What would you call that chord?  It's not a D/E, because I'm not using the D note.  It's not really an F#m/E, because I'm not using the C# note.  I suppose it is closer to F#m/E than to D/E though just in sound.  What would you write it as?

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Eadd9 or E2 ??
Classically you would form the chord from the bass note as root. If the chord is E major then the F# is the 9th tension and the A is 11th tension. You could write it as E11 (because that includes the 9 but that chord would also assume the seventh - D - which you do not want as a color in this chord). I'm not positive but I think you would have to make it something like E add 9,11. But personally unless you really dislike the D in there, I'd leave it as E11 because it doesn't mean you have to play every note of that particular chord (but in a band some of the instruments may choose to add the D and it would blend fine with what you're playing on the keys). However, I notice that you like the C# better than the D which is interesting as that's the 13th tension - so E13 (but again that assumes inclusion of the seventh note).

Not sure if that helps you at all but I'm pretty sure I'd leave it as E11 (or D/E) (alternatively E13 or F#m/E) and if you want to indicate specifically which notes to play, I'd probably notate exactly what I wanted (even if for just that part of the song).

I'm enough of a music geek that I'm really interested to hear what others suggest :-)
I would say, in the nature of the pedal tone being E and the chord sequence I guess you are creating, it sound more like Esus4+9-5! Hope you're good at algebra! Just that it sounds like a very suspended E with the addition of the 2nd (9th), and the 5th (B) not being used. I guess the A/E semi-resolves the suspended E. That's what it sounds like to me anyway. Have fun.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. Definitely not an E2/Eadd9 because of the A in it.

Andrea, I originally notated it as an E11 but as you said that assumes the 7th -- and I believe it's technically the Major 7th that is assumed, which would be a D#. I definitely don't want that.

It won't probably matter much except in my own head. I plan to notate the piano part for my players -- but my guitar players won't know what to do with an 11 -- they will just play E anyway!

Matt: "Esus4+9-5" made me almost pass out.
Hi, Actually E11 has a dominant seventh - so just a D natural which can work. Emaj11 would have the major seventh and I'm with you...ick!! :-) Good luck. BTW, I noodled with different guitar chords and the piano chord and I thought my favorite was a Esus2 which adds the A to the E chord and sounds pretty cool I thought.
Normally if I was writing on guitar that's probably what I would have done. But I heard this intro on piano so I sat down to figure it out, and ended up with not only the A there, but also the F# for a harmony line. I suppose the guitars could play an E2 and it would sound good. But then an E2 isn't easy to grab unless you play it capo'd in another chord form like D2 or A2.
Yup, grab your guitar and figure it out!
I would go with the Esus2 or maybe F#m/E - another alternative is B/E (if you are using D#)

E Esus2 A/E

or

E B/E A/E

both are common P/W guitar progressions...
I'd prefer something much simpler like an Em/F#. I know this takes away your A note but I love the emphasise on the B. Having said that, it depends what you are looking for and what fits with your harmony, I swap and change chords all the time to fit with a harmony I have in my head, makes no difference to the lead singer, but a one note can make the world of difference to the harmony.

Nice chord BTW.
F#m7 no5??

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