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C - Open Position and Movable Forms

'Si' – the Spanish chord. Just kidding, you typical first chord.

PUBLISHED: Dec 28, 2010 • UPDATED: Mar 18, 2011 • LESSON CODE: UL73 • VISITS: 22

ukulele Subjects: chordsbeginnerintermediatecore

C - Open Position and Movable Forms

Open position C and its movable form and variations.

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Open Position Chord

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An open position A major chord can be played with any finger. All depends on the context of its use. Typically played with either fingers one and two or two and three.

Movable Form Chord

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Note Regarding Chord Photos

Photos of chords can not typically show efficient fingering technique. Comprises need to be made to show only the fingers playing or fretting notes. Fingers should remain over the fingerboard even when not playing notes - ready to go, which typically does not make for a good photo.

Two Roots?

In the open position and movable forms of this chord there are two possible locations for the root or letter of the chord.

String three and string one both contain the root of the chord and can used for transposition purposes.

Movable Chord Forms

trans_ExampleMovable chord forms are chords containing no open strings. These chords are transposable to different keys by moving the chord form the same number of frets up and down the neck.

Each movable form is based on a common open position chord. These movable forms allow you to play chords not found in the open position.

Movable form chords allow you to play in any key and transpose chords, progressions and songs to any key. From basic movable form chords more advanced chords can be created.

The functional range of a movable form chord up the fingerboard of your ukulele depends on the ukulele's size (soprano, concert or tenor), the number of frets to the body (10, 12, 14, etc) and whether you have a cut-away for access to higher frets. Not all chords can be transposed a complete octave (12 frets).

Movable form chords can be used along with open position chords. As you learn more movable form chords you'll have a variety of alternate voicings for any given chord.

Movable form chords can be transposed up and down the fingerboard using the root of the chord and a transposition chart.

Transposing Movable Form Chords

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These lessons use the root of a chord to transpose to different keys.

Determine what string the root is on or would be on if not present in the chord's voicing.

Chord Transposition Chart

This transposition chart can be used for any chord where the root, or letter name of the chord is on the C string .

transposition chart for C

The root is on string 3, the C string.

Use the Root or implied root of the chord to transpose to different keys.

Ukulele ChordsA larger sized transposition chart is available in my book Ukulele Chords . This is the book these expanded chord lessons are based on.

Chord Tones - C E G

The chord tones of a C major chord are the 1st, 3rd and 5th scale degrees of the C Major Scale ( C D E F G A B C' ) or C E G

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  • 1 - the Root or letter name of C is C
  • 3 - the third of C is E
  • 5 - the fifth of C is G

Chord Fingering

Chord fingering is dependent on several factors. The chord your on, the previous chord, the next chord, your hand and fingers. All chord fingerings shown are recommended fingerings and not mandatory. Most chords have alternate fingerings dependent on the context. The same chord might even be fingered one way in one part of a song or progression and an alternate fingering in another part.

Derived Chords

sus or suspended Chords

A sus chord implies the suspension of the third of a major, minor or seventh chord. The most common and historical use of this suspension involves raising the third of a major or seventh chord to the fourth for a sus4, or 7sus4. In some contemporary music, the suspension can also be accomplished by lowering the third of a major or minor chord to a second for a sus2 chord.

The term is borrowed from the contrapuntal technique of suspension, where a note from a previous chord is carried over to the next chord, and then resolved down to the third or tonic, suspending a note from the previous chord. However, in modern usage, the term concerns only the notes played at a given time; in a suspended chord, the added tone does not necessarily resolve and is not necessarily "prepared" (i.e., held over) from the prior chord.

add2/add9 Chords

Technically the add 2 and add 9 are different chords. Both the 2 and the 9 are the same letters but in different octaves. For all practical purposes, you can treat both the add2 and add9 chords as the same. Depending on whether you are using a low "G" or high "G", C tuning the added ninth might be a second. Whether you call it an add9 or add2 depends on whether the added note is in the same octave as the root of the chord.

Power Five Chords

A Power 5 chord contains the root and fifth of a major scale with an optional octave of the root added for a three note power 5 chord. A power 5 chord is technically not a chord in the traditional sense but a dyad or interval. It's more of an implied chord sometimes major and sometimes minor.

7th (pronounced Seventh)

A partial seventh chord can be created by lowering the Root of a major triad two frets.

A seventh chord as a 4-part chord ( 1 3 5 b7 ) and one of the Big Six core chords used to derive other contemporary and jazz chords.

A Seventh chord along with your basic major and minor chords are the msot common chord you will encounter.

NOTE: A Seventh chord is very often referred to as a Dominant Seventh . This is not always accurate as Dominant — is a chord function and not actually part of a chord name, which is a capital letter and chord type information not it's harmonic function. We don't call a seventh functioning as a I chord in a blues a Tonic Seventh or the IV chord a Sub-Dominant chord, etc...

Major Seventh Chords, maj7

A major 7 chord is created by raising the flat seven of a seventh chord one fret.

A major 7 can also be created from a major triad by lowering the root one fret.

6 or maj6

The major 6 or 6th chord is created by lowering the b7 of a seventh chord one fret. An example would be from C7 ( C E G Bb ) lower the Bb one fret to A for C6 ( C E G A ).

The major 6 can also be created from a major seventh chord by lower the seventh two frets. An example would be from Cmaj7 ( C E G B ) lower the B two frets to to A for C6 ( C E G A ).

9th Chords

A 9th chord is a 5-part chord.

For a 5-part 9th chord, the root is implied and displaced for the ninth. Optionally the 3rd of a 7th chord can be lowered two frets (a whole step) for 1 9 5 b7. This really works if you have already played the chord with the third present and establishing the color of the chord.

To create a ninth chord raise the root of a 4-part chord two frets. This applies to a 7th, maj7, m7, 6, m6, m7b5, etc… Most all 4-part chords can be turned into ninth chords. For a 7th chord this would be a 9 3 5 b7.

This same process can be applied to a triad by raising the root two frets. For these chords they are typically called add2 or add9 chords.

Chords are pretty flexible and can be implied by containing the notes of the chord that make it different then another chord types with the same root. Take C and Cm, C is C **E** G and Cm is C **Eb** G. The third of the chord the E or Eb is a color tone and is responsible for making a major chord different sounding then a minor chord with the same root.

Chord Progressions

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If you ukulele does not allow access to the higher frets for a particular chord, then substitute another movable form chord lower down the neck or an open position chord.

PRACTICE NOTE: To gain the most from these chord lessons and the practice progressions, memorize the location of each chord and the name of the chord.

I've pulled this trick question on a few of my private students after they have played a chord in a lesson. Typically this happens at the beginning of a lesson before we actually get into the lesson. I'll ask them to play a chord that I just saw them play. I'll say; "Play a D chord." Some will say they don't know chord so and so and yet it's a chord they just played. Don't let a chord get lost in a particular song or progression. Know its name and it belongs to you for using elsewhere.

Videos

Videos for C - Open Position and Movable Forms.

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Ukulele Chord a Day, January 1st - C

What better way than to start the new year off with learning a new ukulele chord every day of the year. The chord for January 1st is C.

The C chord is typically the first chord all new ukulele players learn, uses a single finger and is relatively easy to play on ukulele. The C chord is a major chord type and the most common chord type. The major part of the chord is seldom written and almost never pronounced - simply say C.

The C chord is responsible for getting more people hooked on the ukulele than any other chord. Even if you already know this C chord I've included a lot more information regarding the C Chord. So take a look and around.

In the common keys of C, F, and G - C functions as a "primary" chord.

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Related Lessons

Related Lessons for C - Open Position and Movable Forms at this time.

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Your First `Ukulele Chord • Updated: Feb 29, 2016

The FIRST chord every `ukulele player learns is C or C major.

Key Signatures - C Major and A Minor • Updated: Sep 21, 2011

Sometimes called the learning key, the key of C Major is one of the easiest keys to memorize and begin using.

Related Books

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Ukulele Chords - C Tuning
Updated: Aug 31, 2019

The ukulele chord book for every ukulele gig bag or case. New Updated 2 Printing.

Related Lesson Series

Related Lessons Series for C - Open Position and Movable Forms at this time.

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Chord a Day - January
Updated: Apr 1, 2020

Learn a new chord a day for the month of January.

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