The Nashville Number System (NNS) is a method of transcribing music by denoting the scale degree on which a chord is built. It was developed by Neal Matthews in the late 1950s as a simplified system for the Jordanaires to use in the studio and further developed by Charlie McCoy. It resembles the Roman numeral and figured bass systems traditionally used to transcribe a chord progression since the 1700s. The Nashville Number System was compiled and published in a book by Chas. Williams in 1988.
The Nashville Number System is a trick that musicians use to figure out chord progressions on the fly. It is similar to (movable-do) Solfège, which uses “Do Ré Mi Fa Sol La Ti” to represent the seven scale degrees of the Major scale. It is also similar to roman numeral analysis; however, the NNS instead uses Arabic numerals to represent each of the scale degrees. In the key of C, the numbers would correspond as follows: C=1, D=2, E=3, F=4, G=5, A=6, B=7. In the key of B♭, the numbers would be B♭=1, C=2, D=3, E♭=4, F=5, G=6, A=7.
The Nashville Number System is a great way to learn about chord progressions and how to play them on your instrument. It is also a great way to communicate with other musicians about chord progressions. If you are interested in learning more about the Nashville Number System, there are many resources available online and in music stores.
Here are some examples of how the Nashville Number System is used:
- A C chord in the key of C would be written as “1”.
- A D minor chord in the key of C would be written as “2–”.
- An F major chord in the key of C would be written as “4”.
- A G7 chord in the key of C would be written as “57”.
The Nashville Number System can also be used to indicate inversions. For example, a C chord in first inversion would be written as “1/2”, and a C chord in second inversion would be written as “1/3”.
The Nashville Number System is a versatile and powerful tool that can be used by musicians of all levels of experience. It is a great way to learn about chord progressions, communicate with other musicians, and improve your musical skills.