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  #1  
Old 01-07-2019, 07:37 AM
ssjk ssjk is offline
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Default Is there a technical name for a “slash” chord?

Subject came up in a beginners group I have been working with. We know that when we see Em/F# for example it means play an Em chord with a F# bass note. I don’t think “inversion” covers it because I sometimes see notes that are not in the listed chord. Anybody know of a more precise name than slash chord?

Thanks.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:18 AM
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Erithon Erithon is offline
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In some cases you should still think of it as an inversion: Em/F#, for example, is an inversion of an Em9 [or perhaps Em(add9) if there is no D] chord. True, it just says "Em," but if an F# is heard it will sound like a 9th even if it's in the bass. Inversion applies to extended chords as well as triads.

In other cases, it is probably better to think of it less in terms of vertical analysis (what harmony it is) and more in terms of the horizontal motion of the bass line. Context will determine this, but you could have a bass line that is acting as a pedal or moving in a way that doesn't fit into basic analysis and thus is best not considered in such terms.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:41 AM
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:49 AM
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OK to try and answer the actual question:

No, I don't think there is an official name for "slash" or "bass over" chords.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:18 AM
ssjk ssjk is offline
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Thanks to all. Yeah, I figured it is more of a convention than some real theoretical construct. I like bass over though. Sounds more elegant than slash.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:30 AM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssjk View Post
Subject came up in a beginners group I have been working with. We know that when we see Em/F# for example it means play an Em chord with a F# bass note. I don’t think “inversion” covers it because I sometimes see notes that are not in the listed chord. Anybody know of a more precise name than slash chord?

Thanks.
Saul Hudson chord?

Sorry, couldn't resist.

As to Frank Hudson's chords. There's a lot to be said for the slash notation if you hear that F# in the bass. If you'd play that F# in the treble register instead (for example on the high E string) I call it E(add9). For whatever reasons, I'm partial to sus2 and add9 chords when I compose, so I might think of it as add9, even when the F# is the lowest note when in composition mode.

The main reason to mull over these names is when you're trying to convey to someone else using a simple chord chart how you want the chord to sound.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:53 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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When communicating them, I usually just say "over."

Em over F#, for example.

I avoid calling them inversions--even if they are, as the bass note can really effect what you're hearing...for example, A/G. Sure, it's an A7 with the 7th in the bass...but it sure doesn't "function" as an A7!
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:53 AM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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I appreciate chord notation that tells me more easily what notes to fret on the fretboard, thus slash chord notations are often the ticket.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:36 AM
dkstott dkstott is offline
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sometimes it seems to depend on the context of the genre of music being played



Take the example of : Am / C (A minor chord with a C in the bass)

Folk / acoustic players regularly call it Am / C

Jazz players call it a C6th and tend to refuse any other name.



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Old 01-07-2019, 11:20 AM
Brent Hahn Brent Hahn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkstott View Post
Jazz players call it a C6th and tend to refuse any other name.
I've never heard a jazz player say that sort of thing.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssjk View Post
Subject came up in a beginners group I have been working with. We know that when we see Em/F# for example it means play an Em chord with a F# bass note. I don’t think “inversion” covers it because I sometimes see notes that are not in the listed chord. Anybody know of a more precise name than slash chord?

Thanks.
Hi ssjk

In classical theory a slash chord is referred to as Figured Bass.

And it can be used with roman numerals or in Nashville Numbering they are altered to add symbols figured bass doesn't include (for major and minor chords) and as musical shorthand (both are that).

Here are three examples…
A passage labeled in figured bass then the second example where the figured bass spells out the chords which are written (indicates the specific bass and inversion of each chord)





This passage is similar to above, without accidental flats/sharps added






A final example of just bass and the figured bass notation indicating which inversions to use (you can build the entire chord from the figured bass descriptions). Accidentals were added to the figured bass symbol, not indicated on the staff…


For modern casual usage (outside of classical composition or arranging, and perhaps playing in a jazz group) it is unnecessary to learn figured bass, and Nashville numbering, or slash chords added to Chord notation are more than adequate to produce the desired results.




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Old 01-07-2019, 10:14 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssjk View Post
Subject came up in a beginners group I have been working with. We know that when we see Em/F# for example it means play an Em chord with a F# bass note. I don’t think “inversion” covers it because I sometimes see notes that are not in the listed chord. Anybody know of a more precise name than slash chord?

Thanks.
They are 1 of 2 chord types:

An Inversion - a note from the chord, other than the root, as the bass note. e.g. A/C#

A Hybrid Chord (sometimes called "alternate bass") - adding a non-chord tone bass note. This is often used when there is a pedal tone/drone thing going on in the bass. e.g. || D / / / | G/D / / / | A/D / / / || (the A/D is the hybrid chord here, the G/D is an inversion)

Those are the official "music school" designations for the 2 options of slash chord notation.

When you have the horizontal line it is a Compound Chord (2 triads played together). But thats a different thing altogether.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:51 PM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DupleMeter View Post
When you have the horizontal line it is a Compound Chord (2 triads played together). But thats a different thing altogether.
Polychord (a type of compound chord)
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:42 PM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Polychord (a type of compound chord)
We called them Compound Chords at Berklee
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:52 PM
1neeto 1neeto is offline
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I’d listen to the Berkeley guys. For me, I call those chords “whatever chord with whatever note on the bass”. So a C with a G on the bass I just call it C with the G on bass. As long as the bass notes are on the triad, then slash chords can be called like that since those bass notes don’t affect the quality of the chord.
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