AKA: F6, F6th, F add6, FM6, F Maj6, F Major sixth, F major6, F sixth
F6 Accordion Chord Chart
Major 6th Chords
A major 6th chord is a four-note chord that contains the Root, the 3rd, the 5th, and the 6th of the major scale. In terms of intervals, a major sixth chord contains a major 3rd, perfect 5th, and major 6th. In other words, it’s a major triad with an added 6th.
The formula for major chords is R, 3°, 5°, 6°. For example, in C6 we have the notes C, E, G, A.
Major 6th chords are very common in pop, rock, and jazz music.
The third inversion of a 6th chord is equivalent to a min7 chord. The sixth of the 6th chord is the root of the min7th chord.
In this case:
The third inversion of F6 (F, A, C, D) is equivalent to Dm7 (D, F, A, C).
(Please note that chord inversions do not work on the Stradella bass system like they do on other instruments or on the accordion keyboard itself. So although these equivalent chords have the exact same notes, they are not interchangeable and should not be intended as inversions of the same chord, at least for what concerns the left hand.)
6th Chords on Accordion
On a standard bass accordion, you can play major 6th chords (with no 5th) by combining the Root with the minor chord of its 6th interval. For example, if C is the Root, adding an A minor you get a C6(5th omitted). You should add the major chord of the Root to get a full 6th chord but the 5th doesn’t add any tension so it can be omitted.
F, A, C, D
R, 3°, 5°, 6°
F + Dm
4 + 2 or 5 + 2
This combination sounds erronous.
F6 is F A C D
Dm gives A F D
We still need a C and not an F
The proper combination should be IMHO C + Dm
I’m sorry but you are wrong.
As you can read: “On the left side, 6th chords are played without the 5th. You should add the Major chord of the root to complete this chord.”
The 5th is often omitted on the Stradella system layout: 7th and diminished chords don’t have the 5th. It’s not a big deal, the 5th doesn’t add any tension and as the fundamental, it can be omitted.
If you want a complete 6th chord you have to add the Major chord of the root, so F6 is:
F + FMaj + Dm
Playing C + Dm you get a C6/9sus4, or you can read it as a Dm/C.
You can’t combine chords moving the root.
Bass/counter-bass and chords have a different pitch (unless you can select a single high voice register on basses) so the lower note cover and overwhelm the other ones, this is why a CMaj/B (B + CMaj) doesn’t sound at all as a CMaj7 (C + Em) even if they have the same notes.
Thanks Giovanni for these explanations. And I agree that, due to the pitch, different combinations of same set of notes do not sound the same.
Concerning F6, you propose F+Fmaj+Dm for the complete 6th chord.
According to my Stradella chart this gives F + F A C + D F A
Why do you add the F bass as it is already twice with Fmaj and Dm ?
Is there any pitch reason in this choice ?
The same question would apply to F6 = F + Dm
More generally, could explain to me how you choose to include or not a bass ?
As you mentioned, the choice is also register dependent.
Do, at the end of the day, the accordion player choose by ear ?
I am newby in this field and I try to understand how to do the best choice.
PS : m6 chords are not presented in your chart and I have songs with m6. Any reason ?
the root of a chord is quite important because it establishes the relation between intervals, for example:
F, A, C, D is F6 which is Root, 3°, 5°, 6°
D, F, A, C is Dm7 which is Root, m3°, 5°, m7°
As you can see, same notes but completely different intervals.
On the right side of the accordion, you can play 4 different inversions for both chords and you always have the exact same notes:
F6 inversions: FACD, ACDF, CDFA, DFAC
Dm7 inversions: DFAC, FACD, ACDF, CDFA
So, how can we distinguish an F6 from a Dm7 if they have the same notes? We add a lower pitch note (the root) that makes clear if that chord is an F or a D chord.
The same thing happens on the left side of the accordion: you need the bass root to establish the nature of the chord you are playing.
F + FAC + DFA: FMaj and Dm share the same F note, so actually, the F is not played twice. Adding the F bass you have two F but they are an octave apart so they have a different function. The F bass work as root and the F in the chord works as an 8° interval which is unnecessary but Stradella bass system is arranged in this way. An extra 8° interval doesn’t add anything but at the same time, it doesn’t hurt anything so don’t worry about duplicate notes.
How do you choose to include or not a bass?
This is about the arrangement of a piece: you can choose to play “just chords” or “bass + chords” or “just basses“. It’s a matter of taste. Some parts sound better with a soft accompaniment with just long chords, some others may need an alternation between bass and chords (traditional rhythms for example), and some others could sound better playing bass and chords together at the same time. The Stradella bass layout is designed to make it easy to play rhythmic patterns so the most common way to play the left side of the accordion is by alternating bass and chords but there’re some pieces where alternating patterns sound just awful (slow soft ethereal pieces for example). In other words, it depends on what you are playing.
Diminished 7th chords on the accordion are also Minor 6th chords so I have merged these two categories in just one group of chord charts (Diminished / min6 Chords).
For example, Cdim7 is C, Eb, Gb, Bbb but the Cdim7 button on the accordion doesn’t play the 5th (Gb) so we have C, Eb, Bbb* (*which is an A).
Cm6 is C, Eb, G, A. Omitting the 5th which doesn’t add any tension to the chord, we have C, Eb, A, the same thing as C, Eb, Bbb.
To play a complete minor 6th chord you should play the root + the minor chord + the diminished chord (Cm6 = C + Cm + Cdim = C + C,Eb,G + C,Eb,Bbb) but is very uncomfortable and adding a chord just to get a 5th is not practical. Play just the root + the diminished chord.
Let me know if it’s clear and if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask! 🙂
Giovanni, you are a genius. You answer me so clearly and accurately to my questions! You should write a book because it has been so difficult for me to understand the bass system before I found your website, as I learn accordion by myself.
I shall strongly recommend your website!
thank you so much for your appreciation, it means a lot to me!