Is E# a chord?

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E# – Maybe not so Sharp?

Got a question, here is my answer. The short answer is, well sort of: musicians would know what to do when encountering an E# triad, but a knowledgable musician would not use this naming and there are some great reasons for that. These reasons all go back to

  • understanding intervals
  • understanding the cycle of fifths

The off-the-wall awesome wall chart definitely shows you all the pieces of theory behind this at one glance 🙂

It really does pay off to know how to name your chords and scales correctly. It makes your life much easier! 

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Read Ariane Cap‘s answer to Is E# a chord? on Quora

Read the article and then tell me – is there an E# minor triad? Hint: not on the first scale degree, but maybe, looking at the cycle of fifths, you can find a key that it might be part of? Remember, minor scale degrees are on teh second, third and sixth scale degrees… If you treat this question like a Sudoku, meaning using the process of elimination – you can find it 🙂



  • Ryan Templeton
    June 5, 2017, 14:04  Reply

    It’s situations like these when understanding enharmonics comes in handy. Since E# is also the same pitch as F, think of how an F minor triad sounds, and then adjust the E chord to fit that sound (if that makes sense- that’s how I do it anyway!). So, in this case, yes- an E# minor triad would be spelled E#, G#, and B#.

    • Ari
      June 5, 2017, 23:28

      Hi Ryan, yupp, them enharmonics definitely come in handy. Could be the phrygian of C# major for example 🙂 Interestingly, classical upright players in orchestras would intonate an E# slightly differently than an F. Us fretted people cannot do much about that, but in a string section it is relevant.

  • Ryan Templeton
    June 6, 2017, 06:11  Reply

    Interesting! I didn’t know that about classical upright players. Thanks for the reply. 🙂

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