Guitar chords definition and basic concepts

Learning guitar chords basic concepts.

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The union of three or more notes played simultaneously is called a Chord.

Chord Etymology: Variant of cord, with spelling alteration due to Latin chorda (“cord”), ultimately from Ancient Greek (Doric) χορδά (khordá), (Ionic) χορδή (khordḗ, “string of gut, the string of a lyre”). A harmonic set of three or more notes that is heard as if sounding simultaneously.

How to play

Chords are always divided, or played in Arpeggios, thus, the notes are played one after the other, from the lowest to the highest, but sufficiently quick to produce the effect of their being struck together.


All the notes of the chord should sound well.

Left hand

It is necessary that the fingers of the left hand should be curved, pressing the strings near the frets without affecting the vibration of the other strings.

3 notes chord

If the chord to be played is composed of three notes, no matter which strings, they are to be played with the thumb, 1st and 2nd fingers.

4 notes chord

If composed of four notes, the 3rd finger must be added.

5 or 6 notes chord

If of five or six notes, the thumb must play the two or three lowest notes by sliding from one string to the other, and the fingers take the three other strings

Right hand

The fingers of the right hand should be placed against the strings intended to be struck and not to be moved but to put the strings in motion.


  • “Of the Chords.” New and Improved Method for the Guitar, by Matteo Carcassi, Boston : Oliver Ditson & Co, 1853, p. 15.,
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Guitar chord Basic concepts and definitions.

Basic musical concepts. Understand musical terminology and how concepts relate to each other.
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