Chords with only two notes?

• Sep 29, 2020 - 23:08

Is there a chord where you only have two notes (eg: D & F#, B & D, Bb & Db)? If yes, what is the chord name and is that kind of chord in Musescore?


The usual definition of chord does suggest there are at least three notes, but that doesn't mean all three are actually played. So, for instance, depending on the context, D & F# is "probably" going to be heard an A chord in which someone didn't happen to play the A. It would not be common to notate that specially, you'd just write "D" and then the player reading it can decide for himself how to voice the chord.

If you specifically need only the two exact notes D & F# played, no others, best to just write the notes out and not bother with chord symbols, they aren't really intended for that. They are intended more to give a general idea of the harmony, and like I said, it's probably really a D chord. We'd need to see it in context to be sure what the best name to call it would be.

If this is part of a D chord, it can be written as: D (omit5)
Another possibility is that it is part of the Bm chord: Bm (no-root)
However, it may not be possible to recognize it as a valid chord by any software.

And you better have a good reason to write this like that.
For example: if another instrument is playing other parts of the chord.
But in any case: It would be better to show the notes that need to be played (also) on the staff (and/or tab).

In reply to by xavierjazz

Indeed! The OP was asking for two note chords. I understood the question to be for two note chords in general, even though the provided examples were all a third apart.

And in MuseScore it is possible to write "D5" for a power chord, as the linked wikipedia-page proposes. I don't think the Musescore playback will play only the root and fifth though. But I have not checked.

In reply to by AndreasKågedal

It does :-). Also, D(no5) works to get just D & F#. But the bigger questions still remain - what is one's purpose in writing the chord symbol, what is the actual musical context in which those two notes seem appropriate, and what other notes might then also be present in the melody or might seem appropriate to add when creating accompaniment or an improvised melody, etc. Because all of that is important in deciding how to represent the harmony as a chord symbol.

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