Michael Phils Music ebook

How do you locate the rootless form of a chord?



As the name implies, “Rootless” means there’s no root in the chord.

Rootless chords are chords without the root present.

It is believed that every chord can be seen as a rootless form of another chord.

How do we locate the rootless form of a chord?


Tonic solfa of Oshimiri Atata by Preye Odede

Look deep

Let’s try an example using a normal Cmajor triad as C-E-G

If you look deep you’ll find out that its also a Rootless Amin7[A-C-E-G]

Did you see the Cmaj triad in the Amin7 chord as A/CEG which is A/Cmaj.

Another rootless chord will be Abmaj7#5 [Ab-C-E-G]

Which is simply Ab/C-E-G.

I believe you’re following up?

I guess so:

Let’s try another example using F minor triad as F-Ab-C

Look it at the triad very well you’ll see a Dmin7b5[D-F-Ab-C] chord.

Your ability to locate chords makes this easy.

It can also be seen as a Rootless Dbmaj7 chord as Db-F-Ab-C.

Now you try this.

Find the Rootless form of the following chords

> D minor [D-F-A]

> F7 tetrad [F-A-C-Eb]

> G diminish triad [G-Bb-Db]

> C dim7[C-Eb-Gb-Bbb]

> Ebmin7[Eb-Gb-Bb-Db]

There are several principle for detecting a rootless chord.

Let me share just one today.

“Every Altered dominant chord has its Rootless form a tritone interval away from its root”

Let’s try few example.

E7#5#9 as E-G#-B#-D-Fx [Enharmonically; E-G#-C-D-G] will have its rootless from a tritone away from the root which is E

So the tritone will be Bb.

Adding Bb to the chord we’ll have

Bb + E-G#-C-D-G

Juxtaposing it in stack of 3rd, we’ll have

Bb-D-Ab-C-E-G which is a Bb13#11 chord Harmonize from Bb Overtone scale [Bb-C-D-E-F-G-Ab

Also called Bb Lydian dominant scale or Bb Dominant #4 scale.

In modern music; Rootless chords had evolve from being a chord without the root note present.

Now you see a chord called rootless but the root is present in it but “Not in root position”

An example makes this better.

Cmaj7 in second inversion [EGBC] and third inversion [GBCE] can be termed Rootless.

Because the Root [C] is not the lowest note.


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