Join Julian Velard for an in-depth discussion in this video Slash chords or upper structures, part of Music Theory for Songwriters: Harmony.
- We commonly refer to chords that have triads…on top of bass notes other than the root…as slash chords, or upper structures.…Here is an example of one.…A slash chord is written with the chord on the left side…of the slash, and the note that designates which note…we play in the bass on the right side of the slash.…The upper structure is in reference to the triad…that's formed above the bass note.…Let's take a look at that chord again.…
Here we have what's called a C/D.…The C appears on the left side of the slash,…the D appears on the right side of the slash,…and you'll see we have a C major triad…on top of a D bass note.…A slash chord is used anytime a note is to be played…in the bass other than the root of the chord.…Slash chords can be used to represent when the third…or the fifth is to be played in the bass,…as in C/E or C/G.…
Here's C/E, right?…We've got a C major triad,…and we've got the third in the bass.…And here's C/G.…Here's our C major triad,…and we have the fifth in the bass, G.…We can also use them to designate a voicing preference.…
In this installment, musician Julian Velard digs into more intermediate-level music theory topics. Starting with minor scales, he shows examples of classic songs in minor keys, and then explores the modes of the diatonic scale (e.g., the mixolydian mode). Next, Julian dives into chords with 4 or more notes, covering 7th chords, chord extensions (e.g., 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths), suspended chords, diminished chords, augmented chords, and inversions. Finally, he covers key centers, modulations, pedal points, alternate bass notes, and polychords. At the end of each chapter, Julian explains the techniques shown within the context of his own original songs.
- Working in minor scales
- Using Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, and Mixolydian modes to write songs
- Extending chords
- Using 7th chords in a song
- Transposing a song
- Building different harmonies from a single melody