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Originally Posted by Bass Thumper
This is my understanding of the diminished chord spellings.
The notes are correct but I think that that there are a couple of spellings that should change.

Fdim would be F Ab Cb
A#dim would be A# C# E


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Gordon is correct about the spellings.


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Originally Posted by Gordon Scott
The notes are correct but I think that that there are a couple of spellings that should change.

Fdim would be F Ab Cb
A#dim would be A# C# E
Yeah, this is that enharmonic thing again.
I'm not sure if there is an absolute crisp solution that fully answers this.

This image is from pianochord.org but I'm not sure that even this is the "truth" . . .

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Originally Posted by Bass Thumper
Yeah, this is that enharmonic thing again.
I'm not sure if there is an absolute crisp solution that fully answers this.

If I may - you are playing the music not writting it - right? So root, minor third and flattened fifth is all you need to know to play a dim chord in any key.


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Originally Posted by Bass Thumper
Yeah, this is that enharmonic thing again.
I'm not sure if there is an absolute crisp solution that fully answers this.
Up above I gave you a quick guideline you can use when unsure: skip a letter. So if you start with A#, the next note has to be some form of C (not B, and not D). Then some form of E (not D, not F). Make sense? As far as I know, this trick always works, although it can lead you into situations of double flats or double sharps. Pick your poison.

And I don't remember if anyone above mentioned another guideline, but I really detest mixing sharps and flats in the same chord spelling. For example, you would not want to write something like C, Eb, F# (though that example also fails the 'skip a letter' test).

Does that help? If you get stuck, you can always throw in Mike's wildcard F.


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Originally Posted by Bass Thumper
Originally Posted by Gordon Scott
The notes are correct but I think that that there are a couple of spellings that should change.

Fdim would be F Ab Cb
A#dim would be A# C# E
Yeah, this is that enharmonic thing again.
I'm not sure if there is an absolute crisp solution that fully answers this.

This image is from pianochord.org but I'm not sure that even this is the "truth" . . .

I reckon rule 1 is to not get too hung up about it.

I think rule 2 is probably that sometimes things are debatable. MarioD said that the 'old way' he used was that a chord should have the same #/b symbols as the scale it's in, which would mean in his rules my + or #5 should be a b6, but to me the chord is still a triad, so it should contain the 5 of whatever persuasion.

For me the most important thing is about which notes in the chord I should raise or lower by a semitone (or two in the case of a fully diminished). Generally when one does that the notes do keep the same #/b symbol as the scale.

There's a fairly full explanation on the Hear & Play website, which follows the "same #/b" rule, but I think it doesn't mention ... oh, yes it does and get this ...
In one lesson it has:
Quote
The use of the sharp symbol should “raise” a red flag. It’s wrong to have a sharp symbol in the spelling of a flat-based major scale. Always remember that.
and in another it has
Quote
Some musicians don’t understand why I mixed sharps and flats.

Somewhere in their musical journey, they learned that either chords are sharp-based or flat-based (similar to how major keys either have all sharps or all flats). But this is wrong when it comes to sharping and flatting degrees.

In truth, I personally think the contradiction is probably unavoidable. It's a useful website, though mostly piano-oriented. It has 7 pages of explanation on this, which definitely indicates that it isn't always obvious: https://www.hearandplay.com/main/proper-spelling-of-chords

Remember my rule 1. laugh


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Oh, here we go. We're back to talking about the diagram entries as if these are chords in a key signature. Very well.

Nothing is absolute about this stuff.

When writing for orchestra or big band, I may very well write notes with sharps in a flatted key signature. Why? Well, I don't want to be changing the key signature all the time, but a certain section (even a few bars) may have a different tonal center (example: we are humming along in Eb, but for four bars, it apparently modulates to A. Is it worth changing the key signature for four bars? I think No). The players will understand as long as you're consistent.

Another general rule is to write sharps if it's an ascending line, flats if it's a descending line. But I break that rule all the time. Pick your poison: you'll often not be able to comply with every guideline out there.


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DrDan #781625 11/08/23 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by MusicStudent
Originally Posted by Bass Thumper
Yeah, this is that enharmonic thing again.
I'm not sure if there is an absolute crisp solution that fully answers this.

If I may - you are playing the music not writting it - right? So root, minor third and flattened fifth is all you need to know to play a dim chord in any key.
Thank you Dan, you are right.

My goals for these tables are to be valuable tools for rapidly developing better bass lines; and they have already achieved that goal. Being absolutely musically "correct" as would be required by an orchestra conductor for example is not my primary goal. With any tool, it should be useful to the user. I do want them to be as correct as possible but only to the extent that they remain useful tools.

Put another way, I'd rather be a happy, productive, semi-ignorant, non-music scholar who can have fun learning new songs using imperfect tools rather than being frustrated and roadblocked because I can't understand the tools I've created. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be a music scholar but that's simply out of reach.

All that said, I defer to Gordon and Matt who obviously know much more than me in this area and so I made the changes. "Cb" shouldn't slow me down, I know that's equivalent to "B". But double sharps and double flats is another story entirely.

All is well, learning and stretching are good things smile

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Originally Posted by Matt Finley
Up above I gave you a quick guideline you can use when unsure: skip a letter. So if you start with A#, the next note has to be some form of C (not B, and not D). Then some form of E (not D, not F). Make sense? As far as I know, this trick always works, although it can lead you into situations of double flats or double sharps. Pick your poison.

I'm just now learning that a poison must be picked; I must say that I'm a tad disappointed in the math-music connection because (as I understand it) poison is not required in math smile But now that I ponder this skip-a-letter-rule I somehow like it. Alphabetically speaking, it is pleasing to the eye, for what that's worth.

And I don't remember if anyone above mentioned another guideline, but I really detest mixing sharps and flats in the same chord spelling. For example, you would not want to write something like C, Eb, F# (though that example also fails the 'skip a letter' test).

Once again, I like this rule too. But as you say, one rule may end up breaking the requirements of another rule.

Does that help? If you get stuck, you can always throw in Mike's wildcard F.

I suppose, this does help, despite the fact that back when Dan introduced me to this subject regarding Am and minor chords my head wasn't spinning; now is a different story. I'm gonna ask my wife to bring me a beer, a brandy AND a whiskey smile

One thing I think I know, is we don't want to introduce that "F" !

Last edited by Bass Thumper; 11/08/23 11:32 AM.

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Originally Posted by Bass Thumper
[color:#3333FF]I suppose, this does help, despite the fact that back when Dan introduced me to this subject regarding Am and minor chords my head wasn't spinning; now is a different story. smile

Your welcome! grin


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A beer sounds just fine after wading through this thread.


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Thump, if you are learning, why not learn it right? A B is also a Cb depending on the key. Embrace that.


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Originally Posted by Matt Finley
Oh, here we go. We're back to talking about the diagram entries as if these are chords in a key signature. Very well.

Nothing is absolute about this stuff.

When writing for orchestra or big band, I may very well write notes with sharps in a flatted key signature. Why? Well, I don't want to be changing the key signature all the time, but a certain section (even a few bars) may have a different tonal center (example: we are humming along in Eb, but for four bars, it apparently modulates to A. Is it worth changing the key signature for four bars? I think No). The players will understand as long as you're consistent.

Another general rule is to write sharps if it's an ascending line, flats if it's a descending line. But I break that rule all the time. Pick your poison: you'll often not be able to comply with every guideline out there.

I personally don't like key signature changes for just a few bars. I would rather just read the accidentals, especially if I am sight reading something and didn't even get the time to look it over enough to see those key changes. But, as I had said before, for me it doesn't really make much difference if you write Cb I still know where it is and what it is even if it is not normally written that way.


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Originally Posted by etcjoe
I personally don't like key signature changes for just a few bars. I would rather just read the accidentals, especially if I am sight reading something and didn't even get the time to look it over enough to see those key changes. But, as I had said before, for me it doesn't really make much difference if you write Cb I still know where it is and what it is even if it is not normally written that way.
I too can handle Cb, it's the double sharps and douple flats that explode my head.

Also, FWIW, I don't read sheet music, I either play by ear or from chord sheets. And I enter chords into BiaB. Obviously my music theory is weak but growing. My understanding is that the chord spelling tables I'm putting together are completely independent of any key(s) the song may be in. In other words, these tables work for all keys. They are simply intended to show how chords are constructed (which is turning out to be valuable to me in at least 2 ways).


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I'm for whatever makes the chart easier to sightread, and accidentals don't bother me one bit.

Double sharps and double flats will take a microsecond to register when sightreading, but the second time around they will be fine.

Any difficult piece of music will find me in the woodshed.

If the rhythm is tricky, I'll count it off in rhythm using 1 E & A 2 E & A … or 1 A LY … and so on. My first band director taught me that, and his words are ringing in my head today, “If you can say it, you can play it.”

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Originally Posted by Notes Norton
I'm for whatever makes the chart easier to sightread
+1
I'm (albeit slowly) reaching this position.
Nobody listens to a song for enjoyment and asks "Does his chord spelling tables meet my approval?"
Or says "If this guy doesn't know how to read sheet music I'm not gonna like his songs."

That said, correct music notation is very important (even crucial) in some contexts but it isn't the end all and be all.

Just my 2 cents.


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Music notation is crucial to everything I do. But that's just me.


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All I can add is this. If I am playing a chart for a song in E and I see an Ab instead of a G# my brain goes out of automatic pilot and back to manual flight and for just that halfof an eye blink I am lost, because there's no Ab in the key of E.

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I wouldn't put an Ab in an E chart, because the key signature already instructs all the G notes to be sharped, unless there is a natural sign in front of it. An Ab only becomes a stumbling block. As you pointed out Eddie, the Ab takes you out of autopilot while reading. That makes the chart more difficult to read.

There may be an exception if a song temporarily goes into a flat key for an amount of time too short to bother with a new key signature.

The chart should be as easy to read as possible. If I were to make a chart for one specific person, I'd take into account his/her personal experience and needs. If I make charts for everybody, I make it as easy to read as possible, but within the limits of proper notation.

There are certain things you can do. A couple of easy examples are to align codas, segnos and repeat signs to the left-hand side of the page, so people don't have to search for them. Also, put page turns in logical places if possible to make it less disrupting for the reader to move forward.

I write fake book companions for BiaB, and I've come across examples where you have to turn the page, play two or 4 bars, then turn it back for a repeat. Why would anyone do that? I want to tell the publisher to hire a college music student to proofread the book.

The point is that a person may be sightreading the chart. Make it easy for him/her to navigate it.


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A related aside to what Notes just added about making parts for certain people. In addition to transposing instruments that may make switching from flatted key signatures to sharped or vice versa, you can run into the personal preference.

Here’s an example. I double on vibes. With my limited skills, the bar that is F# is always F# in my mind no matter what the key. Sorry, but I have enough to think about hitting the right bar than to read a correct enharmonic of Gb. It’s just not going to happen. Now, put a trumpet in my hands and I’ll read whatever and expect it to be enharmonically the ‘right’ spelling.


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