Standard Notation Rules


  • Major: Root in caps, e.g., Bb
  • Minor: Root in caps, ''m", e.g., Bbm
  • Diminished: Root in caps, superscript "o", e.g., Bbo
  • Augmented: Root in caps, "+", e.g., Bb+


  • MM7*: Root in caps, ''maj7", e.g., Bbmaj7
  • Mm7:  Root in caps, ''7", e.g., Bb7
  • mm7: Root in caps, "m7", Bbm7
  • mM7: Root in caps, "m(maj7)", Bbm(maj7)
  • +m7: Root in caps, "+7", e.g., Bb+7
  • oo7 (fully diminished seventh):  Root in caps, superscript "o", "7", e.g., Bbo7
  • om7 (half diminished seventh):

  1. Option 1 (preferred): Root in caps, "m7b5", e.g., Bbm7b5
  2. Option 2: Root in caps, superscript “ø”“7”, e.g., Bbø7


  • Suspended 4th: Root in caps, "sus4", e.g., Bbsus4
  • Suspended 4th with a minor seventh: Root in caps, "7sus4", e.g., Bb7sus4
  • Suspended 9th, no seventh: Pop chord symbol for the triad, "sus9", e.g., Bbmsus9
  • Suspended 2nd: Same as suspended 9ths except use a "2" instead of "9", e.g., Bbm7sus2, Bbsus2  


  • Follow the above rules for the root and quality of the chord, then add a slash ("/") and the bass note, e.g., Bbmaj7/D.
  • Pop chord symbols without a slash ("/") represent chords in root position. 
  • When you want to be extra sure that the chord is played in root position, you may include the slash (“/”) and the root, e.g., Bbmaj7/Bb.

*These are seventh-chord quality symbols, where the first character is the quality of the triad (M-major, m-minor, o-diminished, +-augmented), and the second two characters are the quality and size of the interval from the root to the seventh (M7-major seventh, m7-minor seventh, and o7-diminished seventh).


There are many alternatives to the above rules, some of which are widely used and accepted. This list is not all-inclusive. There are many other chords beyond the scope of this list.

Website and most graphics are created inhouse by Jeff Anvinson, Owner/Operator of JLA Music
Some graphics are purchased from Can Stock Photo, used by permission, and are Copyright © Can Stock Photo
JLA Music takes care not to infringe on anyone's rights. Please contact us at jla@jlamusic.com if you have questions.
Copyright 2023 © Jeffrey L Anvinson