Chord components

Chord symbols consist of a root and a quality, with intervals, alterations, and an altered bass note included if required.


The root note of the chord, expressed either as a note name or as a specific degree of a scale.


Defines the type of chord, such as major, minor, diminished, augmented, half-diminished, or with added note, such as six or nine.


Chord symbols can include one or more added intervals, such as a major seventh or ninth. Intervals in chord symbols are also known as “extensions”.


Define notes in chords that are different to what is normally expected of that chord. For example, a sharpened fifth, flattened ninth, suspensions, or omissions.

Altered bass note

A chord symbol has an altered bass note if the lowest pitch of a chord is not its root note, such as Cm75/E.