ChordMatch Information

Run ChordMatch

Do you ever get completely stuck figuring out one or more chords in a song?  (I do.)  ChordMatch provides a little help by listing chords that contain the melody note -- that is, chords that match any given note.  You provide the name of the melody note (or any note you can identify as part of the mystery chord) and ChordMatch tells you all the common and some not-so-common chords that contain that note.

Methods of Figuring Out Song Chords

As far as I can tell, there are five general alternatives for figuring out the chords to a song from a recording. These are:

  1. Ear via Pitch Recognition.  Some people can hear and identify chords on the basis of a combination of absolute and relative pitch/interval recognition.  Related to "perfect pitch".
  2. Software via Pitch Recognition.  Some available software and numerous research efforts are devoted to determining musical notes and chords from recordings.  It is a difficult signal processing problem, but they are making progress.
  3. Patterns of Common Chord Changes.  For example, many songs have I-IV-I-V-I or ii-V-I changes in them.
  4. Theory.  Music theory lets you know that certain chords are more likely to crop up when you're in specific keys/modes.
  5. Trial and Error (Matching).  This is when you pause the CD, chunk a chord on the guitar, and ask "Does it match?". Often, guesses informed by some knowledge of patterns and theory can make this process pretty efficient -- you only have to try a couple of chords before you find the match. But if you get stuck, this is where ChordMatch can help.

Suggestions for Using ChordMatch

If you're hung up trying to find a chord, try to identify a single note such as the melody note by matching it on the guitar. This works best if you select a note where the melody has "landed" when a chord change takes place.  Try to avoid so-called passing notes which are not a part of the underlying chord. Typically, if the melody lands or pauses for a moment on a new chord, that melody note will be in the chord itself. Of course, the best thing is to hear and match a note that the rhythm instrument is sounding as part of the chord.

Once you've identified a single note that you believe to be in the chord you need, then you simply try all the chords that contain that note and hope you can hear the match <g>. If you include all the extended and altered chords with which a note can fit, and if you don't apply judgment as to which chords to try first, then you're going to be working at it a VERY long time. ChordMatch lists common chords that match your specified note, thus giving you a set of chords to try before pulling out the truly weird ones. ChordMatch chord suggestions are grouped into more-common and less-common matches.

So find your note, get your list of chords to try, and check them one at a time. (I can't help you hear when you've got a match -- it just takes practice.) Don't stop at the first chord that sounds OK, unless you are sure it is exactly right. I've seen quite a few charts on the internet where the person figuring out the chords obviously said "close enough", but their chord selection is wrong and they've basically reharmonized the tune. Keep trying until you find the best chord match.

Good luck, and I hope ChordMatch helps you in your efforts.

Run ChordMatch


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