A reader recently sent in this question:
I was wondering if you could explain to me how to interpret slash chords for soloing. It seems like different sources have conflicting information. Also, what would I do if I encountered a chord like C/Db, in which the top and bottom are not related diatonically?
Slash chord notation
One of the trickiest parts of dealing with slash chords is deciphering the notation. When you’re used to reading standard chord changes and you come across a slash chord, it can be confusing as to what is going on. If you’re like me, the first time you saw a slash chord you were probably asking yourself “Which chord is on top? Are both of the notes chords? How do you play over these sounds?
It’s a lot simpler than you think. Here’s the deal:
When you see a slash chord, the bottom note indicates a bass note and the top note indicates a triad in some inversion. For example, the chord symbol D/C implies a D triad over a C bass note:
Unless marked otherwise, the D is just a triad (with chord tones doubled or in inversion) and the C is just a bass note. It’s as straight forward as that.…Read More