Slash Chords - Part 2

Once again we are dealing with slash chords in descending bassline progressions. This time also starting from minor and minor 7th chords. We will learn, that it can sometimes be better to write chord names in a way that doesn't describe the chord in the most correct way but therefor makes it easier to read and understand in a certain context.

Descending bass starting with a major chord

Major triad with 3rd as lowest tone

In the first lesson on slash chords we used a major chord with it's 3rd in the bass (here it's G/B). Example progressions heve been demonstrated here.

The chord diagram shows one of many possible chord shapes for a G/B on the guitar.

Only the bass tone descends

Now we don't descend via G/B. Instead we just lower the bass tone by a half step going from C down to B.

The chord diagram shows one of many possible guitar chord shapes for a C/B chord.

All root tones descend

If we not only lower the bass note itself but all of the C's we can find in our chord shape instead, we'll end up having an Em chord with B in the bass (Em/B). That may be a little bit confusing, causing the player to search for a whole new chord shape instead of just moving the few relevant tones.

In practice a trick is often used: we pretend starting from a Cmaj7 chord shape, now lowering the bass note by a half step. We name the chord Cmaj7/B ("C major seven over B") regardless of the fact that we have no more C in the chord at all by now.

That results in faster reading and probably exacly the chord we want to hear. At least for most of us guitar players the following two lines mean exactly the same:

Strictly speaking the C/B chord from above could even more likely be written as a Cmaj7/B chord, because it contains all the notes of a Cmaj7. But normally it isn't necessary to note the function of the bass tone (here: maj7) on the left side of the slash.

On the next page we are starting with minor and minor 7th chords...

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