Main definitions of chord in English

: chord1chord2

chord1

noun

  • A group of (typically three or more) notes sounded together, as a basis of harmony:

    ‘the triumphal opening chords’
    ‘a G major chord’
    • ‘The bitonal opening of the quartet is arresting, with first violin playing the opening theme in C# over a drone chord of C major in the three accompanying instruments.’
    • ‘From the tramping funeral rhythm of the opening movement to the ominous major - minor chords of the finale, the symphony offers precious little respite from its tragic purpose.’
    • ‘The first piece is an intense Prélude whose stabbing chords and mournful melodies sound like the work of an already mature composer.’
    • ‘The opening cascade of chords in the Schumann concerto, so treacherous to play, does not lend itself well to simplifying.’
    • ‘They would then have to try and piece together how the tune may have sounded, based on the chords and on other bits of sheet music which they might have come across while clearing out dusty attics.’
    • ‘As the opening chords came out it sounded like I was playing them at half the usual pace.’
    • ‘There is, from the opening chords, a sense of hearing forbidden sounds, of entering into a spirit of resistance against the homogenisers of art.’
    • ‘As music is about tunes, chords, and harmonies, not notes per se, so chemistry is about compounds and molecules, not elements.’
    • ‘The main difficulty of the second section is the pages of interlocking octaves, chords and single notes covering the entire range of the keyboard.’
    • ‘Harmonically the second half of the score tends to be built on rich static chords and pedal notes, which balance the structure after the energetic first half.’
    • ‘Instead he supplements the seven notes of Beethoven's chord with five more of his own to make a 12-note row.’
    • ‘The mystery of the sonata's opening chords has rarely been so magical!’
    • ‘The virtuoso tour de force begins with a flourish, the piano arpeggios answered by bold chords in the woodwind trio.’
    • ‘The first piece, ‘After the Rain,’ is an easy piece with a duet that adds major ninth and seventh chords, making a nice ballad.’
    • ‘In the Polonaise, Gourari raps out the opening chords defiantly, and the main melody is shaped with both arrogance and tenderness.’
    • ‘The top note of the chord identifies major, while the middle note identifies minor.’
    • ‘Rather than the standard barrage of bass and major barre chords, The Banshees offered a sound that was expansive and broad, yet no less claustrophobic and tense than any of their peers.’
    • ‘The opening chords of the Adagio Sostenuto were finely poised and imbued with spacious eloquence.’
    • ‘From the stark opening chords to the unsettling harmonies of the Adagio, the orchestra is assured.’
    • ‘Prokofiev's daunting cluster chords and rapid fire pianistic flourishes held no terrors for her.’
    music, tones, note, chord
    View synonyms

verb

[NO OBJECT]usually as noun chording
  • Play, sing, or arrange notes in chords:

    ‘his chording makes an exhilarating accompaniment to the melody’
    • ‘The show's theme song is elegantly reworked, and Stokin ’, chorded by Jarrett and Tyner, builds into a driving solo.’
    • ‘Worse, the ensemble has loosened a great deal in matters of attack, chording, and instrumental blend, although that might have been due to the vagaries of the moment, unfamiliar hall acoustics, jet lag, or whatever.’
    • ‘Abbuehl's own writing is equally strong; the opening ‘Yes is a Pleasant Country’ is simply gorgeous; nothing extraneous, every note placed with unforced precision over plangent piano chording.’
    • ‘In addition to lots of bluesy riff bashing, hard rock power chording and screaming bent-note guitar solos, there are elements of pop, Celtic, Indian, folk, and 20th century classical music that run throughout it.’
    • ‘After a bit of jazz-funk guitar chording releases control, the ensemble breaks into a mild freakout held in place with rapid snare work.’
    • ‘Havard Wiik's piano is crucial throughout; his spare, unfussy chording recalls the economy of Monk or Herbie Nichols, while his solos are logical, melodic and direct.’
    • ‘There is no mistaking the lightly dramatic chording and rolling bass lines that would become so familiar to a nation as it absorbed the Charlie Brown specials - especially the '65 Christmas show - into its collective bloodstream.’
    • ‘Guerra's not afraid to actually play the guitar conventionally either, and his dolorous, hesitant chording is heard to beautiful effect on the gorgeous closing track.’
    • ‘Davis sprays ripples of Wurlitzer type electric piano over Favors and DeJohnette's warm, funk tinged swing or lays down plangent, rich chording on acoustic piano.’
    • ‘Carter's pizzicato chording shadows Dolphys' statement of the melody before the leader lets rip with a solo crammed with trills, soulful cries and mercurial bop runs.’
    • ‘Donaldson's lucid chording inspires a sweetly poignant reading of ‘Lonely Woman’, while the opening of ‘Peace’ features a meltingly gorgeous statement on alto, accompanied only by Dave Green's ever thoughtful bass.’
    • ‘Notes seem to flow from the bell rather than being squeezed, and Lovano seasons everything he does with liberal (yet equal amounts) of soul and intellect as he curls his tenor round Frisell's spectral chording.’
    • ‘That tune touches on Evans a great deal in its chording and harmonies, and Reilly also has much of Evans's instinct for constantly relaunching solos from new melodic locations, so the music always conveys a sense of movement and dynamism.’
    • ‘Tony plays these super simplistic lines over some generic guitar chording, and all the action is provided by the sequencers.’
    • ‘If you like your hard rock randy, riotous, and reeking with basic chording, you'll truly enjoy this journey down the AM / FM Memorial Highway.’
    • ‘The weird piano chording beneath the chorus of ‘Cool Boots’ help make the song especially unshakeable, and hippie Trekkie lyrics aside, the song is revealing of how the Automato formula is not without its potential.’
    • ‘Most impressive was her command over simultaneously singing complex vocal lines while maintaining some tricky syncopations and chording in her piano parts.’
    • ‘Tyner's limpid chording is economical, percussive and sleekly propulsive; on the album's only ballad, Mal Waldron's ‘Soul Eyes’ he takes a short but delicate solo sandwiched between the leader's passionate statements.’
    • ‘Subverting the derivative subterranean drift of the rest of the album, Smith allows dissonant chording and mechanical clanks to disrupt his serene drones.’
    • ‘Though I suspect Vaananen's instrument has more prosaic origins, he extracts a magical sound from it, from staccato guitar like chording to bell-like swirls.’

Usage

See chord

Origin

Middle English cord, from accord. The spelling change in the 18th century was due to confusion with chord. The original sense was ‘agreement, reconciliation’, later ‘a musical concord or harmonious sound’; the current sense dates from the mid 18th century.

Pronunciation:

chord

/kɔːd/

Main definitions of chord in English

: chord1chord2

chord2

noun

  • 1Mathematics
    A straight line joining the ends of an arc.

    • ‘Madhava also gave a table of almost accurate values of half-sine chords for twenty-four arcs drawn at equal intervals in a quarter of a given circle.’
    • ‘The angle at the centre of a circle is twice the angle at the circumference from the same chord.’
    • ‘He found the length of an arc of the cycloid using an exhaustion proof based on dissections to reduce the problem to summing segments of chords of a circle which are in geometric progression.’
    • ‘De triangulis is in five books, the first of which gives the basic definitions: quantity, ratio, equality, circles, arcs, chords, and the sine function.’
    • ‘He wrote on the computation of sines and chords.’
  • 2Aviation
    The width of an aerofoil from leading to trailing edge.

    • ‘The 0-52 was not a bad looking aircraft its rotund fuselage being offset by a narrow chord wing with a single strut.’
    • ‘Since the gear had a shorter strut, it could fold aft and retract within the chord of the wing.’
    • ‘To handle the extra power at high altitude, the Columbia 400 incorporates a larger rudder in both chord and span, along with a ventral fin beneath the empennage.’
    • ‘The long span, short chord, NLF wing is in its element at tall altitudes and manages to deliver good cruise two miles above the sea.’
    • ‘The chord varied from 170 inches at the root to 68 inches at the tip.’
  • 3Engineering
    Each of the two principal members of a truss:

    ‘a stabilizer chord’
    • ‘The truss chords were fabricated from rolled tee sections ranging in size from 16.5 by 84.5 in.’
    • ‘The radiant barrier is most often attached near the roof, to the bottom surface of the attic truss chords or rafter framing.’
    • ‘On a practical level, the trusses also provide the framework for the second floor, which is suspended from the bottom chords of the trusses.’
    • ‘The roof is spanned by a series of curved trusses supporting secondary cleated frames that allow the roof plane to sit back from the upper chord of the truss.’
    • ‘The outer wall is attached to the truss upper chord; the inner wall to the bottom chord.’
  • 4Anatomy

    ‘the spinal chord’
    variant spelling of cord
    • ‘It can affect the nervous system in any place, in the brain or the spinal chord.’
    • ‘In severe cases, one or more vertebrae may be missing, exposing the spinal chord (part of the nervous system that transmits signals from the nerve endings to the brain).’
    • ‘The effect of the chemicals in the bean is to cause a powerful sedative action on the spinal chord which brings on paralysis of the lower limbs and death by asphyxia, and in larger doses by paralysis of the heart.’
    • ‘The next step is to encourage those fibres to grow into the cell, and out of the cell into the spinal chord, by using a combination of drugs.’
    • ‘Although the actor played down his condition at the time, claiming he had ruptured disc, he has now confessed he had a torn dura mater, a membrane which protects the spinal chord.’
  • 5literary A string on a harp or other instrument.

    • ‘Her fingers began to lightly touch the delicate chords of the instrument and with just a mere stroke; her voice began to accompany the melodic beat.’
    • ‘If you grow long finger nails on the hand that fingers the chords, your chord changes will sound awkward, scratchy, sketchy, boring and muted.’
    • ‘She found her place beside the harpsichord; she touched the chords most gently, and she sung the songs of Israel.’
    • ‘Her agile fingers began working like mad as they strung various wires and chords expertly through the holes.’
    • ‘The guests' voices faded, as she began to caress the chords of the instrument and raised her soft voice.’

Usage

In modern English there are two words spelled chord: the first is the musical term ‘a group of notes sounded together’, and the second is a technical term in mathematics, aeronautics, and engineering. Cord meaning ‘string or rope made from twisted strands’ is etymologically related to the second chord but is now regarded as a distinct word. The anatomical term generally uses the spelling cord (as in spinal cord and vocal cord), although chord is an acceptable variant

Phrases

  • strike (or touch) a chord

    • Cause someone to feel sympathy, emotion, or enthusiasm:

      ‘the issue of food safety strikes a chord with almost everyone’
      • ‘It touches a chord somewhere and people think it's great fun.’
      • ‘Sunitha touched a chord when she said, ‘This is a journey for evoking generosity, hope and happiness.’’
      • ‘The reaction has been mixed, but when an organisation like the Consumers' Association supports it, you know that it is touching a chord with the ordinary people of the country.’
      • ‘Ang Lee's martial arts romance - a tale of thwarted love and tortured honour among warriors in Han-dynasty China - has touched a chord with film-goers on both sides of the Atlantic.’
      • ‘I think it strikes a chord because it reflects the authors' enthusiasm and passion for their pursuits, however various, and their love of exploration and learning.’
      • ‘But there has to be something about the character that strikes a chord in you emotionally.’
      • ‘Her enthusiasm apparently strikes a chord as more and more women become involved in a formerly forbidden athletic arena.’
      • ‘His writing was funny and touched a chord with millions of people.’
      • ‘Spear claims he is only making music about what he knows and if that touches a chord in his listeners, so be it.’
      • ‘I feel women directors bring a refreshingly emotional approach to films, which strikes a chord with the masses.’
  • strike (or touch) the right chord

    • Skilfully appeal to or arouse a particular emotion in others:

      ‘Dickens knew how to strike the right chord in the hearts of his readers’
      • ‘The comic clowning, performed before an international audience, seemed to strike the right chord and the show duly won the top prize.’
      • ‘The simplicity and sincerity of the Toda song did indeed touch the right chord in the visitors.’
      • ‘There were speeches, elocution competition on emulating the qualities of Chacha Nehru - but the message seems not to have struck the right chord.’
      • ‘Did he strike the right chord, do you think, Karen?’
      • ‘She seems to have struck the right chord with her dynamic vocals, Cinderella story and effervescent personality.’
      • ‘Kumar knows he's struck the right chord post 9/11 and said that his film was all about peace.’
      • ‘Adding music and dance to the game Twister struck the right chord with music-mad youngsters and parents who would rather see calories burned than retinas.’
      • ‘While undoubtedly home to brilliant engineers, the Canadian Space Agency doesn't seem to strike the right chord with the public.’
      • ‘Her tone struck the right chord just a day after she trounced the Prince in a match race between their yachts on beautiful Copenhagen Harbour.’
      • ‘Again, Cornwell has struck the right chord with her surrounding characters, who have been in Scarpetta's life since the beginning of the series.’

Origin

Mid 16th century (in the anatomical sense): a later spelling (influenced by Latin chorda rope) of cord.

Pronunciation:

chord

/kɔːd/