Guide to Chord Formation by Howard Wright (Howard@jmdl.com)
Chapter 7 : X/Y Type Chords

7.0 : X/Y type chords

This seems to be a commonly misunderstood term.

If a chord is written as something like C/G then it simply means that you play the chord given by the first letter, with the bass note given by the second letter - in this example, we have C major with a G bass note.

Chords like these may have a bass note which is already part of the chord itself, as in this example (C major is made up of the notes C E G, so the G bass is part of the chord) or they may have a bass note which is 'outside' the chord, something like E/A (A is not part of the E major chord).

Working out what notes are in these type of chords presents no extra problems - simply work out the notes in the chord given by the first letter, then add the bass note.

These X/Y type of chords can get more complicated than straight major/minor chords with things like Asus2/C#, but the principle is the same.

To work out this chord, start with Asus2.


spelling = 1st 2nd 5th

Look up the intervals in the table of intervals to get the number of semitones you have to count up for each note.

2nd = 2 semitones up from A = B
5th = 7 semitones up from A = E

So Asus2 = A B E

Therefore Asus2/C# = C# A B E
.
(It's standard practice to 'spell' chords from low to high.)


Guide to Chord Formation by Howard Wright
Reformatted and noded (with permission) by Space Butler
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