On the Terminology of Key Chord vs Key Combo

By Xah Lee. Date:

i hated the term “key-chord”. When writing about keyboarding, I use “key combination” or “key combo” instead. But now, i think i'm going to adopt the term “key chord” in my writings. It is simply more popular and well-understood.

note: “key chord” isn't a good term, because it came from analogy of piano chord of playing several notes, and that came from music chord, which basically means combination of several notes played at once.

chord means that from “accord”, as in harmony, because chords are typically harmony. (as opposed to cacophony, discord.)

chord «“related notes in music,” 1590s, ultimately a shortening of accord (or borrowed from a similar development in French) and influenced by Latin chorda “catgut, a string” of a musical instrument (see cord (n.)). Spelling with an h first recorded c.1600, from confusion with chord (n.2). Originally two notes; of three or more from 18c.»

pressing 【Ctrl+x】 isn't anything about chord or harmony, it's just pressing keys together. (and in a strange way, because you have to press one of the key and hold it first, and also release the other first. Quite strange and convoluted if you think about it. (it is that way due to history. Yes, all your keyboarding pains came from history, the freaking mechanical type writer and emacs hacker idiots. (warning: the previous statement may be offensive.)))

So, “key combination” or key combo is a better term. (Now the comic relief: think of video fighting games, you have a Combo hit!)


but i'm giving up that term, yielding to consideration of popular status quo.