When I want to write chords I use a quick chord chart notation. There are lots of different ways of doing this, so I wanted to explain how the particular system I've ended up using works. Here's an example:

|: Am AmG Am  CG  Am AmG FG Am :|
|: Am /   AmC DE  Am /   G  Am :|

Compare to chords written above standard musical notation:

Each letter normally represents two beats. When there's a different chord for each beat you write them squished together: "AmG" is two beats, while "Am G" is four. A slash ("/") means to stay on the previous chord for another two beats. There's an extra space every eight beats and a new line every sixteen, so you can keep track of where you are in the form. I'll also add extra spaces to line things up vertically to again make it clearer how it fits the form. It works best in a monospaced font.

Here's another example:

|: A  AD A E  A  AD AE A :|
|: Bm /  A /  Bm /  AE A :|

Sometimes I'll use numbers instead of chord names, to make it easier to think about what's happening musically. The previous tune would be:

|: 1  14 1 5  1  14 15 1 :|
|: 2m /  1 /  2m /  15 1 :|

Note that "14" is "1" and "4" on successive beats, not the fourteenth scale degree.

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5 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 5:53 AM

(I'm surprised at your usage of "beat" here. According to how I'd use the word, these tunes have four beats per bar, not two.

Is it the case that (in the music you play) chord changes occurring on the first or third what-I'd-call-beat in a bar are rare to nonexistent?)

Both examples are in "Cut time" [2÷2] - so only 2 beats to a measure.

Ooh, thanks. I knew there was a c for common time, 4:4, and I even looked it up to double check. I didn't know, or look closely enough to see, that there was also ¢.

I like this but does not it get a bit confusing if you are using also slash chords?

In this system slash chords have no spaces, repetition slashes always have a space on either side. So "Dm/Bb /" is Bbmaj7 for four beats.