Sublime Chord: The Secret of the Legendary Song of Creation
Sublime Chord Handbook
If you are looking for a way to spice up your music with some fresh and exciting sounds, you might want to check out sublime chords. Sublime chords are a type of complex chords that can create rich and colorful harmonies, add tension and resolution, and evoke various moods and emotions. In this article, we will explain what sublime chords are, how to construct them using different types of intervals and chord extensions, and how to use them in various musical contexts and genres.
Sublime Chord Handbook
Sublime Chords Explained
Sublime chords are a term coined by the composer and music theorist David Cope, who defined them as "chords that contain at least one interval larger than an octave within the chord". In other words, sublime chords are chords that have notes that are more than an octave apart from each other. For example, a C major triad (C-E-G) is not a sublime chord, but a C major ninth (C-E-G-B-D) is a sublime chord, because the interval between C and D is larger than an octave.
Sublime chords are not a new invention, but rather a way of describing and analyzing some of the chords that have been used by composers throughout history. Sublime chords can be found in various styles of music, such as classical, jazz, rock, pop, film music, and more. Some examples of composers who have used sublime chords in their works are Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Coltrane, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Zimmer, Williams, etc.
Sublime chords have some unique characteristics and properties that make them appealing for music composition. Some of these are:
Sublime chords can create a sense of depth and dimension in the music, by expanding the harmonic space beyond the octave.
Sublime chords can create a sense of contrast and variety in the music, by breaking the conventional rules of chord construction and voice leading.
Sublime chords can create a sense of tension and resolution in the music, by introducing dissonance and consonance within the same chord.
Sublime chords can create a sense of mood and emotion in the music, by implying different modes and scales within the same chord.
Sublime Chord Construction
The basic formula for building sublime chords is to start with a triad (a three-note chord) and then add one or more notes that are more than an octave above or below the root note of the triad. The notes that are added are called chord extensions, which can be ninths (9), elevenths (11), thirteenths (13), or any other higher intervals. The triad can be major (M), minor (m), diminished (dim), augmented (aug), or any other type of triad. The chord extensions can be natural (n), sharp (#), flat (b), or any other alteration.
The role of intervals and chord extensions in creating sublime chords is to add color and complexity to the basic triad, by creating different types of harmonic relationships within the chord. The intervals and chord extensions can be classified into two categories: consonant and dissonant. Consonant intervals and chord extensions are those that sound stable and pleasant, such as perfect fifths (P5), major thirds (M3), major sixths (M6), major sevenths (M7), major ninths (M9), etc. Dissonant intervals and chord extensions are those that sound unstable and harsh, such as minor seconds (m2), tritones (TT), minor sevenths (m7), minor ninths (m9), etc.
The examples and variations of sublime chords in different keys and modes are endless, but here are some common ones that you can try out:
C major ninth
C minor ninth
C dominant ninth
C diminished ninth
C augmented ninth
C major eleventh
C minor eleventh
C dominant eleventh
C diminished eleventh
C augmented eleventh
C major thirteenth
C minor thirteenth
C dominant thirteenth
C diminished thirteenth
C augmented thirteenth
Sublime Chord Application
Now that we know how to construct sublime chords, let's see how we can use them in our music. Sublime chords can serve various harmonic and melodic functions, depending on the context and genre of the music. Here are some common ways to use sublime chords:
Sublime chords can be used as tonic chords, to establish the key and mode of the music. For example, a Cmaj9 chord can be used as a tonic chord in the key of C major or C Lydian mode, creating a bright and spacious sound.
Sublime chords can be used as dominant chords, to create tension and resolution in the music. For example, a C9 chord can be used as a dominant chord in the key of F major or F Dorian mode, creating a strong pull to the tonic chord.
Sublime chords can be used as subdominant chords, to create contrast and variety in the music. For example, a Cm11 chord can be used as a subdominant chord in the key of G minor or G Phrygian mode, creating a dark and mysterious sound.
Sublime chords can be used as passing chords, to create smooth and interesting transitions between other chords. For example, a Cdim11 chord can be used as a passing chord between Bb and Cm in the key of Eb major or Eb Mixolydian mode, creating a chromatic and dissonant sound.
Sublime chords can be used as modal interchange chords, to borrow chords from other modes and create harmonic diversity in the music. For example, a Caug11 chord can be used as a modal interchange chord in the key of C major or C Ionian mode, borrowing from C Lydian b7 mode, creating a sharp and exotic sound.
Sublime chords can be used as melody notes, to create complex and expressive melodies over other chords. For example, a Cmaj13 chord can be used as a melody note over an Am7 chord in the key of A minor or A Aeolian mode, creating a colorful and lyrical sound.
Sublime chords can be used as arpeggios, to create fast and intricate patterns over other chords. For example, a C13 chord can be used as an arpeggio over an Fmaj7 chord in the key of F major or F Lydian mode, creating a jazzy and sophisticated sound.
Sublime chords can be used as pedal points, to create harmonic stability and continuity over changing chords. For example, a Cm13 chord can be used as a pedal point over a chord progression of Cm7-Fm7-Gm7-Abmaj7 in the key of C minor or C Dorian mode, creating a smooth and consistent sound.
In this article, we have learned what sublime chords are, how to construct them using different types of intervals and chord extensions, and how to use them in various musical contexts and genres. Sublime chords are a great way to add richness and variety to your music, by creating chords that contain at least one interval larger than an octave within the chord. Sublime chords can create depth, contrast, tension, resolution, mood, and emotion in your music, by implying different modes and scales within the same chord. We hope that this article has inspired you to experiment with sublime chords in your own music, and to discover new and exciting sounds and possibilities.
Here are some resources and references for further learning and exploration:
Cdim11 Guitar Chord C diminished eleventh Scales-Chords
The Music Theory of Chords: A Complete Guide - Jade Bultitude
Chord Progression Handbook - University of Kansas
Chords Names and Symbols PDF Chord (Music) Interval (Music) - Scribd
What is the difference between a sublime chord and a regular chord?
A sublime chord is a chord that contains at least one interval larger than an octave within the chord, while a regular chord is a chord that contains only intervals smaller than or equal to an octave within the chord.
How do you name a sublime chord?
You name a sublime chord by starting with the root note of the chord, followed by the type of triad (major, minor, diminished, augmented, etc.), followed by the type and number of chord extensions (ninth, eleventh, thirteenth, etc.), followed by any alterations (sharp, flat, etc.). For example, Cmaj9#11 is a sublime chord with C as the root note, major as the type of triad, ninth and eleventh as the types of chord extensions, and sharp as the alteration of the eleventh.
How do you play a sublime chord on guitar?
You play a sublime chord on guitar by finding the notes of the chord on the fretboard and fingering them accordingly. You may need to use different voicings or inversions of the chord to make it playable on guitar. You may also need to omit some notes of the chord if they are too difficult or impractical to play on guitar.
What are some examples of songs that use sublime chords?
Some examples of songs that use sublime chords are:
"Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin (Cmaj9)
"Imagine" by John Lennon (Cmaj7)
"Hotel California" by Eagles (Bm7)
"Giant Steps" by John Coltrane (Bmaj7#11)
"Creep" by Radiohead (Gmaj7)
Why are sublime chords called sublime?
Sublime chords are called sublime because they can create a sense of sublimity in the music, which is a feeling of awe and wonder that transcends the ordinary. Sublime chords can also create a sense of sublimation in the music, which is a process of transforming something lower into something higher. Sublime chords can elevate the music to a higher level of expression and meaning.