How to Read Chord Symbols

Some basic info about reading chord symbols.

Keep in mind that I’m talking mostly about trumpet pitches in this video, which are written a whole step above concert pitch (guitar, piano, etc.). So an A on piano is written as a B for trumpeters, but the pitch of the note is the same. I know, I know, it’s weird and confusing. Don’t shoot the messenger.

This is a lesson from the “Dark Eyes” video course for intermediate and comeback trumpet players. It’s got pages and pages of downloadable sheet music, downloadable backing tracks at multiple tempos and styles, and over 40 videos. Check it out at

Find me at (printable sheet music and backing tracks for patrons)
Essential Trumpet Lessons


2 Comments Add yours

  1. JD says:

    does the triangle after the letter indicate minor, or minor7 ? in the chord video you use it both ways. which is it?

  2. Hi, JD. The triangle after the letter is always MAJOR 7. Sometimes you’ll see a triangle then a 7 but the number isn’t necessary. So in this case, the major 7th is the note a major seventh above the root (Easier method: the note of the same name is also a half step below the root/letter-name of the chord).

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